Security improvements to Singapore’s National Electronic Health Record to be done up by year-end

As part of the slew of improvements that the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) will receive, more healthcare institutions within the country will also be brought on board to contribute to the NEHR. Majority of these security enhancements and upgrades will be expected to be completed by the end of this year. This involves both technical and process enhancements as well as a thorough external review which will be conducted independently. The contribution of patients’ electronic health records to the NEHR will also be mandated in the future. Such measures have been implemented following an unprecedented cyber-attack on SingHealth’s IT system.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has escalated globally, the upgrades of the NEHR system will also enable it to meet the requirements for COVID-19 vaccination display, reporting and alerts as well. Healthcare experts will also be able to have easy access to their patients’ COVID-19 test results as well as their existing medical conditions prior to the vaccination via the NEHR.

THE LARGER TREND
Cybersecurity statistics have indicated that there has been a huge increase in the number of occurrences of hacking as well as breached data from sources such as mobile devices as well as IoT devices which are becoming increasingly common in medical facilities.  A reported 68% of business leaders have also expressed their opinions that cybersecurity risks are increasing.

As such, it is imperative for healthcare organizations to ramp up their efforts to strengthen their technical as well as security infrastructure within their systems in order to ensure that the sensitive healthcare data of patients remains secure. 

ON THE RECORD
“Data security remains a key priority” Dr. Puthucheary, the Senior Minister of State explained and that the NEHR system has also been a “key enabler” in facilitating the provision of medical care during this pandemic by serving as a repository of patients’ medical records.

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