• Healthcare

Article October 12th, 2017

by Taavi Einaste, Head of Digital Healthcare

Secure digital identity: Key to precision medicine in the smart device era

Poor handling of digital identity and access rights to sensitive information are key shortcomings in implementing novel digital healthcare solutions. These issues can be solved with secure digital identities that allow the industry to take the next leap into precision medicine.

According to Gartner, by 2020, almost half of all health delivery organizations (HDO) will find their electronic health records are not capable of meeting their digital business needs. Society is changing: digitalization is delivering greater disruption across the healthcare landscape, bringing uncertainty and innovation. And so, our care systems need to become more adept at using digital tools to run services, engaging with citizens and patients and interacting better with other aspects of the digital world.

We know how to solve key shortcomings in implementing digital healthcare

The issue is ever more pressing due to the major challenges brought by the aging population and the increased prevalence of chronic disease globally. As advanced information technology has in many cases failed to deliver the hoped for benefits, stakeholders are becoming increasingly frustrated.

Often, the frustration is largely due to a faulty set-up for managing users’ digital identities and permissions. The lack of a reliable and flexible identity in the digital environment slows down the introduction of interactive solutions and services, and even limits access within healthcare organizations.

Introducing next generation digital identities

We at Nortal know these issues can be solved. To facilitate the digitalization for healthcare organizations and the shift towards precision medicine, we are working with stakeholders around the globe to introduce the next generation of digital identity to healthcare. Our approach is complementary to existing solutions based on physical documents or smart cards, and can be adapted to existing environments.

The solution is centered on transferring the control of access rights to the service user through their smart devices. Our solution complies with strict EU privacy and security regulations, the eIDAS rules, and can therefore be implemented in all EU countries as well as globally.

The solution enables healthcare service users to securely identify themselves via their smartphones. This in turn opens the door to communication and two-way information flow between healthcare providers and users.

In addition, this flexible identity solution allows on-the-fly granting of access rights by the owner of the data, the patient. Imagine that your doctor wants to consult an out-of-town colleague – with a simple request to your smart-phone, you can authorize data access for a limited time. Or in the case of a transfer, full data exchange. This innovation puts healthcare service users in control and spares care providers from having to design complicated and expensive rulebooks.

The same applies to unlocking the innovative potential of the fast developing apps and sensors connected to smart devices. Flexible identity unlocks that potential to benefit both the patient and the system.

Get ready for precision medicine

The end result is an empowered healthcare service user, with less anxiety and more control in an environment where healthcare providers have access not only to data from their own in-house medical records, but also to data generated by colleagues in other organizations. The next step would be to set up global standards on medical data, security and privacy. This would facilitate the next big leap in the healthcare industry: precision medicine.

We are already on its way to making the transition to precision medicine easier by assisting healthcare organizations to implement a secure, flexible and user friendly digital identity. Our infrastructure can already be connected using reliable tools, and achieve compliance with the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). One such tool is Nortal’s DeepScan, a comprehensive new data governance tool that provides an overview of the data an organization possesses.

Digital solutions have the power to transform the mainstream healthcare systems on which people rely daily. Let’s take the next leap into the future!

I welcome everyone to join the discussion in Tallinn at the HIMSS Europe event, 16–18 October. I will be one of the presenters at the mHealth session, and we will be present at the Estonian HealthTech Cluster stand.

I also encourage you to read more about the hospitals of the future from our white paper.

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