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Leroy Jones, Jr. is the creator of Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.

Privacy and Security: Top Issue in Patients Adopting to mHealth

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A recent report by research2guidance estimates that mHealth services will reach some 500 million users by 2010. 

But there is a difference between "reaching" all smartphone users and actually having them "use" the tens-of-thousands of applications currently available. 

Currently, only about nine percent of adult mobile device users actually use a health care application.  This number is expected to increase substantially as the mobile generation looks to do more things while on the go.

That same report highlights the largest barrier to adoption is privacy - how do people know that their personal health information is not out there for everyone to see and use. 

More than 50 percent of those surveyed said they were very or somewhat uncomfortable with sharing this information through a mobile application.

As you can imagine, most people will download free applications that are fun to have or provide general information on health care.

For example, applications like iTriage offer information on symptoms, diseases and medical procedures as well as a nationwide directory of hospitals, urgent care facilities, retail clinics, pharmacies and physicians.  Good information to have, but nothing that requires extreme security or privacy.

On the other hand, having sensitive information on illnesses, prescriptions, surgeries, lab test results and other personal data flying through the air among doctors, hospitals, insurers, etc. is a concern to everyone.

Most folks throughout the health care ecosystem believe mHealth will enhance the quality of service and lower costs for patients, understanding, but how companies go about securing the information is paramount for acceptance by patients.

People are just now getting comfortable with online privacy, and moving that same perception to the mobile device might take some time.  As long as there is a guarantee of security, and the benefits are simply spelled out, adoption will happen.

While
Euro RSCG Worldwide predicts nearly 45 percent of smartphone users said they will use a health care application in the future, it would be interesting to know what percentage of those involved sharing personal information.

Companies and government agencies throughout the mHealth ecosystem need to reassure people that their personal health information is safer than keeping money in the bank. 

mHealth can provide a cure for what's ailing health care, and with the proper education, patients will begin feeling good about using mobile applications.

In the coming weeks, I'll address some of the specific initiatives and systems companies and agencies are using to protect and secure the private health care information of patients.

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Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.:


Privacy

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mHealth DC 2010

Smartphones


mHEALTH & MOTHERS

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mHEALTH INDIA

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TECH TERMS - SWITCHING HUB

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TechTerm_Image 2008.pngSwitching Hub

Definition:
A device used to segment network traffic. Switching hubs limit network contention by reducing the number of nodes on a segment.

A packets destination is stored in a routing table and all
future packets with the same address are quickly connected to the appropriate end segment.



Switching Hub_Nov 2010.gif



TECH TERM - SQL INJECTION

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Thumbnail image for TechTerm_Image 2008.pngStructured Query Language (SQL) Injection

Definition: Is an attack in which malicious code is inserted into strings that are later passed to an instance of SQL Server for parsing and execution. Any procedure that constructs SQL statements should be reviewed for injection vulnerabilities because SQL Server will execute all syntactically valid queries that it receives.

Even parameterized data can be manipulated by a skilled and determined attacker.

The primary form of SQL injection consists of direct insertion of code into user-input variables that are concatenated with SQL commands and executed. A less direct attack injects malicious code into strings that are destined for storage in a table or as metadata.

When the stored strings are subsequently concatenated into a dynamic SQL command, the malicious code is executed.

The injection process works by prematurely terminating a text string and appending a new command. Because the inserted command may have additional strings appended to it before it is executed, the malefactor terminates the injected string with a comment mark "--".

Subsequent text is ignored at execution time.

SQL_Nov 2010.png

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