As the UK Department of Health unveils its newly released 'Information Strategy', this strategic white paper provides a blueprint for NHS data security and examines the privacy issue from the perspective of CEOs, CIOs, IT, security and information governance professionals, clinicians and patients. Overall it provides an analysis of the problems faced by healthcare providers and clearly articulates a framework for the way forward.
The multi-perspective paper has received support from respected experts in UK healthcare including NHS customers, privacy consultants, patient advocates and privacy regulation bodies such as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the National Information Governance Board, which have all contributed to its development.
Unless action is taken to ensure privacy then the future of electronic healthcare is at risk - so are the reputations of many providers, senior managers and clinicians as evidenced by the recent string of reported data breaches. This needs to change so that patients, the public and healthcare professionals can feel confident and safe regarding their use.
"Electronic healthcare is among the most important advances of our times. Given the rapid and dramatic changes, it is vital for healthcare leaders to make sure they also become leaders in privacy protection. It plays a vital role in ensuring that patients build trust and receive the care they deserve, plus it helps to protect the reputations of healthcare providers," said Kurt Long, CEO and Founder of FairWarning®.
"Privacy and security form the bedrock on which the NHS can progress its current goal to provide better and sustainable healthcare. The loss in confidence in electronic healthcare could undermine the drive to deliver many initiatives such as those outlined in the Information Strategy, including the roll out of tele-health and tele-care technology to millions of patients and the target for all patients in England to be able to access their GP records electronically by 2015.
"We have reached a 'tipping point' where privacy and security needs to be high up the NHS agenda and our paper outlines for board members, IT specialists, clinicians and patients, as to how this can be achieved. I am incredibly encouraged by the fact that our views are shared by those responsible for delivering on the privacy challenges within the NHS, the ICO and patient privacy groups. Their support and interest is evidenced throughout the paper along with other advocates."
In the UK, like many other global nations building a strategy around electronic healthcare records, momentum is building around the issue of privacy and security. For example Dame Fiona Caldicott has been commissioned by the government to spearhead an independent review on the protection of patient data. In this environment healthcare organisations must be certain that they are in full control of who accesses patient data and be able to prevent its misuse.
The white paper Make or Break - Digital Healthcare and Privacy Reach the Tipping Point can be downloaded at http://www.fairwarning.com/documents/2012-UK-POSITIONING-PAPER.pdf
About the UK independent patient opinion survey
In 2011 an independent survey on behalf of FairWarning® showed that the vast majority of British people believe that chief executives and senior managers who fail to prevent a serious data breach should face severe consequences. Patients also say that they would put off seeking care, or possibly not give the full facts to a clinician, if there were worries about their confidentiality.
The main findings of the survey included that:
- 87.1% agree that chief executives and senior management should be sacked or fined if they were aware of risks but failed to act and there is a serious breach. 73.3% felt that better enforcement of rules and regulations would cut security breaches.
- 86.5% think that a serious breach of personal data would do severe or considerable damage to a hospital’s reputation.
- 87.2% strongly or somewhat agree that the NHS should monitor who looks at their files.
- Over 61% were very or somewhat worried that their identity could be used to commit fraud or used by criminals to target them, their family or home.
- 53.6% have, or would, withhold information about a sensitive personal medical matter from a healthcare provider with a poor record of protecting patient privacy.
- 38.3% have, or would, put off seeking care for a sensitive medical condition due to privacy concerns.
The UK survey was carried out by New London Consulting and took place in the nine day period from Thursday, August 25, 2011 to Friday, September 02, 2011 inclusive.
About FairWarning, Inc.
FairWarning® is the inventor and world's leading supplier of cross-platform healthcare privacy auditing solutions for Electronic Health Records. FairWarning® proactively protects healthcare organisations from emerging legal and privacy threats which include medical identity theft, identity theft, and other forms of healthcare information crimes. FairWarning® is industry's leading best practice solution for automating privacy auditing. The company is located in Clearwater, FL, USA with offices in London, England and Paris, France.