Updated: Jun 17
Status, Current Trends, contributing Factors, failed Solutions, and realistic Approach
Originally published by Technology Hits on Medium
Photo by Pietro Jeng on Unsplash
Information, more so health info, is an immaterial commodity. It is the knowledge that humans have always used to support their decision. Today the significance of data is so vast that even the machine (the artificial intelligence) thrives on its power. Health informatics enables doctors with their clinical judgments and procedures. They do so to improve patient outcomes by making better use of that information. The more efficient the way patient data and medical knowledge is captured, processed, communicated, and applied, the better physicians’ decisions in treating patients. These challenges have evolved more crucial since the evolution of the internet.
Information hungry technologies such as the Internet of Bodies (IoB), Artificial Intelligence-powered health technologies, information systems, and cloud services have driven the healthcare landscape towards digital metamorphosis. Such evolutions have made it easier and more accessible therapeutic modalities and comfortable life. However, they also have fallen victim to external and internal blitz.
Data breaches are not the only concerns and complications for data security experts. Nonetheless, they continually place the interests of clients, stakeholders, organizations, and businesses ahead. Though the data breaches are of different types, their impact is almost always the same.
One may conveniently assume that data breaches are illegal acts, even though most are through sophisticated technologies and under various shields of rationing, such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, patient engagement, and fighting the disease.
Health information piracy is one of the most prevalent forms of attack behind healthcare data breaches, followed by unauthorized internal disclosures. The frequency of healthcare data breaks, the magnitude of exposed records, and financial losses due to breached records are increasing rapidly. Because health information is a major seduce for embezzlement, be it illegal or legal.
The Health Information
Since, Health information includes any private info or data about a person’s health, disability, and anything relating to that, thus places it in the category of priceless commodities.
Health data includes any information or opinion about someone’s illness, injury, or disability. one example of health information includes records of your online search for a “cigarette.” So, only imagine if such information is collected by search engines and sold or shared with health insurance entities! Wouldn’t you expect your future health insurance premiums to start rising purely based on that information? That is just an example of a legal health data breach.
Today medical data and all other forms of information are commoditized. Everybody wants our health information. Some claim to enjoy it for the good of improving our health — and others to do a business. Medical institutions wish to develop state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and prevent diseases. Academic institutions want to create novel algorithms to associate genetic information with physical and illness traits. Companies cry uncouth because they feel that having much of the information out of reach hampers their innovation to develop great tools. And, insurance companies seek added granularity beyond diagnoses and prerogatives. Countries dream of lowering the cost of medical care. Tech giants want to insert their powerful engines in the middle of the expected $11.9 trillion global healthcare market. There is a set of pathetic data protection systems, norms, rations, regulations, ethical boards, consent documents, and liabilities. But none try to pay attention to one fact: there is always one legitimate owner to a commodity at a time.
Encrypted data operations, which by default have no action required from the customer, have limited value when making personal information hackproof. Popular techniques make it possible to analyze or manipulate encrypted data without revealing the data to anyone.
Data Breaches or else Abuse, The Current trends in Health Information
Today delineating the data breach is merely about where to draw the Legal line. The abuse of health information by the HITEC industry or access to health information without an individual’s consent is no different given the damaging effect both carries are similar if not the same. Such as, although argumentative, the Coronavirus pandemic has been the instrument of leveling individual sovereignty. It has been so by being adopted through public panic, eliminating individual control over their rights through providing access to shared data under the rationing of fighting the pandemic. By legitimizing the surveillance programs utilizing publicly located cameras and facial recognition, neo-feudal has found a new way to add to their serfdom.
Such moves solidified utter public dependence on the government and corporations. Furthermore, Face surveillance is among the most menacing of technologies as it stands today. Because it is discriminatory in various ways, the technology can be racially biased based on its given algorithms. Even further, police may use mugshot databases to classify people based on those algorithms. That means using mugshot databases for face recognition reuses racial preference from the past, supercharging that bias with 21st-century surveillance technology.
Another example of the legal yet covert method of a personal data breach is around the Utility of Real-time Data Analytics in Healthcare
Healthcare is stepping into a grey zone of ambiguity. For the past decade, data mining and analytics have been stepping up efforts in many avenues to refine extensive collected data in a short period with maximum efficiency. This trend has affected every industry, on top of all healthcare. Like the surveillance program to fight “pandemics,” this too is a potential invasion of privacy and abuse by certain entities. And unless algorithm and tactical as well as the strategic alignment of the innovator of such technology becomes transparent, it will be nothing short of blindly accepting risks.
Healthcare and medicine, just like any other industry, have benefited from innovative technologies. Significant technological refinements have enabled us to prolong our lives. Still, many common illnesses and injuries affecting the middle-aged and elderly are here to stay.
Implantable medical devices among looming intelligent technologies transform how healthcare is being delivered. These devices’ abilities have expanded in recent decades, stemming from better health for patients, and increased revenues for device manufacturers. But concomitantly, the data is overzealously used for alternate purposes. Indispensable to bear in mind is that the collected information is not just for medical tenacities. Innovative technologies’ wireless communication capabilities are a significant source of data abuse, mainly while patients are in open environments. It facilitates access to transmitted data by eavesdroppers or misuse of data by the technology providers. They have full access to that information, such as vital signs, diagnosed conditions, therapies, and various personal data.
There is an exciting concept to which not many in the health information security arena may pay attention. And, that is- unethical and abusive amid accessing physician clinical judgment with the intent to teach computers through Deep Neural Learning. While doing, so HITECH is contemplating replacing physicians with “Robots.” That is the Epitome of the Trojan Horse to duplicate Physician Clinical Judgment and conquer the Medical Industry.
Today Dr. Robot with the support of its corporate cartel, is attending medical school without paying a dime. In other words, Artificial Intelligence is gaining a degree in medicine. But, Dr. Robot needs as much knowledge and data as it can get, not to mention, learning the way physicians practice, think, and operate offers an upper hand to companies and administration manipulating their day-to-day activities. Ultimately, with the current trend, physicians will be working like “Robots” for the “Robots.”
Contributing Factors to Health Information Piracy
It is the accepted theory by most researchers that the top five factors contributing to Health Information piracy are: Human Error (33.5%), Data Misuse (29.5%), Physical theft (16.3%), Hacking (14.8%), and Malware (10.8%). Although these assumptions are valid, one factor deserves further mentioning. That is the motive and the semantics. For instance, a software algorithm primarily used to capture an individuals’ health information may indeed be welcome by the authorities even though proven to be damaging to them, such as COVID-19 surveillance technologies. However, the software is called Malware and illegal, even though the intention may not be further away from what some legal products offer.
Current Solutions to Guard Health Information are Sanctimonious
Today, the double standard of data privacy and abuse prevention is mortifying. There needs to be a more realistic approach to protecting health information and personal data in general. I believe the most crucial mission towards data protection is to minimize the incentives behind “Stealing the data.” Meaning, if there is no incentive for someone or an entity to steal our data, then there is an excellent chance that one will never steal our data. A bank robber, for instance, has more incentive to rob a bank that holds over a million dollars cash onsite, even though the bank is equipped with the most sophisticated protective devices. But the same robber is highly unlikely to pick the pockets of a million people at once if each person had one dollar each in their pockets. Both scenarios provide a million-dollar reward.
Nonetheless, the latter carries less incentive even without sophisticated security. That is precisely why decentralization in healthcare and health data is outwit data Security and Ownership. Because the decentralized governance system is essential to sustain efficiency in large-scale healthcare delivery, it offers greater autonomy and empowers its constituents.
Decentralizing takes any business owners’ daily workload off by permitting others to perform such tasks, thus freeing them to devote more time to high-level responsibilities, such as expansion planning and meeting vital clients. Today our society is moving towards Datafication and Blockchain Technology which primarily pertains to creating, collecting, disseminating, and dispersing all cliques of information in the digital realm. That no longer trusts entirely on social processes. Instead, it banks more on technology. That is why handing the lead back to its owners is the fundamental step towards reducing the cost of a data breach, liability, and most of all, Data safety. Distributed Ledger System (DLS) promises to reform and improve logistics and help manage digital identity decentralized.
Trusting technology is not like trusting its Architects. Increasing administrative regulations by implementing harsh punishment short of the proper scope of regulatory process bears a resemblance to protecting your property from theft by guarding the front door access; despite the fact, you have left the back door wide open. The traditional HIPAA guideline execution is immaterial to preventing modern era data piracy.
The essence of the problem is not necessarily insufficient regulation or poor regulation per se. But it is about the discriminatory rule. For example, research institutes and non-medical entities are not bound by HIPAA as the medical industries. In an uncluttered viable market, excessive regulation is utterly counterproductive. Flawed interpretation of HIPAA, information, and health data is the facilitator of the Diversion of attention from the actual issue.