5 Considerations for Securing Patient Data

Updated on February 13, 2022
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By Tisson Mathew 

Privacy is both a human right and a foundational underpinning in data management – especially in the healthcare industry. Data platforms that safeguard against unauthorized intrusion are a key investment that can help build brand loyalty and support business and medical practice growth. Providing patients with the confidence that their data is protected is essential to building trust between patients and the practice. Patients will not only be more likely to share personal information important for diagnostic purposes if they feel their data is secure, but they will also be more likely to seek advice and care from a practice they can rely on. 

A healthcare business needs to have the confidence that its chosen platform is secure and will meet its needs, while also taking care of general privacy requirements regulated by laws like HIPAA and others, which can evolve over time. Ultimately, there are five things to consider when selecting a service to ensure patient data is secured – stakeholders, value creation, regulatory compliance, data-sharing and patient access. 

Identify the Stakeholder

The first step in selecting a data privacy platform is to determine who your stakeholders will be. Ask yourself questions like – who are the users for each dataset? What will their roles be when using the data? Does the system need configurations for role-based access? How will providers organize and view patient data, and how will data be shared with outside sources?

As you begin to determine who will be using the data and how, these questions will be answered. For example, a small private practice may want to allow only clinicians to see patient information and care plans, while ensuring administrators scheduling patients are only able to see key identifiers, like a birth date. A data privacy platform should be able to not only answer and provide a series of solutions to these questions, but the solution’s processes need to be efficient and easy for each user to understand. 

Create Value Out of Stored Data

Once you have identified your platform’s stakeholders, it is important to find the platform that will work best for them. When selecting the data security provider, look for not just a data management platform, but a solution that provides value from the actual data it stores.

For instance, a healthcare practice could use methods like polymorphic encryption to allow for the identification of trends in coding and patient outcomes without putting patient privacy at risk. Patients not only trust providers to protect their data, but they also desire patient-centered care and seek to improve their health outcomes. By ensuring every piece of data collected is stored safely and accurately in a patient profile, a platform is able to provide businesses with additional insights into patient trends and predict patient needs and desires – a complete patient-360 view.

Maintain Up-To-Date Regulatory Compliance

There are several laws and regulations directing the management of patient data, including HIPAA, state laws and CMS rules. One of the biggest changes we continue to see in the industry is the growing need for interoperability. As healthcare data continues to be housed in silos, CMS is encouraging interoperability as a solution. The right data security platform can help meet these interoperability requirements and gives patients more control over their data, while enabling secure information-sharing between providers and payers.

Selecting a data management platform that can maintain up-to-date regulatory compliance can not only decrease risk but will reduce costs and lower the burden on organizations. No longer will businesses and medical practices need to devote internal resources to monitoring for regulatory changes, as a data security platform can keep your company, and its data, compliant.

Efficiently Share Patient Data

In the healthcare industry, the ability to share data is just as critical as protecting data. An important differentiator in data management platforms is how they allow data-sharing. Companies should select a platform that allows for the secure sharing of data across practices, systems and other silos, while still maintaining patient privacy. 

Patients no longer want to access several separate healthcare portals to understand their care plans and interact with their physicians. It is time to start selecting data platforms that provide a single point of access that holds all of the necessary information. The right platform makes this integration a reality. 

Provide Patients with the Access They Need

Patients need access to their own data and control over how their data is used to make informed healthcare decisions. In fact, as patients continue to have access and take control over their own health information, health literacy will also improve, which benefits both individual and population health. 

A data management platform should give patients confidence that their data is protected and serve to empower patients by giving them the tools they need to understand and manage their health. Keeping a patient’s health information in one, unified profile will allow them to track their health history across all of their providers, from their general practitioner to any specialists they may see. 

When it is time to select a data security platform vendor, it is important for leaders and their teams to fully understand all aspects of the system to best serve their needs and secure protected health information. Sensitive data needs to be handled with a high level of care. I have experienced, firsthand, the headaches that can come from a platform that is unable to provide answers to the questions a business needs answered, or from a platform that is unable to provide solutions that work for each category of user. Ultimately, a good platform vendor will not only sell you the appropriate solution but work with you to create a personalized data management platform with products that can provide the most benefit to both your business stakeholders and your patients.

About Tisson Mathew 

Tisson Mathew is CEO and Founder of SkyPoint Cloud, a privacy-first customer data platform that enables consumer and healthcare brands to unlock deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers and patients. Mathew brings years of experience in entrepreneurial, data- and technology-based experience in health care, e-commerce and consumer retail. Before founding SkyPoint Cloud, he was Chief Technology Officer at Alignment Healthcare and, prior to that, at Cambia Health Solutions. Mathew also led the team that built and operated the Amazon logistics technology platform that powers Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Amazon Flex. He holds four U.S. patents, a Master of Science in computer science and engineering from Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Ore., and completed the Stanford Executive Program for Growing Companies at Stanford University, Stanford, CA. 

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