When it comes to medical records, there is no lack of people with bad intentions trying to get their hands on that information. Unless healthcare organizations use available technology to protect this data flowing over the Internet, we are bound to witness more attacks like those that struck Anthem and Premera.

Strong authentication and encryption must be the norm. Let’s imagine something as simple as a family practitioner referring a patient to a specialist. There are various formats in which data can be sent from one office to the other, and the sending and receiving providers need to both understand which are being used. The primary way presently is by sending electronic information via Directed Exchange secure messaging, known as Direct. However, the emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource standard (FHIR) could soon be available. FHIR is a first generation application programming interface (API) and core data services specification to expand sharing among electronic health record systems as well as other health IT systems.

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