How to manage healthcare data securely
With discussions about rolling out vaccine passports and the recent news that England's NHS is set to share people's medical records with third parties, there are more concerns around data privacy than ever before.
Here Jackson Shaw, Chief Strategy Officer at Clear Skye, a developer of identity governance software, tells us about the steps healthcare organisations can take to manage data securely.
Which are the greatest challenges healthcare providers face in terms of managing data and security?
The greatest challenges are ensuring that they do not run afoul of the many regulations related to data security like HIPPA, PII, GDPR, and related laws. In a sense, these rules have forced many providers to implement more secure practices when it comes to handling data, but it hasn’t necessarily armed them with the tools to do so in an effective way.
For example, many healthcare organisations still manage access and privileges through very manual, resource-heavy, siloed processes, which can be both inaccurate and inefficient. The best way to mitigate these compliance challenges is to automate wherever possible. Not only do you free up IT staff for more mission-critical projects, but you gain a more cohesive, streamlined view of security posture throughout an entire organisation.
As healthcare increasingly goes digital, how do you see this evolving?
As more organisations migrate workloads to the cloud it is increasingly important that they understand how access to their data will change and the new security threats that may emerge.
In addition, the advent of remote and hybrid work models, telehealth and virtual appointments, and electronic medical records (EMR) are the new “open doors” to your business assets. Enabling proper access and security for patients, contracts, employees — all of whom may be remote — is of paramount concern.
What are your top tips for healthcare providers to keep data secure?
Healthcare providers need to protect themselves from both unauthorised and authorised access to their data and systems. To safeguard against external threats (hackers), organisations should store all data in an encrypted format wherever that data is located — the cloud, on-premises or in the possession of a SaaS provider(s) you might be using.
To best protect against insider threats, it’s important that strong controls are in place to monitor access to systems, promptly remove access to systems when authorised individuals leave the company or change positions and no longer require access to systems or data that are no longer part of their job.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
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.”