WebRTC technology to deliver sensible medical data

How the adoption of new technologies, can improve the safety of the interchange of information between doctors and patients

Orfeo Morello

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Delivering the best possible experience to the patients is very important to any public or private hospital and for healthcare organizations. In addition to receiving excellent care, patients need to trust that the hospital is also protecting their health records and other sensitive data.

The data security is a necessity when it comes to patient data and other related information. Every day the hospitals exchange information with dozens of doctors, insurance companies, billing systems and vendors. These data includes a variety of sensitive information including health care records, purchase orders and to claim informations. If you think this is not a serious problem and you feel safer already, perhaps you haven’t read the news a few days ago concerning the U.S. government’s health insurance website HealthCare.gov . According to a report from the Associated Press, this website sends personal data to tracking websites such as Twitter, Yahoo and Google. Please Read what EFF researchers have independently confirmed https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/healthcare.gov-sends-personal-data

This is not the first news about an organization might be violating consumers’ privacy rights. The problems is real, the massive volume of information flowing across networks has hindered healthcare organizations from an effectively locating and cataloging and protecting sensitive data. Share the data with the outside world, the informations that is internally treated with a security protocol requires substantial risks.

Determine the appropriate policies is an important key issue and once the data has been identified the next step is to determine what are the correct polices for the work environment. Are there rules about sharing informations by email and socialnetworks? Are there rules around instant messaging?

As you begin to think about protecting your patients’ sensitive data you need to identify the common avenues of how the data is exposed. Sensitive data may be lost via the network, they can be found on publicly accessible file shares and employee computers which put them at a very high risk of exposure. Whether you are sending contracts or receipts via email, or transferring sensitive information, protecting data that is being sent via the web is vital. So, what can you do to protect it?

When the people sent data over the Internet use almost one of these methods:

Email

Email is almost as old as the internet itself, and for a long time the security features on email services were rather outdated and easy to penetrate.

File transfer

Many people use FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This is a system for transferring large files simply and quickly, but is not all that secure. FTP is notoriously easy to intercept and read.

Web 2.0 Social Networks

Socialnetworks and other Web 2.0 applications are growing in popularity and have recently been the avenue for many data breaches.

Healthcare organizations need better collaboration tools, with over half of healthcare professionals working remotely, the need for secure file transfer and collaboration tools is exceedingly urgent sending and receiving sensitive files between various systems used to be a daily grind and a consistent source of stress.

A new emerging technology called WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is redefining how people communicate with one another. Can we apply this technology to achieve the resolution of communication problems in healthcare organizations?

WebRTC represents the future of communications by combining voice, video, data transfer, presence, instant messaging, and other capabilities into a single package that can operate via the use of modern Web browsers. Its ability to take advantage of the universality of Web browsers gives it a spot on any type of device, and its multiple avenues of communication support a number of use cases that, previously, only large enterprise systems could match. WebRTC is a peer-to-peer connection directly between two users so there is no middleman, this means you can send messages directly to the other user without the need of a third party organization.

Now that you’ve seen what WebRTC is and how it works, let’s take a look at a project that is using it today, GLIR-UP.

For example, consider a doctor must send a drug list to a patient, a drug list is a list of preferred prescription medicines that have been chosen because of clinical effectiveness and safety. The list could be sent using email, but email systems read the email and try to build user profiles and display advertisements to you. This is already a lack of privacy.

With GLIR-UP, the doctor can build a text note containing the list of pharmaceutical drugs. The system creates a temporary web address to share this list. The address can be sent through any social network, email or even a chat. The informations reside in the browser and are transferred directly into the Web browser of the person visiting the temporary url. No automatic system can read this list, the text note will be available online until the doctor decides to destroy it and not make it more available simply by closing the browser.

GLIR-UP is able to put a time limit or expiration date to sensible data shared online. Give it a try! www.glirup.com

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