Securing sensitive data is essential in any industry, but the importance of data privacy in healthcare is especially crucial in today’s digital world where data breaches and cyber-attacks are becoming more common. Proper handling of patient data and data privacy are important aspects of healthcare that have been the center of many debates in recent years. While HIPAA compliance is a common motivation for organizations operating within the healthcare ecosystem to secure sensitive data, there are several other key reasons why data privacy in healthcare is important. Moreover, with the new regulations and technologies, data privacy in healthcare has become increasingly important. Here are a few reasons highlighting its very significance.

Rising Cyberattacks on Healthcare Systems during COVID-19

With the overwhelming capacity of many hospital systems amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of telehealth, and more healthcare staff working remotely, healthcare organizations have become a prime target for cyberattacks. According to FBI statistics, since March 2020 there has been a 400% increase in cyberattack complaints. These recent cyberattacks have only reiterated the importance of data privacy in healthcare. This is because sensitive patient information and proprietary information related to tests or vaccines are a high-value proposition for hackers. A cyber-attack can cause a healthcare organization’s network to go offline, not just halting administrative operations but also patient appointments, surgeries, and other medical treatment. putting the patient’s life at risk. However, many of the data privacy challenges the healthcare industry faces are due to the problems that existed before the pandemic- old systems, outdated security policies, and unprotected devices and software. These issues give numerous opportunities for hackers to breach into the organization and steal sensitive information, making cybersecurity all the more challenging. This is one of the vital reasons why data privacy in healthcare is important.

Big Data security in Healtcare

Fostering Trust with Patients and Customers

One of the important reasons why we are talking about the importance of data privacy in healthcare is that it is the foundation for trust in a healthcare setting. Although there are several regulations like HIPAA (Check HIPAA Compliance Checklist) that are linked to patient privacy, building a trusted, long-term relationship with patients and customers goes beyond regulations. Patients entrust their lives and sensitive personal information not only to their physician but also to an entire healthcare ecosystem. So, even if your organization is not directly involved with patient care, your organization needs to maintain strict standards around confidentiality. Patients need to know that their medical information will be kept confidential and they can’t make decisions about how it’s shared without first being aware of what data might be available. A data breach can violate trust, put patient safety at risk, and irreparably damage the provider-patient relationship. This is why healthcare organizations must be equipped to meet HIPAA standards while adjusting their strategies to create a strong data privacy policy within the organization.

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Non-compliance penalties can severely hurt your organization

Apart from the serious consequences that cybersecurity breaches and poor data privacy policies can deal with patients, the non-compliance penalties can be a severe blow to healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations are bound by various data privacy regulations to protect sensitive information. Cyberattacks and data breaches can cause these organizations to be in violation of these regulations, which can lead to hefty financial penalties and even criminal penalties. In some cases, these penalties can even permanently close the doors of these organizations. So, organizations need to thoroughly evaluate their network and internal processes and devise a fool-proof data privacy policy. 

Data privacy would become even more critical in the future because we’re entering an age of personalized medicine. Thus, the importance of data privacy in healthcare can’t be underestimated and it is critical to the success of any organization operating within the healthcare space.

One of the solid ways to assure maximum data privacy and security in healthcare is to develop proper data- protection strategies and solutions. Delivering that expertise is one of our strong suits! Our team of global security specialists at Intone Networks can deliver for you a focused, risk-based security strategy, operating model, and compliance plan that builds security from an intelligent infrastructure. We also provide holistic solutions to the health industry ranging from analytics and predictive modeling to CRM, cloud, and infrastructure management to financial transformation and compliance.

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