Keep patient data secure through increased access, training

If your organization keeps a tight rein on access to its data used for analysis, does that keep it secure? No it doesn't, according to Yiscah Bracha, an enterprise data strategy technical specialist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

When children's information services (IS) department was the only one to hold the keys to data, it became overwhelmed with requests and began releasing raw data to departments, which then had to analyze it themselves--and in various states of security, Bracha says in an article at

She proposes an alternative that loosens the grip on access, but ensures those handling data are trained to do so effectively and securely.

Cincinnati Children's built a platform that includes solutions to common problems, making it attractive to staff who want to use it, Bracha writes. Then it made that training widely available, linked to the job roles in newly standardized job descriptions. It grants level-specific access rights, and is phasing out all the distributed departmental data sets so the central platform will be the only source.

The training covers not how to navigate and use the data, but how to do so securely, according to Bracha. Those who fail to follow security protocols lose their access privileges and could face dismissal.

Children's is using technology to back up its security plans. The metadata-management tools in the platform show how the data moves throughout the organization, which through statistics and auditing can help bring security risks to light, she writes.

For Corpus Christi, Texas-based CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, the solution to handling data was to separate out its IT and healthcare informatics departments by focusing on what each does best, Bill Morgan, the organization's senior regional director of information management, explained at Healthcare IT News.

Cincinnati Children's Bracha has written previously that analytics pros should be centrally involved in hospital data warehousing projects, and that keeping IT and analytics pros in close proximity has been a boon for productivity and patient outcomes.

To learn more:
- read the article