07:05pm Sunday 20 October 2019

eHealth guidelines keep medical records cyber safe

Online health records are increasingly at risk but new guidelines set out how they should be secured.

Australian’s medical records are increasingly under threat from cyber criminals but landmark new guidelines will improve their security and protection according to ECU eHealth expert Associate Professor Trish Williams.

Medical identity theft is increasing around the world and the incorrect storage of medical records increases the risk of data breaches.

“If your information is not kept secure it may lead to misuse of your personal information,” said Professor Williams.

“It may also result in privacy incidents such as release of sensitive medical information, for instance mental health and HIV status, which may cause distress, embarrassment and loss of dignity.”

An individual’s medical information is worth 10 times more than credit card information on the black market, according to the FBI, after the details of 4.5 million customers of an American hospital operator were stolen last year.

Professor Williams edited the new Australian Guidelines for the Protection of Health Information which was released by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) where she is also a board member.

She said healthcare providers and organisations have a responsibility to protect the patient information they are the custodians of.

“These guidelines provide established best practice for this protection,” she said.

“It reduces the risk of inappropriate and insecure handling of personal and sensitive information.”

For more information on the guidelines visit the HISA webpages.

If you’re interested in studying Computing and Security Science visit our Computing and Security web page.

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