Modern technology has made it easy for healthcare practitioners to access patients’ data through different devices regardless of their location. This case is related to a nurse working as a nursing case manager who can work from home since her work revolves around filed work and can be performed through the communication networks available. She needs to access hospital records through her laptop and has been using her mobile phone as a hotspot to connect to the hospital’s records. Her work places her at risk of numerous preventable security threats that interfere with the safety of patients’ data.
Possible Security Threats
Some of the security threats that the nurse faces by logging in into the hospital’s database using her laptops from different locations and her phone include risk of hacking, virus attack or malware, and loss of private patient files. While the computers used in the hospital environment might be safeguarded through strong firewall security systems, there is a low likelihood that the nurse utilizes the same firewall system on her laptop and phone. By logging into the hospital database through a laptop that has not been secured, she risks being hacked and jeopardizing patients’ information. Hackers can steal sensitive information about patients and expose it to the public or use it to blackmail the facility or different patients (Hewitt, Dolezel, & McLeod, 2017). Someone else might use her laptop or phone to log into the database if her laptop is stolen. By logging into the hospital database with her laptop or phone, she also risks introducing malware or virus to the system (Bromwich & Bromwich, 2016). Malware or viruses can interfere with the function of the healthcare database, lead to the loss of patients’ data or duplication of some files.
The needed preventive procedures that can be implemented to reduce the risks of hacking, loss of patient information, and access to patients’ data by unauthorized individuals include sensitizing all the nurses to use strong passwords to log in to the portals in the hospital databases advising the healthcare workers to use anti-virus and firewalls on their laptops and phones. The healthcare facility should have a reporting system that nurses and other healthcare practitioners can use to report cybersecurity issues or suspected breaches. A training program can also be developed to educate the staff on the importance of using strong passwords and avoiding using the same password for different accounts (Kamerer & McDermott, 2020). An automatic logout system should also be used to ensure that unattended computers automatically log out of the site being used after a few seconds of inactivity (Argaw, Bempong, Eshaya-Chauvin, & Flahault, 2019). This would promote the safety of the hospital’s data.
Despite the benefits of modern technology, the risks of hacking and loss of sensitive data can affect the effectiveness of services offered by healthcare workers. Applying the measures identified like the ensuring all the nurses use strong passwords and educating the nurse and other staff on the security risks associated with signing in into the hospital database with their devices could increase the staff awareness of the security risks that they face. Utilization of firewalls, antivirus programs, and incorporating a system in the hospital’s database that logs out users after a few seconds of inactivity could further promote the safety of the facility’s data.
Argaw, S. T., Bempong, N.-E., Eshaya-Chauvin, B., & Flahault, A. (2019). The state of research on cyberattacks against hospitals and available best practice recommendations: a scoping review. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 19: 10. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6330387/.
Bromwich, M., & Bromwich, R. (2016). Privacy risks when using mobile devices in health care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 188(12), 855-856. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008929/.
Hewitt, B., Dolezel, D., & McLeod, A. (2017). Mobile Device Security: Perspectives of Future Healthcare Workers. Perspectives in Health Information Management, 14(Winter), 1c. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5430111/.
Kamerer, J. L., & McDermott, D. (2020). Cybersecurity: Nurses on the Front Line of Prevention and Education. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 10(4), 48-53. Retrieved from https://www.journalofnursingregulation.com/article/S2155-8256(20)30014-4/fulltext.