Deploying Electronic Health Record for Research

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have witnessed increased use in recent years because they can improve healthcare service quality and enable more efficient time use - information on events that impact patientcare, such as safety and treatment options, can be assessed more quickly. Importantly, these records make data available for research purposes in a cost effective and time-efficient manner especially because less time is spent recruiting trial subjects and collecting data.

Despite its benefit, Electronic Health Records is faced with security, data protection and interoperability issues. Security is one of Electronic Health Records' major challenges as health records are a goldmine for cybercriminals. In 2018, Singapore suffered a serious data breach which compromised the personal data of1.5 million Sing Health patients, including that of its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In addition, outpatient medical data of some 160,000 patients were compromised. The stolen data included patients' names, national identification numbers, addresses, gender, race, and date of birth which are valuable to cybercriminals for sale on the dark web. In Finnish, a hacker gained access to patients' (some of which were underage) medical records from therapy sessions in the Vastaamo psychotherapy centre and began emailing more than 40,000 patients whose data was stolen, threatening to leak them to the internet unless the patients provided payment in bitcoin.

Asides from security, there are attendant data protection and interoperability challenges that Electronic Health Records faces. As a result, safeguards have been made available in policies and legal frameworks to protect health records.