Over the past decade, cloud computing has quickly become a necessary transition for healthcare providers. In this technological era, things have become fast paced and an on-premises healthcare system will undoubtedly cause the industry to lag behind. According to the 2016 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey, 84 percent of participating healthcare organizations utilize cloud computing in one way or another. Its uses range from data backups and recovery, business functions such as organizational finance and human resources. However, cloud computing is affected by some negative aspects that can cause serious damage if they obstruct a healthcare entity's systems. This is mainly because emergency situations do not withstand additional pressure. Healthcare providers still have some reservations about the following:
In the health sector, priority is always given to saving lives while the security of personal health records (PHR) is often overlooked. This is because in comparison to emergency situations, the storage of information seems very insignificant. As a result, an increasing number of healthcare providers are facing the consequences. From January through May of 2018, in the United States there were 147 security breaches reported, representing 2,807,227 health records exposed via various cyber attack methods. These methods include email hacks, ransomware incidents and malware infections, among others. Cyber-crime is stronger than it has ever been and there are no signs of its decline. Therefore, healthcare providers should counteract this by rising up to the occasion and replacing outdated security tools with updated technologies and strategies.
In 2017 Oracle unveiled new product to streamline data flow throughout the healthcare clinical research and development process, while reducing associated costs. The system, called Oracle Health Sciences Data Management Workbench Cloud Service, enables pharmaceutical companies to contract research organizations to amalgamate, consolidate and analyze the expansive and differing volume of healthcare and clinical data.
What proved to be the service's most impressive feature was the way its workbench operated with regard to its multifaceted ability to improve data management:
The HIPAA Security Rule has a set list of requirements for covered entities to adhere to, all of which aim to ensure that organizations housing sensitive personal health information (PHI) are able to secure themselves against potential hackers. One of the conditions for being considered HIPAA compliant is to identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats. 2017 was a year full of international cyber attacks, which heavily affected health care functions worldwide. Consequently, a new tactic that emerged and is currently being adopted by a growing number of healthcare entities is the use of military war-games to test the strength of cyber security barriers. This consists of a simulation of events that are controlled by the players in the game (in this case, hackers VS defenders).
Even though HIPAA awareness and training is in abundance all across the US, the Department of Health and Human Services received 1,996 breaches in only the first half of 2017. It seems that no matter how hard organizations try, they continue to fall victim to breaches and attacks and do not take sufficient corrective measures to avoid future issues. In response, we have compiled a list of some of the most important lessons learned from 2017 HIPAA violations:
As the healthcare industry begins to adopt more widespread technology, healthcare professionals must adapt to the growing tide of technological reliance. "Physicians are slow to change - until they see the data," said Mayo Clinic chief executive John Noseworthy, during a conversation at healthcare startup incubator Matter in Chicago, Illinois. In order to pique interest, healthcare providers must show physicians the positive effects that technological adoption can have on patients' well-being:
The healthcare industry is continually adopting digital means and measures as a way to improve both fundamental organizational procedures as well as medical procedures. When thinking about customer service with regard to the healthcare field, one usually imagines face-to-face interaction between doctors and patients, bedside manner, etc. One particular digital tool that is now being used to refine and enhance healthcare customer service is MyChart.
Rapidly gaining in popularity, MyChart is a digital service being implemented by healthcare providers which allows for constant conversation between doctors and patients. The additive of 24 hour availability allows users to contact their medical professionals at any point in the day. The same can be said for the healthcare professionals: those treating patients can message their patients to check in, start new medications, give reminders, or even just give peace of mind, all done in real-time.
This increased communications availability improves doctor-patient relationships, and ensures some level of emotional security knowing your healthcare professional is always available via MyChart. The service eliminates calls to the doctor's office, or their assistants; and for increased convenience, MyChart has also been developed for mobile applications.
In the U.S. alone 70 percent of people have smartphones, therefore healthcare providers' adoption of seamlessly interactive services is the best measurement to reach and stay connected with their customers and patients regardless of proximity. With more digital implementation, customer service will increase in quantity and quality. Soon it will not only be limited to direct messaging, but expand to scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions, and paying bills, among other services, building a fundamentally sound and interactive system for the utilization of providers, customers and patients alike.
Presence Health, a healthcare network based in Illinois, earlier in 2017 acceded to pay a $475,000 fine after not reporting a breach of unsecured protected health information in a timely fashion. Officials of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) are noting that the length of time it took Presence to report the breach was not in accordance with HIPAA standards. This action represents the first HIPAA enforcement by the OCR on a healthcare provider for lack of timely notification of a breach.
Healthcare providers and organizations are investing in cybersecurity with the growing pervasiveness and sophistication of cyber crime. Cyber criminality is becoming both more anonymous and more lucrative, opening the market for hackers and other cyber criminals to prey on healthcare providers. Despite the healthcare industry estimated to spend $65 billion on cyber security through 2021, cyberattacks are expected to quadruple by the year 2020. Regardless of financial precaution, cyber criminals are being aided by certain factors the healthcare industry has yet to remedy: