How Milestone’s video technology can help hospitals protect patient privacy

January 22, 2024

There can be no doubt or debate: the patient’s right to privacy — and by extension their dignity — is essential to healthcare. And it is important to patients too. One survey by the American Medical Association found that nearly 75% of patients expressed concern about protecting the privacy of personal health data.

Yet in the modern era, it is also becoming clear that hospitals can greatly benefit from adopting new technology to meet the challenges of aging populations, strained staffing resources and tightening budgets.

In this article, we’ll discuss how our remote patient monitoring software XProtect® Hospital Assist offers hospitals a solid foundation on which to build robust privacy mechanisms and policies.

It’s clear that video technology, such as remote patient monitoring solutions, will play a big part in the future healthcare tech mix.  

However, this technology brings concerns from healthcare professionals and the public about patient privacy. As a technology company, the question for Milestone is:

How can we explore new ways to improve safety and health while making it easy for healthcare professionals to employ video technology in accordance with applicable privacy laws?

Milestone Systems: Taking responsibility at every step

At Milestone, we recognize our responsibility to uphold the human rights of anyone impacted by our products. Accordingly, we are committed to doing our part to help ensure emerging technologies are only used for the benefit of society. 

To do this, we are embedding a responsible mindset in every step of our business lifecycle — including in how we engage with partners and sell our products. We work according to five Responsible Technology principles:

  • Accountability. To ensure our technologies are subject to human control and overview
  • Transparency. To explain our technologies and provide understanding of their intended use
  • Fairness & inclusion. To ensure our technologies are free from harmful bias
  • Privacy. To respect the privacy rights of people and communities
  • Security. To protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our technologies

When discussing our remote patient monitoring software, XProtect Hospital Assist, the final two Responsible Technology principles— privacy and security — are most relevant, and we will now take a closer look at how we follow these principles.

Enabling patient privacy

Ensuring patients’ dignity and privacy is a cornerstone of high-quality hospital care. That’s why we designed XProtect Hospital Assist to provide tools that help hospitals meet the needs of both healthcare professionals and patients.

XProtect Hospital Assist’s Privacy Blur function allows for patient privacy when medical observation is not required. Medical staff can simply blur the live video— so the patient is not visible in private moments.

The level of blur can be adjusted and removed in real time by a healthcare professional and includes a configurable automatic timeout option for removing the blur to avoid it being forgotten.

Protecting data security

Data security is a key pillar of ensuring patient privacy. And here’s the bad news: According to Black Book Market Research almost 93% of healthcare organizations had experienced a data breach in the past three years. More encouragingly, HIPAA found that healthcare data breaches in the US fell by a massive 48% between 2022 and 2023.

We can learn two things from these statistics: 1) That cybersecurity is a serious issue for the healthcare sector, but 2) robust cybersecurity practices can work.

Milestone XProtect® is designed to be highly cybersecure due to these key features:

  • It is internally and externally tested by independent companies
  • It has tiered administrator and user rights, combined with strict IT security procedure
  • We have a Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) that keeps all users up to date with security issues, news, patches and hotfixes

Milestone’s remote patient monitoring software, XProtect Hospital Assist, is an add-on to XProtect and is built upon these strong foundations. Additionally, it can be configured so that recordings are disabled, and only live streaming is enabled, giving the hospital the option to store patient video data in the video system.

Hospital staff have a great responsibility to store their patient data securely

Ultimately, we can only provide hospitals with the tools to protect their patient data within their own systems – the hospital is responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws.

Mark Johnson, Milestone’s National Business Development Manager for Healthcare in the US has written an excellent article on how hospitals can strengthen their cybersecurity, including tips on building resilient security networks.  

Security breaches are always a potential risk with any connected technology but, if hospitals can follow best practices, then mitigating that risk and being compliant with HIPAA, GDPR, or other local data protection legislation is made possible by Milestone software.

Danish heritage, global responsibilities

Trust and responsibility to others are key values in Nordic culture. As a Danish company with a global clientele, we always strive to be honest about the challenges of video technology around the world, and open about how we are working to solve them.

We believe the safeguards and features put into XProtect Hospital Assist are a thoughtful way of approaching privacy for patients,

We are committed to continually reviewing our technology through our dedicated Responsible Technology program to ensure it meets the most stringent standards, so healthcare organizations can meet ethical and data protection challenges head on.

 

Discover more about XProtect Hospital Assist here.

 

 

 

 

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