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News

Data security remains a major concern for healthcare organisations

Recommind : 06 May, 2009  (Technical Article)
Recommind survey cites access control limitations as being a significant concern for data security in healthcare and other public sector organisations
Recommind has announced the results of research which found that 94 percent of healthcare and a further 73 percent of public sector organisations are most concerned about the security of their data when it comes to providing employees with the information required for their day to day jobs. These concerns have led organisations to rely on inadequate legacy search systems which significantly fail to meet the sophisticated data requirements of the modern worker. The result is that staff are unable to quickly, easily and accurately locate the data they need, which significantly hinders productivity and efficiency in healthcare and public sector organisations and can have serious implications for the service they provide to citizens.

The research found that overall, more than 80 percent of respondents were concerned that providing access to the information users need for their daily tasks would pose serious security issues as it would be difficult to control who is able to access information and how such access might be restricted. Consequently, search solutions currently utilised by health and public sector organisations are outdated and ineffective. The survey found that using these legacy enterprise search systems, healthcare and public sector professionals were able to search basic data such as documents, emails and intranets, but only a mere 27 percent of public sector and 39 percent of healthcare respondents were able to search individual expertise and experience - the lifeblood of any organisation in normal times, and even more important in times of financial stress. These results are particularly surprising for the healthcare sector where knowledge and expertise amongst colleagues is arguably the most important asset. Indeed, the survey found that 68 percent of healthcare and 73 percent public sector respondents wanted the ability to locate expertise in order to help employees perform their daily jobs.

"Healthcare and public sector organisations are always under close scrutiny with pressure to provide the best service possible to citizens - quick access to the right information and expertise is central to being able to do exactly this," said Simon Price, European director at Recommind. "Take healthcare for example, the ability to locate internal knowledge or other peoples' experiences on a prior case can be crucial to patient diagnosis. Being able to seamlessly broaden a search to traverse external websites such as the Department of Health is also critical. Without a comprehensive, state-of-the-art search solution, patient care is at risk and treatment can be delayed."

In addition to searching individual knowledge and expertise, the findings also showed that 71 percent of healthcare respondents and 87 percent of those from the public sector wanted to be able to search external information sources such as reference websites. In contrast, only 23 and 33 percent of healthcare and public sector organisations, respectively, were able to utilise their existing search systems to do this. These alarmingly low figures suggest that inadequate legacy search systems can make day-to-day researching a very time-consuming task for employees. Further corroborating this point is the fact that nearly 40 percent of healthcare respondents stated that their employees spend half a day or more each week fruitlessly looking for information they need without finding it - revealing the inadequacy of existing search solutions.

"These findings clearly show that legacy, 'one-size-fits-all' enterprise search systems have proven to be woefully inadequate," continued Price. "In today's day and age, where information is an organisation's most valued commodity, this is simply unacceptable - especially when there are solutions available today that can seamlessly prevent unauthorised access to information while providing workers easy access to all of the internal and external information they require in accordance with their roles. By automatically tagging and classifying data as it flows through the organisation, these search solutions can set appropriate access levels to ensure that specific information is seen only by authorised employees."
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