Data security and privacy a central concern of the Healthcare and Pharma Industry | Modis

Data security and privacy: a central concern of the Healthcare and Pharma Industry

Dilek Suerdem Posted 13 October 2020

Due to the ever-changing nature of the modern world, Information Technology (IT), particularly the field of data management, is now more important than ever for the Healthcare and Pharma industry. The success of clinical trials and healthcare services are directly related to the quality of the data they generate, collect, and work with. When put to good use, medical data has the potential:

  • To gain valuable insights into disease pathophysiology and treatment
  • To improve patient prognosis
  • To predict and take action against disease outbreaks
  • To decrease the cost of healthcare
  • To improve patient quality of life in general.

However, striking the right balance between the adequate use of patient data and preserving the patient’s security and right to privacy, remains an ongoing challenge. For this reason, it is essential for Healthcare and Pharma industry actors to identify the limitations of their current ways of working and processes. They need to envision new directions of improvement, with the ultimate aim of developing the most secure and trustworthy data environment possible. Further complicating matters, Healthcare and Pharma are industries that are the most susceptible to cyber-attacks, the resulting data breaches and public disclosure of sensitive data. The tools used by hackers are constantly evolving, so must the security systems and procedures put in place by companies become stronger and more sophisticated.

One of the major areas of improvement lies in how companies store and communicate collected data. A number of IT software and server systems have been developed to fulfil the need for such data management solutions. For example, databases used by hospitals and pharma companies can be enhanced using tools and practices to maintain patient medical records and clinical research results in an adequate environment, within which data can be accessed and used safely for the intended purposes.

Data security and protection of privacy are the main obstacles towards obtaining patients’ consent to contribute to the invaluable health data driving the industry. In recent years, security and privacy have therefore become the two cornerstones of data management in the sector of Healthcare and Pharma.

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Privacy vs. Security

Privacy implies companies must have the ability to protect sensitive information that can enable the identification of patients or subjects involved in their research. This aspect of data management relies on making policies and establishing authorization requirements for the use and governance of personal data to ensure that patient personal information and data is being collected, shared and used in right ways. While Privacy focuses on the protection of data in the computer medium, security refers to the protection of data through the control of who can access it and where it can be accessed from. The term data safety will therefore apply to all the measures that are taken to protect a given place, or to ensure that only people with permission can enter or leave the premice. By limiting access to data, security aims to prevent pernicious attacks and criminal data theft. Table 1 further describes in details the difference between security and privacy.
Privacy Security
Privacy is the appropriate use of user’s information Security is the “confidentiality, integrity and availability” of data
It concerns a patient’s right to safeguard their information from any other parties It may provide for confidentiality or protect a company or agency
Privacy is the ability to decide what information is collected from an individual and what happens with the information Data security offers confidence that decisions are respected.


Dilek Suerdem,
Web Discloser Writer Life Sciences


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