The Demand for Technical Safeguards in the Healthcare Sector: a Historical Perspective Enlightens Deliberations about the Future

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Conference Proceeding

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This exploratory paper seeks to identify the drivers of demand for technical safeguards in the healthcare sector. Initially, the advent of computing and the increase in computing power were embraced by many healthcare providers without much regard for technical safeguards within systems. However, the advent of media attention when there were breaches of security over patient records and the medical profession’s natural regard for patient confidentiality soon developed a consciousness of the need for technical safeguards. The United States of America has been the leading developer of database management in the healthcare sector and it is there that the demand and the advent of technical safeguards have been most advanced. Work at the Rand Corporation, in particular in the 1960s and 1970s, was influential in structuring the discussion and advancing the commitment of the medical profession and the government. This emergent review paper poses two questions: 1. Are there likely to be changes in emphasis in the objectives adopted in development of technical safeguards in the healthcare sector? 2. If there are likely to be changes in the objectives, what might these be?