Overcoming data security issues lies in effective communication with healthcare professionals and their I.T. and security teams and having a good level of understanding of the context.business information


NHS data is extremely valuable and personal and if it were to fall in the wrong hands can be used to blackmail and defraud an individual or organisation. Malware is the most common cause of this. Malware, extended to mean malicious software can be easily be downloaded and hidden on a computer, laptop or a tablet, from relatively innocuous looking websites by nurses and doctors alike. Not only can malware result in data theft without knowledge, it can cause general disruptions on the performance, speed and usability of the device, which impacts on daily operations.

Secure devices

Devices can be made secure by utilising the appropriate security measures and installing the relevant security software. This can be achieved by liaison between health professionals and their I.T. teams to understand the nature of the data in question.

However, with a particular project DCC have taken security measures to a higher level. We are continually working with Picker Institute and various Hospital Trusts in collecting patient experience data via tablets. Brand of tablet has no bearing on security issues, alternatively, we ‘locked off’ and customised all tablets so that the tablets only contain the application needed to collect and complete patient experience forms (or whatever the purpose may be), allowing no other form of usability such as browsing, checking emails, downloading apps and so forth. As soon as the tablet is turned on the application is loaded, nurses or volunteers simply cannot do anything else on them. Not only does this virtually eliminate security issues, the other benefits experienced are a longer battery life and potentially an extended overall life cycle of the tablets with minimum hardware or software issues.


Doctors, nurses and clinicians are not security experts nor should they have to be. However, it is important to give them a basic level knowledge on taking actions to avert data theft and loss. For example, brief insights in keeping appropriate, hard to guess passwords, not opening certain types of emails and so forth.

Considering the context

Context consideration refers to understanding the purpose of a system that will present and report data or a device that will collect data. In the former, if the purpose of the system is to analyse data from a statistician’s point of view, it may be beneficial to keep the data anonymised. Alternatively, is the data is to be looked at by a patient coordinator who is in charge of patient experience, it useful to have system in place that helps ascertain free text data. In terms of data analytics, what sort of analysis are the system required to perform and what the data extraction requirements are.

In the realms of data collection, consider where, by whom and from who the data is to be collected on. Answering these questions will help choose the most appropriate device. For example, if you are collecting data from the elderly, a more portable device may be suitable and so forth.

Issue point

DCC keep their ears to the ground and try to understand what problems front line staff is facing as opposed to a management/director perspective.

In one instance we spoke to a particular health professional in charge of managing patient experience and the individual explained how she could not get the data in time from the I.T. team, which meant the individual had no answer to the chief executives and so forth.

Our work ethic is to help frontline staffs who are operating a hospital on a daily basis and to make their life easier applying the right technology and tools for the right job.

Knowledge share

The purpose of DCC’s knowledge share workshop is to enlighten healthcare professionals in matters such as security and technology for data capture. We have been involved in numerous projects such as the aforementioned patient experience, patient outcomes, clinical research, health screening and so forth.

In the realms of data analytics, we have utilised an interactive data dashboard for many of our performance related projects. The dashboard can correlate patterns and view data at a granular level, something that is not possible manually. As a result actionable decisions can be made.

DCC host free onsite assessments and knowledge share workshops. The purpose of these workshops it to demonstrate how the technology works using a portion of your own data as opposed to a long spiel of detailed theory. The workshops will practically display the benefits of dashboard as well as a demonstration of automating the capture of data from sources such as  patient experience forms and other sources and how everything is brought together using suitable technology book your free workshop and onsite assessment or contact us for more information in using the power of data and technology in tackling malnutrition