Why Australia's e-health system will be a vulnerable national asset
School of Computer and Information Science, Security Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / Security Research Centre (secAU)
Connecting Australian health services and the e-health initiative is a major talking point currently. Many issues are presented as key to its success including solving issues with confidentiality and privacy. However the largest problem may not be these issues in sharing information but the fact that the point of origin and storage of such records is still relatively insecure. Australia aims to have a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record in 2012 and this is underpinned by a national network for e-health. It is this very foundation that becomes the critical infrastructure, with general practice the cornerstone for its success. Yet, research into the security of medical information has shown that many general practices are unable to create an environment with effective information security. This paper puts together the connections of e-health and the complex environment in which it is positioned. A discussion of how this critical infrastructure is assembled is presented, and the key vulnerabilities are identified. Further, it addresses how security may be approached to cater for this diverse and complex environment. From a national security and critical infrastructure perspective, as medical records are part of society’s critical infrastructure, the most effective system attacks are those on the points of highest vulnerability. In our current health system infrastructure those points are the data collection and records retention areas of individual medical providers. Progress towards changing this situation is key to its success.