ezDI, Inc. | Blog

Strengthening Healthcare Data Integrity and Confidentiality with Data De-Identification

In today’s data driven environment, breach of sensitive data and intellectual property is a constant threat. The rise of sophisticated malware and encryption-based ransomware has rendered enterprise data vulnerable, leaving businesses all the more wary when pushing data from one sector to another.

For the healthcare sector in particular, patient information confidentiality and the security of medical records is critical. Companies operating in this industry are required to harness vast amounts of protected health information to maintain an effectively running healthcare system. To secure critical patient data, these companies need to anonymize relevant information so that individuals cannot be re-identified. To achieve this, data de-identification is the way to move forward.

 

Healthcare data security and compliance

The healthcare industry has had its fair share of catastrophic data breaches in recent years that warrant immense concern. According to a report from the HIPAA Journal, more than 510 healthcare data breaches occurred in 2019 with a staggering 41,335,889 records being exposed and put at risk.

Statistics like these reinstate the importance of strengthening data security measures today. Healthcare providers need to provide controlled data access or leverage data masking solutions to make patient health data available only to select stakeholders. This can be done to maintain the confidentiality of electronic health records (EHRs) which store vast amounts of sensitive information. To prevent risks arising from data being open-source, healthcare providers need to limit the access to a particular set of records to increase the security of its contents.When healthcare providers are requested by patients to mask their EHRs, these providers must be able to comply with the requirements and prevent unauthorized access. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets a standard for providers when it comes to sensitive patient data protection. All entities, such as providers, business associates and even subcontractors must be in compliance with the security and privacy rules outlined by HIPAA. These rules address the technical and non-technical safeguards that all these entities must implement to secure their EHRs, with failure to comply being met with severe penalties.

With these physical and technical safeguards in place, the HIPAA also allows compliant entities to utilize new technologies/services that can help improve the overall efficiency and quality of patient healthcare. By design, these rules are flexible enough to benefit organizations looking to step up their measures and grow rapidly.

 

ezDI Data De-identification

Data de-identification is the process by which someone’s personal identity is secured. Under HIPAA compliance, this includes the removal of specific patient identifiers, such as names, phone numbers, email ids etc., as well as the impetus of using accepted statistics and methods to ensure that individual information is not identifiable. De-identified data is essential for maintaining patient confidentiality across multiple use cases, particularly when sharing health information with non-privileged parties or with healthcare organizations that are conducting research.

To this end, ezDI helps companies steadfastly abide by these compliance regulations, with its Data De-Identification solutions.

Utilizing a proven approach that goes above and beyond common data masking applications, the ezDI Data De-Identification solution helps organizations generate high-quality datasets within a secure ecosystem that can meet their specific needs. These needs are inclusive of secondary use, namely high-end research and analytics. With ezDI Data Identification Solution, you can expect the following –

  1.     Highly efficient data de-identification from the production to the testing stage, guaranteeing database integrity across a variety of systems and geographies.
  2.     Holistic data security that ensures all data formats are preserved and fall under policy protocols.
  3.     Compliance with security standards under HIPAA, Privacy Act of 1974 and the De-Identification Standard 164.514.
  4.     High network up-times and timely delivery for data, solutions and services.
  5.     A scalable system that is automated yet keeps humans in the loop for de-identification purposes.

With all these offerings, ezDI’s Data De-Identification solution can simplify an organization’s ability to ensure patient confidentiality. Companies will be able to streamline their data protection procedures and garner greater insights from masked and de-identified information that is compliant with HIPAA and other regulations such as the HITECH Act, Australian Privacy Act of 1988, The General Data Protection Regulation, and PIPEDA. Because of the security and trust garnered from implementing these solutions, organizations will be able to undertake marked leaps in healthcare security and quality. Third party companies will be able to safely work with healthcare data, secure in the knowledge that confidentiality compliance is met. Research companies will also be able to gain actionable insights without the risk of patient identities being compromised, thus leading to further advancements for the healthcare sector. Most importantly, however, patients will feel secure with the certainty that their privacy needs are being met and that the records they provide are being put to the best possible use.

If you’re interested in learning more about ezDI’s Data De-Identification services, be sure to check out the following link.

Hardik Kevadiya

Hardik Kevadiya

Hardik Kevadiya is a Business Development and Marketing Manager at ezDI and Mediscribes. Hardik is passionate about Healthcare Information Technology and Innovations - Innovations that enhance human lives. He is also a healthcare trend and news follower, his passion for helping Healthcare IT professionals in all aspects of online trends and research flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. In addition to writing for ezDI, Hardik also mentors a team of Data Analysts and Marketing professionals.

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