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What Sort Of Encryption Techniques Does The Healthcare Industry Use For Patient Data?

2017-06-02 by Rachelle Wilber

The days of using primarily paper patient files are on the decline. Electronic patient record use is now widespread. While the electronic medical records make it easy to store, update and enter information, unauthorized individuals may also make use of the records. Consider these encryption techniques used in the health care industry for patient data.

Hashing Encryption

Hashing encryption is a common way of encrypting data that is included in a data set. Health care involves the collection of a lot of information, so this is an ideal method for keeping patient data secure. In the hashing method of encryption, a unique signature of a fixed length is attached to the data. The hashes are created with an algorithm or a hash function that is encoded into the software. This method of encryption is highly resistant to attempts at unauthorized access.

Learn More about Medical Data

In this day and age, the protection of sensitive patient data is paramount. Earning a degree in nursing informatics will prepare you for the data-intensive aspects of the medical and healthcare industries. Nurses must be able to accurately record patient data, such as vital signs, doses and timing of administration of medication and patient complaints. This type of a degree will allow you to combine your nursing skills with the accurate entry and analysis of patient data.

Symmetric Encryption

The use of symmetric encryption for patient data requires the implementation of a private key. The sender uses the encryption key to transmit a secured message. This can be useful if one physician needs to transmit information about a patient to another physician. It is helpful for sharing lab results among members of a care network or team. The receiver must have the encryption key in order to decode the message.

Asymmetric Encryption

In asymmetric encryption techniques for patient data, programmers or transmitters set up a public key to encrypt the information. A private key is required in order to decode the data. This avoids the problem of having to share the private key between the sender and receiver. Each user or receiver of the data has his or her own private key. Each access attempt can be tracked by key usage.

The Healthcare Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that patient data be protected. Encryption techniques are one of the leading defenses against preventing unauthorized access of a person's confidential information. Hacking methods change frequently, and so should your encryption. Earning a degree in nursing informatics will help to keep you up-to-date on these techniques.

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Author

Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700

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