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Everyone wants to feel completely safe in the hands of their medical doctor. Unfortunately, no matter your health concerns, there are inherent risks that come with receiving all types of care.
From medical malpractice to data security dangers, problems can emerge in the course of necessary health treatments. The doctor, unfortunately, may not always be right, but technology can better ensure effective care solutions.
With the groundbreaking technological advances of the modern era, certain tools are keeping patients and their data safe. Here’s what you should know.
Medical malpractice kills approximately 200,000 people per year in the U.S. alone. At the same time, healthcare remains one of the most vulnerable sectors in terms of cybersecurity risks. With challenges caused by often overworked care providers and a digital environment that puts valuable healthcare data at risk, patients require more protection than ever.
Medical malpractice is common and responsible for a significant amount of healthcare spending. You may have even experienced it. Doctors are legally liable if they fail to provide care at the standards of their profession. Poor care—whether the result of incompetence or a high-stress, high demand work environment—can result in damaging effects on a patient’s life. Whether those damages are primarily physical or financial, they can create costly malpractice legal battles and unquantifiable stress and headaches for the patient and provider alike.
Additionally, healthcare data systems are, particularly at risk. Healthcare data is often much more valuable on the black market than other sought-after private information like credit card numbers. This leads cybercriminals to direct their attacks on healthcare databases, potentially exposing all kinds of private patient data. Stolen information can lead to identity theft and financial damages that can be life-ruining for some patients.
Facing these massive risks, patients need all the help they can get in ensuring their own protection. Luckily, technology is here to help.
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way we use technology and interact with our healthcare providers. The new standard of care relies more heavily upon technology. While this can bring its own set of challenges, the potential in protecting patients is clear. With the help of technology, better standards for treating patients and their data are emerging all the time.
Here are just a few of the technological advances keeping patients safe:
- Cloud data services
Modern healthcare practices have been improved through the use of electronic health records (EHRs). This digital system of patient data storage makes it possible to better examine and analyze patient medical history. However, digital storage systems also present data security risks.
Fortunately, cloud data services have increased how well data can be protected on a virtual platform. With hybridized or multi-cloud functionality, data can be encrypted and stored on a back-up basis, decreasing the risk of ransomware and DDoS attacks. Dedicated cloud providers with state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions even make security possible even for small healthcare facilities, with cloud security a common aspect of modern service.
- Blockchain tech
Blockchain is one of the best ways healthcare providers are protecting patient data. These systems store all kinds of information in encrypted nodes linked in a cryptographic chain, meaning a hacker would have to decrypt the whole system just to alter a single data point. In storing medical data, this provides much-needed security.
Additionally, the decentralized nature of blockchain systems offers patients flexibility and accessibility of their own data. No longer does the care facility have to be responsible for storing all patient data in a singular network, but that data can remain tied to a patient’s authorization keys. In turn, data risks can be kept to a minimum.
- Artificial intelligence
AI is emerging as a potential solution to all kinds of patient problems. From misdiagnosis to data security, AI stands to benefit patients through the application of data analytics.
AI uses machine learning techniques to algorithmically assess patient traits. Then, the system can better gauge patient outcomes and recommend treatments. This process has already been used in breast cancer diagnostic sorting to compare 6,567 genes to mammogram images, leading to more specific tumor indicators. With more data, more accurate outcomes are increasingly possible.
Additionally, care providers can apply AI assistance in robotic surgery as well as diagnostics, effectively minimizing the risk of human error. This is invaluable in securing solutions in the age of telehealth, in which more patients are relying on virtual doctor visits than ever before. AI has the potential to find problems even through a video call, which in turn can reduce medical costs and increase the effectiveness of care.
These tech advances and more stand to change the way we receive care and protect patients. With the implications broad and life-saving, the implementation of these tools will define modern care practices, adding untold value to outcomes and convenience.
Staying Safe with Tech
All told, data storage and AI-powered solutions enable greater patient protection. In combating a risky healthcare environment, these solutions might just mean the difference between life and death.
Whether technology is keeping you safe through improved diagnostics or better security protocols, AI-infused robotics or blockchain systems, healthcare is better with the help of tech. Care facilities should integrate these technologies sooner rather than later to offer better treatment and redefine their own practices for the future of safe medicine.