Data protection and management are essential for protecting patient information.

Healthcare data hub: A hacker’s dream

Stephen Perkins

Millions of Americans are expected to enroll in government-funded healthcare exchange programs, but questions over data protection remain a prominent concern. 

One of the biggest obstacles healthcare providers will face is keeping patient information private and safe from hackers. The Affordable Care Act's "data hub" is of particular concern because of its appeal to identity thieves. The data hub serves as a tool for routing health exchange applicants' information to government agencies including the IRS.  

Many people, including some lawmakers, do not trust the current system to withstand attacks from sophisticated and skilled hackers. The Houston Chronicle reported that during an August congressional House hearing, Texas congressman Kevin Brady called the federal data hub a "hacker's dream."

Healthcare entities have beefed up cyber security and claim to have implemented incident response plans in the event of a breach, but many other entities are ill-equipped to handle such cyberthreats. While these systems have yet to be tested against external attacks, professional firms that specialize in data management​ and protection will likely be the best alternative to unprepared providers when it comes to keeping patient information confidential and out of reach from hackers. 

As political bickering over the ACA continues in the Capitol, the most important aspect of the new healthcare law is its security capabilities at both the state and federal levels. 

Categories: Data Archiving, Data Management