A new breed of risk: Electronic medical records security
Edith Cowan University
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science / Centre for Security Research
Technological advances have seen convergences in previously disparate disciplines, such as medicine, computer technology and communications. This convergence is particularly apparent in clinical record keeping. For medical practice this has seen the transition from a paper-based patient record system to an electronic medical record (EMR) system. Integrated patient records are seen as a method to improve quality, cost effectiveness and continuity in healthcare whilst supporting research in public health. With this shift in record management have come numerous ethical and logistical challenges such as a broadening of privacy and confidentiality concerns; issues in the transfer of current paper- based records into electronic formats; formulating education in using computerised systems for both doctors and staff; and setting up new communications channels for automatic data transfer of pathology and x-ray results. In addition, the technologically advanced environment creates a new wave of security issues. As Australia adopts a national approach to an integrated health records solution, the issues, some of which were apparent in the paper-based era, have become major matters of concern. These relate predominantly to confidentiality, coupled with ethical issues that come from shared access to patient information and methods of holding electronic medical data. This paper discusses these issues in the move relating to implement national electronic medical records in Australia.