February 21, 2024

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Protecting employee health records from being hacked

Healthcare data has become a growing target for hackers in recent years, according to cybersecurity workers.

Electronic health records, as reported, command a high price in the black market, claimed to be even more than the worth of financial data.

Unfortunately, there are several ways for health records to be compromised aside from the deliberate threats posed by malicious elements.

A lost laptop, for instance, can expose sensitive information and cause harm if they fall into the wrong hands.

Health records fall under sensitive personal information according to the Data Privacy Act of 2012.  Tougher rules for processing apply to this category.

One major source of health data can be employee records. Employers have legitimate interest in the health of their employees.

This is the reason why applicants are asked to undergo medical examinations during the hiring process and why there are annual physical examinations.

However, having a legitimate interest in an employee’s health does not translate to unmitigated access to their medical records.

Neither does it authorise the disclosure of their medical condition to an entire organisation.

The exposure of one’s health status may lead to them being the subject of discrimination, extreme prejudice, and, in some cases, even identity fraud.

A plethora of ways to protect the health records of employees was given. Data minimisation is the first. It entails collecting data only when it is needed, such as when processing healthcare information is required by law.

Questions rise whether full access to an employee’s health record is acceptable, especially if they get sick or hospitalised.

It was raised that a medical certificate expressing that the person is fit to work should suffice.

Access restriction is another way to protect an employee’s health records. Restrict access to only those who have direct use for the information.

Within an organisation, it is the human resources department that is tasked to collect this information. As a primary layer of protection, only a limited number of personnel should have access to such records.

To further, only those whose jobs require or depend on such access should be allowed to do so.

If ever these records will be shared with other offices, the accessing party must have a legitimate reason to do so.

More importantly, there must be strict guidelines governing such sharing arrangements.

Physical and Technical security measures is the third recommendation. A secure storage space for physical employee medical records should be provided.

Moreover, electronic copies of these health records must be secured by putting encryption methods in place.

But more than all of those aforementioned, a regulation that prescribes the proper handling of health records still offers the most effective type of data protection.

A proper review and the subsequent approval by the National Privacy Commission on a policy like that could potentially address all the issues raised.


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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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