Importance of Data Privacy and Security in Healthcare

Importance of Data Privacy and Security From a Patient, Provider and Data User Perspective

Patients, Providers & Data Users

Patients are pretty obvious. They are the people seeking care.

What is a Provider?

Providers : These are entities/groups/individuals that provide care for patients. Providers can range in size from entire hospital networks to individual doctors and medical professionals. Some examples are

  • healthcare professionals treating you at a hospital
  • in a doctor’s clinic
  • dentist office

This interaction between a patient and a provider results in the production of an Electronic Health Record or EHR. Electronic health records can be used by data users, too.

Who are some data users?

Payers: a group that consists of companies like healthcare insurance. Payers can also include entities such as the government for things like Medicaid and Medicare in the United States.


Data Security From the Patient Perspective

Data security is crucially important for many different reasons in healthcare, but here are a couple of very important reasons:

  1. Patients have a right to privacy and may not want to share their conditions and treatments with others.
  2. Medical data is far more valuable to hackers. Because of the detail and complexity of data in EHR, hackers can very easily impersonate a patient. You can learn more about this in the links below.

Additional Resources

Data Security Importance Provider Perspective

Medical professionals/organizations that are “providing” care to patients are under strict regulatory compliance laws. Your organization will handle the intricacies of how to interface with providers or if your organization is one, they have extensive training as part of the required HIPAA compliance. You’ll learn more about HIPAA in a bit. To make sure organizations comply, there are some penalties and they can change periodically over time. Please check the HIPAA website to be up to date.

Examples from U.S. HIPAA fines

Importance from a Data User Perspective

Data Privacy issues come up with disclosure from hackers but also from legitimate entities within a business or medical research purposes. For example, the issue of informed consent is an essential part of any scientific experiment. Remember our examples of Deep Mind in the UK and Ascension in the U.S.