Cyber Awareness Campaign stresses importance of protecting electronic health information
The Department of Defense is launching the Empower the Patient Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign in August to share ways Military Health System beneficiaries can protect their personal health information.
AS Doctor-patient messaging, electronic health records and e-prescriptions make health care more convenient and more effective, they also make safeguarding health information more important. The Department of Defense is launching the Empower the Patient Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign in August to share ways Military Health System beneficiaries can protect their personal health information.
For example, choose a strong password for online health and fitness accounts and don’t share it with anyone. Don’t stay signed into accounts and sign out after each session. Send information only to sites you know are fully encrypted. Encrypted websites have “https” at the start of the web address. The “https” should appear on each page of the website, not just the sign-in page.
“Health care data is a gold mine of information,” said Servio Medina with the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) Cyber Security Division. “And when you consider that our health information is updated on a regular basis, it’s not surprising that health care organizations and information have become the new targets of choice. Some estimates show it is targeted twice as much as the next leading industry (retail) for identity theft and fraud.”
The popularity of wearable devices—technology tracking fitness, nutrition and other health indicators—has increased the amount of health information being shared online as well. Many devices and applications ask for personal health information and connect to websites.
“Patients are able to access their medical information more than ever before,” said Frank Rowland, chief of DHA’s Cyber Security Division. “They need to understand more than their rights; they need to know their responsibilities.”
The good news is most health information breaches are due to human error and are preventable, according to Medina. The Empower the Patient Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign shares healthy cyber behaviors that minimize the risks.
More healthy cyber behavior tips are available on TRICARE.mil, health.mil and throughout military treatment facilities to educate beneficiaries.