Healthcare Organizations Need to Figure out Data Protection

by | Jan 23, 2023

When it comes to data protection, the stakes aren’t much higher than they are for healthcare services organizations. Because they work with sensitive patient data and financial data, and operate complex IT estates, enterprises in the healthcare industry find themselves facing numerous challenges associated with data management, protection, and compliance. Even smaller organizations often find themselves working with disparate, stovepiped technologies handling different types of data on premises and in the cloud. That’s not ideal as it makes it difficult for IT services to know what is happening at the level of detail needed to keep things moving efficiently and safely.

A Problem that Needs Solving

Secure File Transfer mandates and complianceThat complexity has left the healthcare industry vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches. Axios reports that 45 million patients were affected by data breaches in 2021, up from 34 million in 2020. It’s likely that when the final numbers are tallied, data breaches in 2022 will show a further increase because the industry continues to struggle with how to manage its data. A recent article in MedCity News says “The healthcare industry hasn’t quite figured out yet an effective way to manage the vast profusion of data being shared between providers, payers, digital health startups and government agencies.”

A 2021 article in HealthcareITNews goes into more detail on the challenges, explaining that most healthcare organizations maintain three different IT operations: traditional IT infrastructure, clinical systems that support medical devices, and systems that manage electronic health records (EHR). Each touches protected health information (PHI) that must be maintained under the dictates of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Despite the sensitive nature of the function of these systems and data contained in them, the article says the typical challenges are compounded because “healthcare organizations have about 10 times fewer security staff than a traditional financial services organization.”

Technology to Solve Technical Problems

Ironically, part of the answer to the issues facing healthcare organizations is more technology. Innovations that can tear down data siloes and allow IT operations to see across all aspects of an organization’s IT infrastructure are a key to simplifying management and making staff more efficient. Then, systems and services that rely on automation to perform regular and repetitive tasks serve as a force multiplier by relieving staff of tedium and allowing them to apply their skills to higher level jobs. That not only makes them more productive, but it minimizes the likelihood of someone making simple mistakes that, according to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, contribute to 82% of data breaches.

What’s more, 13.5% of data breaches are the result of data “misdelivery.” That’s when someone sends a file containing regulated data like PHI or personally identifiable information (PII) to the wrong place and without encrypting it first. That’s precisely the kind of thing that MedCity News means when it says the “healthcare industry hasn’t quite figured out yet an effective way to manage the vast profusion of data being shared between providers, payers, digital health startups and government agencies.” Those transfers are confusing and happen often throughout the day, so the chances of something going wrong increase when manual processes are involved.

Secure Managed File Transfer to the Rescue

A secure managed file transfer product can go a long way toward minimizing misdeliveries by automating the process of fetching, encrypting, and sending files to their intended destinations, affirming delivery, alerting should something go wrong, and documenting each transaction so there’s auditable proof of compliance.

Our own award-winning Diplomat MFT is a no-code simple, secure managed file transfer platform that many healthcare organizations—including some of the country’s largest—already rely on to tackle the essential task of securely sending regulated data to partner, government, and other organizations. And because Diplomat MFT is transparently and ethically priced, and offered in versions right sized for healthcare organizations of every scale, there’s nothing stopping you from getting to work reigning in your complex data transfers, securing those files, and minimizing the risks associated with moving information.

Request a demonstration to see how Diplomat MFT can help your organization.