One-third of companies report workers responsible for health data leaks

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Digitization of health care comes at a cost

Globally, 98% of health care providers that offer frontline services have implemented internet of things or telehealth medical device capabilities, but one-third of companies experience data leaks caused by frontline employees, according to research from SOTI, A Critical Investment: Taking the Pulse of Technology in Healthcare.

The report found that 74% of IT health care professionals have increased the amount spent on technology since 2020, with three key areas of focus: interconnectivity, automation, and data management.

  • Digital patient record keeping would increase efficiency and enhance data sharing (96%)
  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in patient care has allowed medical staff to treat more patients (77%)
  • IT healthcare professionals agree patient services would benefit from heightened interconnectivity (65%)

IT professionals are concerned (84%) about the next phase of their digital transformation. These concerns include patient information being revealed, lost, accessed, stolen, or inadequately backed up. In fact, 98% of IT healthcare professionals worry about the security of digital patient records. These are justified concerns as since 2020, 46% of organizations have experienced a data breach and 35% of data leaks stem from employees, according to the report.

When asked about their biggest concerns regarding the security of patient records held digitally within their organization, IT healthcare professionals listed the following:

  • Financial cost/reputational damage of a data breach 58%
  • Patient records being stolen in a cyberattack 51%
  • Patient information being revealed without patient permission 36%
  • Devices lost or stolen, which could be used to access patient records 36%
  • Unauthorized internal users could access patient records 33%
  • Data stored on devices is not adequately backed up to the server or cloud 33%
  • Patient information being lost 33%
  • No training on how to keep patient records secure 23%

The report states that a move toward digitization and eliminating outdated manual and paper processes enables health care providers to focus on patients and reduce the burden of administrative and repetitive tasks. However, when technologies are not properly implemented or maintained, costly device downtime can hinder a health care workers’ ability to provide critical care. All of this leads to each health care employee losing approximately 155 hours per year, or 19 workdays.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of IT healthcare professionals surveyed said their organization experiences downtime with IoT/telehealth medical devices, leading to significant patient care delays. The majority (82%) of IT healthcare professionals have experienced an issue of some kind, with 55% citing systems not integrating effectively and 45% noting frequent technical issues.

Close to 40% say comprehensive health information for each patient, such as medical records, test results and allergies is not readily available nor in one place. Nearly one-third of healthcare providers experience a delay when accessing patient information, as it is not automatically updated and shared across all systems used in the industry.

The report surveyed 1,300 health care IT professionals across the U.S., Canada Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, and Australia to understand how their organizations pivoted to provide patient care throughout the pandemic, the role technology played in delivering positive patient outcomes and what major obstacles remain.