Advancing Accessibility by Ensuring Patient Data Confidentiality  

by Ahmed El Hassan, Quality and Compliance Manager

23rd March, 2024

Table of Contents

In an era where technological advancements intersect with healthcare innovation, the protection of patient data emerges not just as a necessity but as a moral imperative. For over 25 years, Axios International has stood at the forefront of this mission, empowering patients to navigate the intricate pathways of their treatment and healthcare access with confidence and ease. 

The journey towards accessible healthcare is filled with challenges, and one of importance is protecting patients' personal data.  As technology evolves at a breathtaking pace, it has become an integral part of service delivery. Axios, too, has embraced the digital revolution. By digitizing operations, it has not only made healthcare more accessible but has also elevated the standards of patient privacy, confidentiality, and security to global standards. 

Stock image: Physicians and Axios employees ensure patient data is safely secured at all times

Technology plays a crucial role in safeguarding patient data by providing tools and mechanisms to secure, manage, and monitor sensitive information throughout its lifecycle. Innovations like Cloud Services, Encryption, DLP, Anti-Malware Software, and Multi-Level Access are a testament to the technological revolution that has strengthened our defenses against unauthorized access. Yet, the quest for a user-friendly and sustainable digital healthcare ecosystem is an ongoing challenge. However, Axios is committed to relentless improvement and adaptation in this fast-evolving landscape. 

Safeguarding patient data: A core priority 

Protecting patient data confidentiality isn’t just a goal at Axios International—it’s a pledge. By prioritizing informed consent and respecting patient preferences, Axios reinforces the trust that is foundational to the patient-provider relationship and crucial for a seamless and effective treatment journey. This commitment is reflected in our adherence to the world’s most stringent standards and regulations.  

Aware of the profound implications of data breaches, Axios has established robust protocols to address such incidents swiftly and efficiently by prioritizing immediate containment and transparent communication. These protocols include encryption of data, impact analysis, password policy, multi-factor authentication for access to sensitive information, penetration tests, and frequent internal audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities and risks. 

The company also takes internal and external safety measures, such as: 

  • Restricted access controls: Access to patient data is restricted to authorized personnel only, who are covered by the patient’s consent and undergo rigorous training on data privacy. Role-based access controls are given to select individuals only. 
  • Periodical training and education: Axios invests in ongoing training and education programs to ensure that all its employees are well-versed in data privacy best practices and are aware of their responsibilities regarding patient data confidentiality and safety. This includes training on identifying and reporting security incidents, maintaining the integrity of patient data, adhering to regulatory requirements, and continuous learning of the updated practices. 
  • Continuous monitoring and improvement: Through its audit program, Axios continuously monitors its systems and processes for any potential security threats or breaches. Additionally, the company regularly reviews and updates its policies and procedures to incorporate industry best practices and address emerging threats, ensuring that patient data confidentiality and safety remain paramount. 
  • Compliance with regulatory standards: Adhering to all relevant international and local regulatory standards and guidelines governing the handling of patient data, Axios has established a practice of following the most restricted requirements, where complying with these regulations ensures that patient data is handled with the utmost care and confidentiality. All Axios operations are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for data security and privacy. It also adheres to the standard set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for legal regulations and the Bribery Act 2010 of UK law for anti-bribery. The company has secured ISO certifications in six areas of management systems, such as exceptional quality, information security etc and also received accreditations from organizations such as Trace, which is dedicated to anti-bribery, compliance, and good governance, as well as Ecovadis that helps companies manage their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk and compliance, meet corporate sustainability goals, and drive impact at scale by guiding the sustainability performance. 
  • Secure data exchange: To provide necessary care and treatment to patients, Axios' staff might have to work with healthcare professionals and support staff. If any data is shared, it is done securely and within the set protocols. 
  • To maintain the sustainability of our programs and create value for our stakeholders, everyone in our value chain, including suppliers, adheres to the global standards of patient data confidentiality as Axios by having a targeted assessment and evaluation process. 

Patients can control their personal data 

Patients have the right to control their personal data and make decisions about its use and disclosure. Axios fully respects patients’ autonomy by obtaining their informed consent for the collection, use, and sharing of their data and honoring their preferences regarding privacy settings and data sharing. From collection to data sharing, it is guided by the individual's informed consent. Patient autonomy is pivotal in nurturing a trust-based relationship between healthcare providers and patients, a trust that is integral to the integrity of the healthcare system and the efficacy of the patient treatment journey. 

Healthcare organizations must ensure that patient data is processed securely to prevent unauthorized disclosure or breaches of confidentiality. Patient trust in the healthcare system and healthcare providers has a direct effect on their treatment journey. 

As a company, Axios is fully aware that a breach in patient data confidentiality can have severe consequences for individuals and organizations involved, impacting individuals’ trust in the healthcare system and posing legal and financial risks to healthcare organizations. These consequences may range from identity theft, compromised patient safety, reputational damage of the data controller, and negative impact on patient care to significant financial losses. Therefore, it is imperative for healthcare entities to prioritize data security and implement robust measures to protect patient information from unauthorized access or disclosure.  

Stock image: Employee ensuring patient data protection

Proactive stance on data breaches 

Axios takes data breaches and security incidents related to patient information extremely seriously and has established comprehensive protocols to handle such risks promptly and effectively before such breaches ever happen. Upon discovering a risk to data breach or security incident, Axios initiates an immediate response to mitigate the impact and prevent any harm. Upon the identification of a security threat incident, Axios mobilizes an incident response team—a multidisciplinary task force comprising experts from Quality & Compliance, IT, Legal, and other relevant departments. This team’s initial focus is on containing the incident to prevent, monitor and control the unauthorized access by proactively mitigating the risks. 

With its commitment to transparency and accountability, the steps that Axios follows involve a thorough investigation to uncover the root cause of the threats, employing a variety of methods such as system analyses, interviews with involved personnel, and audits of relevant logs and documentation. 

Once the investigation is complete, Axios takes decisive Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) to address the identified issues and to strengthen its defenses against future incidents. This may include implementing additional security measures, updating policies and procedures, and providing training to staff members. Following the implementation of CAPA, Axios conducts ongoing monitoring and reviewing to assess the effectiveness of remedial actions and identifies any further vulnerabilities or areas for improvement. This may involve conducting regular security audits, penetration testing, and risk assessments. 

Axios’ commitment to continuous improvement 

Safeguarding patient privacy transcends mere adherence to laws and regulations or the implementation of best practices. Axios firmly believes that every patient deserves access to healthcare without the shadow of privacy concerns. This belief drives our unwavering dedication to protecting patient data confidentiality and safety at every turn, ensuring that our operations follow the highest standards of patient data privacy. Our approach to access is patient-centered, recognizing that the foundation of exceptional healthcare lies in respecting and securing the personal and sensitive information of those we serve.