Doctors and nurses are often forced to resort to quick, insecure ways to communicate as they work to save lives and adapt to emergencies in healthcare facilities.

When doctors and nurses need to communicate patient information almost instantly, they often turn to using written notes, Word documents and text messaging to communicate. This often puts patient data at risk, HealthcareDigital reports.

A recent study by the Identity Theft Resource Center found 108 major information leaks in healthcare facilities since June 20, 2010. Banks and financial institutions experienced just 39 data losses over that period.

IT security professionals in healthcare have an unusual challenge when it comes to protecting data, as they must develop new systems that medical personnel can use without losing any of the efficiency of current methods. Doctors and nurses do not have time to get used to a new technology while dealing with medical emergencies.

Paperless records could help medical personnel quickly communicate without risking security problems. Keeping patient records on computers throughout the hospital makes it easier for healthcare officials to quickly update information at any point in time. Furthermore, doctors and nurses can be equipped with tablet computers, allowing them to tap into the network to obtain patient information as they need it. This removes much of the necessity for messaging, while completely removing the dependence on paper copies of patient information.

According to a recent article on the Washington Post, the healthcare industry is taking this electronic medical record system beyond hospital networks. While patient security can be improved within a facility through tablets and workstations, organizations still use traditional means of communication to transfer patient data from one organization to another. This process could be changing, however, as a federal initiative has begun creating a national network of secure patient records, allowing doctors or nurses in any location to access a patient's medical information.