Data protection for NHS boards

A DATA safety solution which is chiefed with improving the protection of the health records of patients across Scotland is heading to the Borders after a successful trial.

Northgate Managed Services (Northgate), one of Scotland’s leading ICT services and solutions providers, has secured a contract from NHS Scotland after its FairWarning© privacy surveillance solutionproved a success in Lothian and Fife regions.

The solution resulted in immediate and significant improvements in the protection of almost one million patients’ data and will now be rolled out to all 14 NHS boards across the country, including NHS Borders.

It is the latest health contract win by the Scottish arm of Northgate, Northern Ireland’s biggest IT company, which recently secured a £6.5 million deal to deliver a clinical portal service for an NHS consortium of four NHS boards across Scotland.

James Turnbull, managing director in Infrastructure Solutions for Northgate Managed Services, said: “The issue of data security is one that is affecting more and more organisations in today’s technology-based business environment and it has never been so important for organisations in possession of critical information – such as citizen or customer data, intellectual property or trade secrets – to protect it.

“NHS Scotland has moved quickly to update its security protocols and to ensure the proper handling of sensitive and confidential patient information by its staff. I am confident that the solutions provided will only help to reassure patients that any information being held is done so securely.”

In response to a need to be more proactive and further enhance data security, Northgate will implement the latest FairWarning© privacy surveillance solution to all NHS boards, helping protect the electronic record TRAKcare system from internal security breaches.

Records from multiple healthcare applications are processed by pulling audit files from each system identified by any NHS board to be monitored. The surveillance is non-evasive and systematically identifies users who are engaging in patient record access patterns that are indicative of snooping, password sharing and other suspicious behaviours.

This proactive monitoring enables NHS boards to review in advance anything likely to be deemed as a data protection breach and take steps to further prevent incidents occurring. It can reduce privacy incident rates considerably and enable a rapid and thorough response to patient privacy enquiries.

Jackie Stephen, head of ehealth for NHS Borders, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Northgate Managed Services to implement across, all NHS boards, a data safety solution which has proven to further secure the data and records of patients served by NHS Scotland .

“We treat very seriously the management and security of data. The introduction of a privacy surveillance solution will help us as we strive to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) and provide assurance to all patients across Scotland that their data is safe and secure.”