Digitization of health data: Takeaways
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October 12, 2023 - The digitization of health data brings significant benefits to patients, clinicians, and society by increasing efficiency, enabling remote monitoring, and generating overall better patient outcomes. However, as data becomes more valuable to the healthcare industry, cybercrimes grow more frequent and sophisticated.
For 12 years running, the healthcare sector has consistently retained the highest average breach cost among all industries. The median cost of a US healthcare breach to gain access to electronic patient health information (ePHI) stands at $10.1 million, a 9.4 percent increase from 2021. These statistics underscore an urgency to implement data-protection strategies to mitigate the growing risks and costs associated with breaches.
In the first webinar from BSI’s healthcare masterclass series, a panel of industry experts come together to discuss the interplay between the opportunities and challenges associated with the digitization of health data, with a particular emphasis on the need for building trust.
Four takeaways from the webinar include:
- Technology is the “silver bullet”: New technologies enabling the digitization of health data, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), benefit healthcare organizations by overcoming challenges while increasing patient safety. The healthcare industry has seen numerous benefits of innovation, including:
- Improved efficiency and saving time: Moving from traditional pen and paper to cloud-based platforms has seen significant amounts of time saved on data recording. This has enabled more clinician time spent with patients and subsequently greater healthcare delivery.
- Reduced medical errors: Computers tend to make less mistakes, assuming accurate data in inputted. Once data is logged, clinicians can receive prompts and alerts to distribute medication correctly. For example, this can alert a physician about a patient's allergies before prescribing medication, helping to prevent potentially life-threatening mistakes.
- Enablement of remote monitoring: Telehealth and the internet of medical things (IoMT) have seen remote monitoring and care become the norm. Technology enables the use of devices such as blood-pressure monitors and glucometers to keep track of patients' health while they are at home.
- “Digital chaos” of digitization: Digital chaos describes the relentless pace of change surrounding data proliferation, including emerging technologies such as AI, virtual and augmented reality, and complex digital supply chain networks. As new technology reshapes the healthcare landscape, managing these shifts and overcoming associated cybersecurity risks is a major challenge, one where fostering digital trust becomes paramount.
- Building trust: Amidst this chaos, there is a call for greater confidence in digital technologies and healthcare professionals. In the healthcare industry, trust is paramount in areas including:
- Digital trust:
- New technologies: Healthcare workers need to have confidence in and trust that the information provided by systems is accurate and not going to cause harm to patients.
- Storage and utilization of personal health information (PHI): Clinicians and patients must be reassured that data is safely stored and protected from potential cybersecurity threats or tampering.
- Patients and clinicians: Patients put their health in the hands of professionals providing care. If a clinician is skeptical over data handling or technologies, this breaks down interactions and relationships, leading to poor levels of care.
- Digital trust:
- Balancing benefits and risks: The healthcare industry is at a stage where the benefits of the digitization of data outweigh potential risks. To succeed in gaining the trust of people and having a balanced ecosystem, educating clinicians and patients on the value of new technologies and gradually phasing systems in is paramount.
As the global conversation continues around digital health acceleration, the healthcare technology ecosystem has the opportunity to leverage technologies to reshape and enhance a more patient-centered delivery of care. Before patients can trust these organizations with their personal information, health-technology organizations must implement data-sharing processes and protocols. This entails aligning data-privacy standards and patient-privacy standards, which collectively drive improving patients’ online and physical experiences. The BSI healthcare masterclass series is helping drive that conversation forward into action paths forward on how and where to start regardless of where the organization is in the process.
- David Mudd, Global Head for Digital Trust Assurance, BSi
- Conor Hogan, Global Practice Director for Data Governance, BSI
- Yasir Khan, Lead Physician Executive at Oracle Health
For more on this topic, watch The digitization of health data – opportunities and challenges and where to start. Learn more about the BSI healthcare masterclass series and sign up to the next webinar. For more on digital trust in healthcare from Jeanne Greathouse, read Digital trust in healthcare: Innovation vs protection. For BSI insights on other digital trust and EHS topics, visit our Experts Corner.