Governance & Compliance

Data Breaches and Healthcare: Is India Lacking in Healthcare Data Security?

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As healthcare facilities transition to digital medical records, data breaches and cyberattacks are becoming more common here as well. With the progress of digitalization, the healthcare industry is relying more on electronic storage and transmission of sensitive patient data.

Patients’ medical data, personal information, and financial information are increasingly stored in digital formats. However, as digital storage grows, so does the possibility of data breaches. The healthcare industry is now facing a persistent type of threat – cybersecurity attacks. These attacks can cause significant damage to patients and the healthcare system.

Recently, India has witnessed a rise in healthcare data breaches, making it vulnerable to cyberattacks. For example, there were 1.9 million cyberattacks this year until November 28, 2022. The question that arises here is – Is India falling behind in healthcare data security? In this article, we will explore the issue of healthcare data security in India.

The current scenario in India is concerning since there are no strict rules or laws in place to protect healthcare data. The government has yet to develop explicit norms for healthcare data security, placing the responsibility on healthcare providers. However, many of them lack the resources, expertise, and understanding needed to adopt effective security measures. This creates a ticking time bomb.


Why should healthcare organizations invest in healthcare data protection?

Currently, the penalty for noncompliance is not stringent, so why should healthcare organizations invest in data protection? The answer is simple: it’s the right thing to do. Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to protect their patients’ sensitive data.

Patients trust healthcare organizations with their sensitive information, and it’s essential to honor that trust. Investing in data protection measures helps healthcare organizations build trust with their patients. This trust is essential for maintaining a good reputation.

Incentives for healthcare organizations to invest in data protection include avoiding reputational damage and potential costs. These costs could be associated with a data breach. Healthcare organizations that suffer a data breach can face significant financial and legal consequences, as well as damage to their reputation. By investing in data protection measures, healthcare organizations can mitigate these risks and protect their patients’ sensitive data.

Are there any regulatory frameworks in place in India to address healthcare data security concerns?

While there are some guidelines in place to address healthcare data security concerns in India,  such as

  • The Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules 2011: Only Indian businesses and individuals are subject to the regulations of the Information Technology Rules 2011.These regulations are regarding Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information. Healthcare organizations that deal with patient data must follow these standards, which include safeguards for data protection and cybersecurity.
  • The National Health Stack (NHS): The National Health Stack (NHS) aims to make comprehensive healthcare data collecting as easy as possible. This will assist policymakers in experimenting with policies. It can also help detect health insurance fraud, measure outcomes, and progress toward smart policy-making through data analysis.The NHS has a data privacy and security framework. This framework outlines the rules and practices that healthcare organizations must follow in order to protect patient data.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): HIPAA is a US regulation. Many Indian healthcare institutions that interact with patients from the US or healthcare professionals are required to follow its regulations. HIPAA has various regulations concerning data privacy and security, including standards for data encryption, access limits, and breach notifications.
  • The Cybersecurity Policy of India, 2013: The Indian Cybersecurity Policy outlines best practices and guidelines for enterprises in many industries, including healthcare, to secure their information systems from cyber threats. Healthcare organizations must follow the policy’s rules for risk management, incident response, and security audits.
  • The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019: Although the Personal Data Protection Law of 2019 has not yet been enacted into law, it is intended to impose rigorous data protection and cybersecurity standards on enterprises that collect, store, and handle personal data, including health information. Healthcare institutions must follow its rules to safeguard the privacy and security of their patients’ data.

How can Cyber Sierra help?

At Cyber Sierra, we understand the importance of healthcare data security in India. We’re equipped to help Indian healthcare companies implement data protection measures and comply with Indian regulations. Our services include technical safeguards as well as administrative safeguards like employee training and incident response plans. With Cyber Sierra’s help, Indian healthcare companies can protect their patients’ sensitive data and build trust with their patients.

In summary, the lack of data security in India’s healthcare industry is a pressing concern that demands immediate attention. The government needs to take decisive steps to implement stringent rules and regulations to safeguard patient data. Healthcare providers, too, must shoulder their responsibility and allocate resources to ensure data protection.

With the healthcare sector expanding rapidly, prioritizing data security has become more critical than ever before. It is time for all stakeholders to come together and address this issue conclusively before painful consequences develop for patients and the healthcare system.


  • Governance & Compliance
Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik is a seasoned content marketer and the Head of Marketing at Cyber Sierra. With a firm belief in the power of storytelling, she brings years of experience to create engaging narratives that captivate audiences. She also brings valuable insights from her work in the field of cybersecurity and compliance, possessing a deep understanding of the challenges and pain points faced by customers in these domains.

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