May 17, 2020

Why the cloud is the safest place to store medical records

3 min
With growing concern over privacy and security of confidential information, hospitals appreciate the benefit of storing data in the cloud instead of maintaining it on their own servers.
As with all medical practices, big-name hospitals like Boston General and Stanford Hospital are bound by HIPAA, the federally-mandate Health Insurance P...

As with all medical practices, big-name hospitals like Boston General and Stanford Hospital are bound by HIPAA, the federally-mandate Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Among other measures, HIPAA gives strict regulations for the sharing, transporting, storing and accessing of patients' medical records.

As responsible medical facilities, hospitals can almost guarantee that patient records are secure.

Data breaches in the news

Still, many patients are unnerved by the sheer number of data breaches covering the fronts of news sites.

RELATED TOPIC: 4 reasons to take your medical records to the cloud

Just recently, the United States Federal Government had to admit to having thousands of federal workers' data compromised in one of the brashest data hacks in history. The perpetrators remain at large.

Patients nervous about records

It's harder than ever for hospitals to calm the nerves of patients in the wake of these headline grabbing stories.

As the article “Easing patient security fears about electronic medical records” states, this is no small task, and hospitals are taking it as seriously as they take patients' health in general.

Though by law all medical records have to be digitized and stored on the cloud for easy and speedy accessibility, the myriad security fronts in place of that data are multitudinous and redundant.

In other words, there is not just one firewall, or one password, or one of anything.

There are duplications, and a variety of differing digital blockades that make it near impossible for hackers to get in.

RELATED TOPIC: 7 HIPAA security risk myths debunked

Records not a target

Another small fact that should put patients' minds at ease is that hackers are looking for money, not medical information.

Medical information is stored separately from any credit card data or personal banking information.

To target hospital data, hackers would only garner a patient's history of diabetes, or the resulting diagnosis from an MRI. This kind of information is virtually useless in terms of turning it into any kind of money-making scheme.

So in fact, medical data isn't even a realistic target for hackers who are out to steal money, which they are.

Why HIPAA exists

Though it's true that most data breaches these days are breaches of electronic data and not paper records, there are so many reasons why hospital patient records are not on the list of usual targets.

RELATED TOPIC: How cloud computing is changing the health care IT industry

And if they were, HIPAA's safeguards are in place to ensure that there are layers upon layers of protection so that medical data is safe.

In fact, that's one of the main reasons why HIPAA was passed into law. Helping to make sure that patients and their teams of medical professionals all have access to pertinent information is paramount to HIPAA's mission statement.

There is virtually no better place for a patient's medical records than safely stored on the cloud.

About the author: Kate Supino is widely published and writes extensively about best business practices

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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