Imaging

Health System Management • January 2017

PRIVACY/SECURITY HEALTH SYSTEM MANAGEMENT | JANUARY | 2017 What does the security of your electronic medical record (EMR) system have in common with the recent presidential race? They both have been the target of malevolent hackers poised to release weapons of “mass disruption.” And while unauthorized access to your EMR may not affect a national election, it could well provide cyberterrorists with a wholesale harvest of confidential patient and infrastructure information. A daunting reality for healthcare management is found in the fact that attacks are both plentiful and ongoing. “Healthcare is a more attractive target than other industries,” said Feisal Nanji, executive director at Techumen, “because EMRs contain social security numbers, home addresses, specific information about patient health. With access to an EMR it is far easier to steal an identity because of the nature of information stored. There is also very sensitive information that patients may not want revealed to the outside world. This could lead to the blackmailing of patients.” Nanji made the point that EMR security is tied to essential patient safety. “That is something a lot of people don’t get,” he commented. “Patient safety is equal to patient privacy in some ways. Inappropriate access to an EMR means records can be altered, incorrect drugs can be ordered or a patient’s vital signs can be changed, for example. Someone could do a lot of harm. The point is, information in EMRs must be secured very well — otherwise, you are seriously endangering the BY VALERIE NEFF NEWITT Newitt is on staff at ADVANCE. Contact: vnewitt@advanceweb.com ADVANCE “Healthcare is a more attractive target than other industries, because EMRs contain social security numbers, home addresses, specific information about patient health.” Feisal Nanji 11 WWW.HEALTHSYSTEMMGMT.COM The Battle for EMR Security Hackers and attackers pose serious, expanding threats


Health System Management • January 2017
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