It seems that the healthcare system is finally catching up with the rest of the world from a healthcare technology standpoint. Advancements in healthcare IT are aiding in stabilizing costs and increasing access to healthcare treatment. However, these innovations, while much needed, raise serious concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity. Today we’ll take a look at how exactly the healthcare system is advancing technologically, and what that means for your data privacy.
Technological Improvements to Healthcare
While drastic improvements are being made to technology within homes and businesses, for many years it seemed that the healthcare system was stuck with the same outdated methods of doing things. Luckily, recent technological advances in Healthcare IT are bringing our antiquated healthcare system into the 21st century and making big improvements to its function and accessibility.
Easier Access to Medication
One of the biggest holdups when it comes to medication delivery has always been gaining prior authorization, meaning patients cannot gain access to their medication without a prescription from their doctor and insurance approval. This process used to take days or longer to complete, but with the digitization of the prior authorization process, patients no longer have to wait this excruciating amount of time before starting their treatment.
Smarter Medical Devices
Smart healthcare IT devices such as EMRs allow doctors, nurses, and patients to gain access to essential medical information faster than ever before. EMRs are electronic medical records, and they have completely changed how medical record keeping is done in doctor’s offices and hospitals. Not only does this make doctors’ appointments faster for the patient but allows healthcare workers information that may not have been available to them in the past.
Better Emergency Strategies
The COVID-19 pandemic, while a tragedy, has taught the healthcare IT world a lot about the essential updates needed in the event of another global emergency. Healthcare organizations now use advanced databases and other online tools to get ahead of potential outbreaks of contagious diseases quicker and with more accuracy.
How Does this Effect Data Privacy?
While all of this advancement is wonderful and has so many benefits for healthcare professionals and patients alike, It isn’t a perfect system yet. The more the healthcare system turns to technology for personal health information (PHI) storage and sharing, the greater the risk of cyberattack. This has been an inhibitor of advancement in Healthcare IT for many years, as cybercriminals are always on the hunt for an individual’s personal information, and nothing is more personal than PHI.
Therefore, the more healthcare organizations and insurance companies focus on healthcare IT implementation through databases like EMRs, the more they’ll have to invest in cybersecurity. Since this is such a new issue, there are currently no regulations on the issue. There’s a push in the U.S. to have the Food and Drug Administration establish clear cybersecurity guidelines that organizations must meet to protect their patient’s information.
Have you noticed an increase or change in the use of technology at your recent doctor’s visits? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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