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How AI is able to Predict and Detect a Stroke

How AI is able to Predict and Detect a Stroke | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Strokes happen fast–in as little as 15 minutes. To be sure, even the language in top medical reports on the subject speak of strokes as “sudden attacks” which happen so acutely that over ten million people worldwide die or are permanently disabled by them each year.

 

It’s a problem that’s plagued healthcare efforts for decades, with EMS professionals being the last line of defense for the detection of stroke symptoms pre-hospital.

 

These days though, taking a predictive approach to preventing the severity of a stroke has become a lot more feasible thanks to intensive research and testing into how Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies might be best deployed in a healthcare setting.

 

Researchers have even gone as far as developing machine learning and natural language processing algorithms that have (in one 2017 trial, more accurately than doctors) predicted which patients will suffer a stroke within a decade.

Exploring Artificial Intelligence and Stroke Response

In light of these technological advancements, this article sets out to explore and capture how today’s AI systems have been developed to optimize a practitioner’s ability (regardless of their neurological training) to predict or detect the signs of stroke prehospital.

 

First, we’ll talk about the importance of (and difficulties associated with) early stroke diagnosis. Next, we’ll summarize the current context of today’s healthcare AI technologies and how they work, then expanding on how these systems are changing the face of stroke-related care today to talk about what’s next for AI’s use in stroke detection.

 

Note: This assessment focuses largely on the ability of AI systems to detect or predict the precursors for Ischemic stroke (as opposed to Hemorrhagic stroke), which makes up over 85% of stroke cases, and for which the most Electronic Health Record (EHR) data is available.

Why is it so hard to predict and detect stroke?

Up to now, there have been very few reliable biomarkers that help neurologists distinguish which patients will suffer from a stroke in the future. And although years of clinical research trials have yielded positive results about the subject, a general lag in the evolution of healthcare IoT infrastructures have continued to limit the replicability of such studies, especially given the sheer amount and complexity of patient data needed to provide significant analyses of these markers.

 

Available retroactive data has of course given physicians and neurologists cues about which patients might be more at risk for stroke, however, actually moving to the diagnosis stage largely occurs while a stroke is happening.

 

Current stroke response procedures therefore often involve on-the-spot testing with EMS professionals or paramedics who may check for physical stroke predictors like facial weakness or slurring of speech by asking patients to smile, or by running them through a set of simple questions.

How AI Can Predict and Detect Stroke

Given that neuroimaging techniques like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scans are most often used to identify stroke, researchers have therefore created assistive AI tools that respond to or analyze these machines’ informatics and imaging outputs in particular.

 

From there, deeper retroactive analyses can be made into the neurological symptoms of studied stroke patients, offering greater clinical insight into the kinds of biomarkers that may correlate with the occurrence of stroke.

 

In other cases, images from MRI or CT scans can be quickly assessed by an algorithm, signaling to a stroke specialist in-hospital (or remotely) in which patients require immediate care.

 

Within this context, AI systems and their associated algorithms can be deployed either at the clinical research stage or at a physician’s point-of-care.

 

In either circumstance, medical professionals are trying to detect the symptoms of a stroke prehospital, with the ultimate goal of being able to accurately predict who is most susceptible to stroke, and equipping them with technologies that can notify a physician for a potential stroke in their patients, long before it has the chance to occur.

 

In support of these technologies, quite a few clinical studies have been conducted which further affirm the potential success of both research and bed-side stroke response systems.

 

For example, a related study by Gupta et al. notes, “Artificial Intelligence offers technology solutions with high precision and accuracy for the diagnosis of stroke, it’s severity as well as prediction of functional outcomes”, with a similar study endorsing the same, saying: “AI techniques in stroke imaging could markedly change…stroke diagnosis and management in the future…. machine-based diagnosis would be particularly helpful for medical staff who are not accustomed to stroke imaging.”

A real-world example of how AI can predict and detect stroke

To better breakdown how AI technologies are being used to predict and detect stroke, let’s point to the example of Viz.ai, who recently partnered with Medtronic to deliver their artificial intelligence ‘contacts system’ to stroke care centers across the greater US.

 

Recently gaining FDA clearance, Viz.ai’s software has been developed to sync up with CT scanners and is already performing well in hospitals all over the US.

 

Their software uses advanced deep learning, sending radiological images directly to a stroke specialist’s smartphone, helping them diagnose high-risk patients from anywhere in the world.

 

As a result, Viz.ai has been able to leverage artificial intelligence to – quoting their website – “synchronize stroke care, reducing systemic delays that stand between patients and life-saving treatments.” With the built software designed to engage in preliminary diagnoses and stroke patient triage, Viz.ai’s artificial intelligence can even detect suspected large vessel occlusion (LVO)–a common predictor or symptom of Ischemic stroke.

 

In fact, according to a study they conducted, later reported through the Medical Device Network, “Viz LVO demonstrated the ability to alert the stroke specialist earlier than standard in 95.5% of true positive cases…sav an average of 52 minutes.”

Other companies using AI to predict and detect stroke

These developments in responsive (and even predictive) stroke care have been welcome news for medical professionals at all levels, with other frequent successes still on the rise at the intersection of AI systems and healthcare, particularly for early stroke-detection and prediction.

 

For instance, iRAPID uses AI technology to “expand the treatment window for neurovascular conditions” through real-time views of brain perfusion and is a technology that has found a home in over 1300 hospitals globally. 

 

NeuroView, a medical technology startup, is also aiming to “automate the detection of stroke deficits in order to make better predictions about stroke in the field”, a goal echoed by many of today’s most recognized medical associations, healthcare technology companies, and even hospitals who are notably teaming up to tackle similar problems, building their own AI systems for department and consumer use.

The limitations for AI technology and stroke prediction

Of course, the work here is never done. Given the proven potential for success, healthcare companies and other healthcare innovation organizations have been forced to answer the difficult question of whether AI algorithms are sophisticated enough to mimic the complex medical decision-making problems involved in stroke care.

 

With these technologies only recently entering widespread implementation, it will take some time before AI accuracy outshines that of actual practitioners–meaning neurologists aren’t about to lose their place in stroke-care processing. Even NeuroView, mentioned above, admits that although they successfully developed an algorithm that can recognize facial weakness in standard video with 89% accuracy, that their “algorithm’s accuracy did not significantly differ from the average accuracy of EMS providers in study.”

 

A similar report from the American Health Association echoes these sentiments, admitting that further research is still needed generally, and concerning the subject of their study, to “refine” stroke-detecting algorithms and expand them to detect other stroke deficits “such as limb weakness and ataxia.”

AI technology and stroke: Forecasts for future success

Regardless, the leaps and bounds that researchers have made in the last decade alone can’t be ignored, largely casting a positive forecast for what healthcare practitioners, patients, and businesses can expect to see in the future of healthcare AI in general, and the early prediction and detection of imminent stroke in the specific.

 

While imaging interpretation, tissue mapping, and telecommunication applications continue to evolve at the intersection of Healthcare AI, further explorations will have to surmount the difficulties of replicating the often chaotic, erratic process of clinical decision-making involved in diagnosing stroke.

 

And yet, in light of what we’ve already explored, including the process of digital stroke response and why it remains so difficult in today’s technological economy, we’ve seen what some healthcare’s greatest minds have been able to accomplish amid these high-stakes conditions, and have gained a researcher’s mindset in understanding where stand, and where we are going as we continue to explore AI technology and its applications in predicting and detecting stroke.

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Cyber-Security Is Important For Your Dental Practice

Cyber-Security Is Important For Your Dental Practice | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

If you run a dental practice, keeping your computer systems secure at all times is essential.

 

Due to the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-threats, it’s more important than ever to keep your computer systems secure.

 

However, if you’re unsure how to protect your data, you certainly aren’t alone.

 

The data that you store on your computer systems contains highly sensitive information about your patients, which can make it a target of hackers.

 

Not only do these records contain important identifying information of your patients that could be targeted by identity thieves, but they also contain protected medical records that are protected by HIPAA.

 

PROTECTING YOUR DATA REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST AN ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE

 

An effective antivirus program can play a major role in protecting your data and improving dental practice security, but it’s not the whole story.

 

You need to make sure that your employees are trained on how to avoid malware on the web, avoid falling prey to phishing, and are well-educated on the importance of cyber-security.

 

In addition, it’s essential to make sure that your employees are familiar with how to identify suspicious emails and ensure that they avoid clicking on links from an unknown sender.

 

WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE?

 

While cyber-security threats are likely to become more advanced as time goes on, health IT security systems are likely to advance as well, which means that there will be new ways to protect your computer system from hackers.

 

For instance, antivirus programs are becoming increasingly effective at detecting new forms of malware, and many antivirus programs now make it possible to flag websites that could be dangerous.

 

These programs are likely to become far more sophisticated, which is likely to thwart a large portion of cyber-attacks. Furthermore, IT technology is being increasingly utilized for a wide range of dental devices, such as dental cameras, CNC machines, and 3D printers used in the dental industry.

 

As a result, the list of dental devices that you’ll need to keep secure is likely to increase considerably in the future.

 

Luckily, you’ll have the opportunity to protect these smart devices with cybersecurity technologies that are more sophisticated and effective than ever.

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High-Tech Dental Cameras Can Improve Your Practice

High-Tech Dental Cameras Can Improve Your Practice | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As a dentist, it’s important to make sure that you have the latest dental cameras for your practice, which can improve your patients’ dental health. In fact, many dental cameras that are on the market today can be connected to the internet, which allows you to quickly send the images to dentists at other practices.

 

The images that you capture with these digital cameras can allow you to identify dental health problems more easily than you could otherwise, which could keep your patients’ dental issues from becoming more serious.

 

HOW HAVE DENTAL CAMERAS IMPROVED?

 

Not only can today’s dental cameras send images to the internet, but they have a higher resolution than dental cameras of the past.

 

This allows them to capture much sharper images, which can

make it easier to have an improving dental practice and improve the health of your patients.

 

As more dentists begin to use these cameras, it will become increasingly important to use them at your practice, which will help you keep up with the competition.

 

HOW ARE THE NEW DENTAL CAMERAS USED?

 

The latest dental cameras can be used to take photos of patients’ teeth and gums. Not only can the cameras be used to capture still images, but they can be used to take videos as well.

 

Videos can allow you to save footage of a patient’s entire mouth on one file, which can make it much easier to collaborate with other dentists to improve the health of patients who visit your practice.

 

THE PRICES OF HIGH-TECH DENTAL CAMERAS ARE DROPPING

 

High-tech dental cameras that were once quite expensive are now much more affordable than they were in the past, which is due to increased availability.

 

In fact, there are digital intraoral cameras that your practice could obtain for less than 300 dollars.

 

The sky is the limit when it comes to the dental cameras of the future

 

High-tech dental cameras of the future are likely to become far easier to use, more effective, and more reasonably priced.

 

This is likely to benefit both your practice and the dental health of your patients!

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Tips For Upgrading From Paper To Cloud Storage

Tips For Upgrading From Paper To Cloud Storage | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

One great way to reduce the number of paper files at your dental practice is by storing your data electronically. Scanning files will allow you to upload data to your computer system, which can reduce or eliminate your paper file storage.

 

Not only that, but your practice can even take an additional step to ensure that these files can always be accessed by using cloud storage. Here are a few important things that you should know about storing your data digitally:

 

YOU CAN SCAN PAPER FILES YOU ALREADY HAVE

 

Even if you already have lots of paper files with patient information and other forms of data that are essential for running your practice, it isn’t too late to scan them and store them digitally instead.

 

After you’re finished doing that, you can shred the paper files, which will mean that you’ll no longer need space to store hard copies of the information.

 

USING DIGITAL STORAGE REQUIRES CYBER-SECURITY

 

If you use a file scanning program instead of keeping paper files, it’s possible to keep the digital data just as or more secure than paper files. However, this will only be true if you take steps to protect your cyber-security, such as using a high-quality antivirus program and training your employees on how to avoid phishing and malware.

 

Keep in mind that these types of cyber-security threats are likely to become more sophisticated as time goes on, which means that you need to stay informed about the latest cyber threats that could pose a risk to your practice.

 

CHOOSE YOUR STORAGE PROVIDER CAREFULLY

 

It’s essential to make sure that you choose a trustworthy cloud-based dental software program, which will be responsible for the safekeeping of your practice’s data.

 

In order to know that a cloud storage program is right for your practice, it’s important to make sure that their data storage policies are HIPAA-compliant.

 

You’ll also want to read some reviews of the cloud storage program, and it’s essential to make sure that you’ll have enough digital storage space for all of your practice’s files.

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Top tips to choose the right IT vendor 

Top tips to choose the right IT vendor  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Contracting an IT vendor to help maintain your business IT environments can be one of the best business decisions you could ever make.

 

Not only does it allow you to utilise the expertise and resources of professionals, it also considerably reduces the costs of employment, insurance, training etc…

IT vendors generally provide services such as IT support/Managed Services where they take responsibility for your business’s IT environment.

 

Finding and selecting the right IT vendor should be treated with the same importance as finding the right business partner. Essentially, you will trust your business and its operations to an external organisation. This article will cover the most essential tips in choosing the right IT vendor.

 

Industry knowledge is key: Ensure the IT vendors you are shortlisting are experienced in your industry. Knowledge of the industry enables IT vendors to understand your business better and as such, provide your organisation with the type of service it needs. Vendors with industry knowledge generally understand that industry’s requirements, tools, and business models. As such, they can accommodate your business needs.

 

SLAs lay the blue print: Service Level Agreements (SLAs) make the vendor accountable for the level of service they provide to your business. Whilst most vendors generally have standard SLAs, you need to make certain that those Service Level Agreements are enough to cover your business needs, especially when dealing with confidential data such as health records. Is a three-hour response time sufficient for a high priority issue or do you need a one-hour response time?

 

Let them pitch: The best service more often than not comes from those who are determined to win your trust and your business. Let the IT vendors pitch their services, staff and solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet the account manager and one of the engineers. This will give you a good idea of what sort of culture the IT vendor promotes and whether you can see yourself or your staff being happy with their services.

 

Ask for References: Pretty simple and straight to the point. Ask the vendors for references from businesses that are similar to yours. Make sure to find out from the references how they find the service or how well the IT environment is maintained. Don’t ask about pricing as there are a number of factors that need to be taken in to account from business to business.

 

Cheaper does not mean better: The saying you get what you pay for is an accurate phrase in today’s business market. However, this does not mean that you cannot obtain a good price, as well as excellent service. What may seem to be a good deal could reflect the sort of service you are receiving for the price you are paying. Getting premium service, access to a local help desk, high SLAs for $399 a month is a much better outcome than paying $199 and using a solo IT trader with low SLAs and no helpdesk access.

 

Set the ground rules early: There is no benefit to having an IT vendor come on board and then finding out that their SLAs or terms and conditions don’t cover your requirements. Before signing the contract, ensure that they meet your expectations. Whether it’s providing afterhours support on a certain day or maintaining your Mac computers and not just the PCs. Remember, IT vendors work for you so make sure there is a clear understanding of what is expected early on in the process.

 

An IT service desk is a must: How many staff are permanently working from that location? Furthermore, what happens when no one answers the phone? These are very important questions you need to ask your IT vendor. The last thing you would want is to call your vendor for urgent help to find out that they are short staffed or even worse, that no one is answering the phone. This is a very common scenario and you need to ensure that someone will always be ready to take your call and assist you. Vendors that work out of a van are a big no no.

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8 Questions Your Board Will Ask About Your Cybersecurity Program

8 Questions Your Board Will Ask About Your Cybersecurity Program | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cybersecurity coverage is a critical concern for every modern business. Whether you're a growing company or an established multinational business, your IT infrastructure needs to be secured against a growing range of threats. 

 

An effective cybersecurity program needs to be both robust and capable of change. All possible threats and risk tolerance levels must be clearly defined and managed from the outset. Active participation by all stakeholders is required to ensure the best possible outcomes. 

 

From setting the direction of the program to making operational decisions and providing oversight, the board of directors and all C-suite executives need to understand, engage with, and take ownership of the program.

 

Let's look at eight big questions you need to answer to give your board full confidence in your cybersecurity coverage.

1) What attributes define a complete cybersecurity strategy?

A comprehensive cybersecurity program needs to protect relevant corporate information and systems, both now and in the future. Cybersecurity is all about managing cyber risk.  To properly manage cyber risk, it is critical to have a basic understanding of the key components of a comprehensive and mature cybersecurity program.  By comprehensive and mature we mean broad and deep.  Broad – including all of the key components, and deep – ensuring that each key component is addressed to the degree that mitigates the cyber risk to the level that is acceptable to the Board and C-Suite.

 

Before you can protect the data that defines your organization, it's important to evaluate your current systems based on their structural integrity and ability to adapt. 

  • Maturity and consistency - Maturity is based on consistency over an extended period. This doesn't happen by accident, with effective security solutions adapted carefully to meet the specific needs of an organization. Your security architecture needs to be defined, your documentation needs to be thorough, and your working practices need to align with your security goals.
  • Flexibility and agility - Modern computer systems are changing all the time, and effective security solutions need to adapt to the wider world. Agility and flexibility are critical as security breaches often take place immediately after an update. If maturity is defined by the structural integrity of your security framework, then agility is defined as your ability to respond effectively at any given moment.

2) Have we got adequate review and training initiatives?

Effective cybersecurity solutions demand continual reviews, updates, and training initiatives. Whether it's buying new computers, updating network protocols, or training staff, security risk assessment is an ongoing process that helps to identify risk and ensure compliance at every turn.

 

Your cybersecurity program needs to be reviewed periodically by an independent and objective third party to ensure the relevance of hardware tools, systems and services, and human beings. Updates are not enough in isolation, with alignment between hardware and software, and software and staff also needed. 

 

Security risk assessments, ongoing testing, and awareness training are all required to mitigate risk and ensure safety. Employee training initiatives have a particularly vital role to play, with security breaches often the result of poorly trained staff or incomplete training methods that fail to align with technology updates. 

3) How do we ensure compliance?

Compliance is a critical element of IT security. Regulations put in place across industry sectors help to define appropriate levels of risk and protect information. Whether it's the CSF framework defined by the NIST, the HITECH Act legislation for health providers, or the HIPAA legislation to promote data privacy and security, your organization needs to ensure compliance at every level.

Active participation by all stakeholders is an essential part of the compliance process as well. To meet your obligations, you need to be aware of them first. From there, you can put appropriate measures in place to ensure your security and operational coverage. 

Compliance is about more than ticking boxes. It is an effective strategy and an essential part of your wider security stance.

Below are a few of the most important compliance standards:

  • NIST and CSF - The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes a Cyber Security Framework (CSF) to help organizations better manage and reduce their cybersecurity risk. This framework is used to create consistent standards and guidelines across industry sectors. It is also used to augment specific industry regulations like HIPAA.
  • HITECH and HIPAA - While HITECH and HIPAA are separate laws, they often reinforce each other and both apply to the health industry. The HITECH Act was created in 2009 to support the secure adoption of electronic health records, with HIPAA adopted in 1996 to protect the security and privacy of patient health data.     

Learn more about common compliance regulations here.

4) How do we establish an acceptable risk tolerance level?

While protecting your organization demands diligence at every turn, a no-compromise attitude is rarely effective. Zero risk is impossible as a realistic protection objective, with each organization needing to decide how much loss they can tolerate before a threshold of damage is breached. 

Defining an appropriate level of acceptance or tolerance to risk is one of the most important discussions you can have. To quantify these risks, you must identify likely threats and their potential financial impacts. Security breaches can be significant because they influence both productivity losses and the cost of cleanup.

Before you can set up a robust and effective cybersecurity program, it's important to establish an acceptable risk tolerance level. What value are you trying to protect? And what price are you willing to pay to protect it properly? The NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) is one important framework used to measure risk tolerance. 

5) Are we aware of our existing vulnerabilities?

Professional vulnerability assessment is needed to measure risk and allocate resources effectively. To align the potential impact of each security incident with an acceptable level of risk, it's important to carry out a professional vulnerability assessment. By breaking down your current security infrastructure, you can find existing vulnerabilities and create solutions that protect your organization.

6) What is our incident response plan?

Incident response and management is an important part of every cybersecurity strategy. While proactive measures are critical, it's just as important to have a response plan in place if something does go wrong. A comprehensive cyber incident management plan involves dedicated recovery measures for specific breaches. This multi-pronged reactive process must begin immediately following an intrusion and be able to adapt to changing circumstances.

7) Have we thought of third-party risk management and insurance?

Cybersecurity is an essential part of every vendor relationship, with malware and other forms of malicious code often hidden in supply chain entry points. A vendor may include a cloud service provider, an IT consultant, a data processor, or even an accounting firm.

Vendor policy management and insurance need to be built into every relationship you have, with effective management programs helping to mitigate risk, and insurance providing protection if something does go wrong. You need to understand risk and ensure best practice at every turn and strengthen vendor indemnities by ensuring that all key risk categories are addressed.

Along with mechanisms for vulnerability assessment and incident response, it's also important to consider the contractual language and documentation used to define the vendor relationship. When it comes to insurance, you need to be protected against internal and vendor-based threats. It's important to mandate your company as an additional insured on all third-party insurance policies.

8) What is the roadmap towards comprehensive  coverage?

Robust and effective cybersecurity demands resources and funding, with an ongoing review of your current security program a great place to start. There is a roadmap involved with achieving comprehensive  coverage, from the initial security assessment through to ongoing testing procedures, incident response plans, equipment updates, and employee training. 

While asking questions is a great place to start, proactive measures, professional solutions, and insurance are needed to ensure comprehensive  coverage in the months and years ahead. 

Effective security measures demand diligence and constant engagement. From your technology and software systems to the people who use them every day, safety and compliance demand your full attention.

Cybersecurity and compliance is a team initiative that demands engagement at every level. From the board and C-suite executives who make the decisions to the people who work with the technology, security is everyone's responsibility.

 

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Do the Cyber Risks of the IoT in Healthcare Outweigh the Benefits?

Do the Cyber Risks of the IoT in Healthcare Outweigh the Benefits? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of internet-connected objects that collect, analyze and monitor data over a wireless network. The IoT is used by organizations in dozens of industries, including healthcare. In fact, the IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare sector as devices today have the capability to gather, measure, evaluate and report patient healthcare data.  

 

Unfortunately, IoT connected devices also exponentially increase the amount of access points available to cyber criminals, potentially exposing sensitive and confidential patient information.  In order to take advantage of this valuable new technology, healthcare firms need to ensure that they are aware of the risks and address them ahead of implementation.

How are healthcare organizations using the IoT?

Businesses in the healthcare sector are taking advantage of the IoT to provide better care, streamline tracking and reporting, automate tasks, and often decrease costs. Here are a few examples of how healthcare organizations are using IoT:

  • Medicine dispensers are now integrated with systems that automatically update a patient’s healthcare provider when they skip a dose of medication.
  • Smart beds are equipped with sensors that indicate when it is occupied, alerting the nursing staff if the patient is trying to get up.
  • Caregivers are taking advantage of ingestion monitoring systems whereby swallowed pills transmit data to a device, tracking whether a patient is taking medication on schedule or not.
  • Smart inhalers can now track when asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) sufferers require their medicine. Some of these devices are even equipped with allergen detectors.

 

Connectivity of healthcare solutions through cloud computing gives providers the ability to make informed decisions and provide timely treatment. With the IoT connected technology, patient monitoring can be done in real-time, cutting down on doctor visit expenses and home care requirements.

 

However, as healthcare organizations begin to integrate IoT technology into devices more frequently, cybersecurity risks increase significantly.

Cyber risks of healthcare IoT tech

Cyber risks have become sophisticated and there has been an enormous increase in the quantity and severity of attacks against healthcare providers. In fact, since 2009 the number of healthcare industry data breaches has increased every year, progressing from only 18 in that year to 365 incidences in 2018.  Significant financial costs to a healthcare organization are a consequence of these breaches due to fines, settlements, ransoms, and of course the costs to repair the breach itself.  

 

Businesses are becoming progressively vulnerable to cybersecurity threats due to rapid advancement and increasing dependence on technology. Unsecured IoT devices pose a higher risk by providing an easily accessible gateway for attackers looking to get inside a system and deploy ransomware. Everything from fitness bands to pacemaker devices can be connected to the internet, making them vulnerable to hacking. Most of the information transmitted isn't sufficiently secured, which presents cybercriminals with an opportunity to obtain valuable data.

Managing IoT cybersecurity risks

No organization, including healthcare firms, can block all attackers. However, there are ways in which they can prepare themselves. Use these tips to help protect your healthcare organization from IoT-related cybersecurity risks:

  • Encrypt data to prevent unauthorized access

  • Leverage multi-factor authentication

  • Execute ongoing scanning and testing of web applications and devices

  • Meet HIPAA compliance requirements

  • Ensure vendors meet HIPAA compliance requirements

  • Protect endpoints like laptops and tablets

  • Healthcare staff should be educated to look for signs of phishing emails like typos and grammatical errors

IoT device-specific protection tips:

  • Acquire unique logins and device names. Avoid using the default configurations
  • Ensure the latest version of the software is installed
  • Take an inventory of all apps and devices that documents where it resides, where it originated, when it moves, and its transmission capabilities

Smart devices connected through the IoT increase access points for cyberattacks, significantly increasing risk and organizations need to be prepared in advance to prevent damage from such threats.  The healthcare industry is one of the most sensitive and frequently targeted sectors as well as one of the most costly in which to address a breach. Therefore, it is prudent for organizations to include IoT devices in a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment and ensure that they take all the necessary precautions to minimize vulnerabilities from implementing these IoT devices.

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Medical Device Security Risks: What Healthcare institutions can do

Medical Device Security Risks: What Healthcare institutions can do | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Medical devices, just like any other Internet of Things (IoT) object, are prone to hackers. These hacks can get dangerous quickly— security risks with medical devices become patient safety issues, as while medical devices carry patient data that needs to be protected according to HIPAA laws, these instruments also perform critical functions that save lives.

 

Weaknesses that augment the risk of a potential breach include the fact that medical devices tend to be five to six years old by the time they are even put in use at hospitals, after which they are operating for another fifteen years. These devices are the most prone to security breaches, as they are not built with future tech advancements in mind.

 

On top of this, many hospitals have not updated or patched their software or medical devices until something has already gone wrong. After the WannaCry ransomwareattack in May of 2017, Windows released patches for operating systems as old as Windows XP, yet many hospitals are slow to download the patch, and some did not download it at all. Hospitals, along with medical device manufacturers, are testing and deploying the patches across the millions of medical devices.

 

Due to the increasing connectivity of medical devices, cyberattacks have been steadily increasing over the past few years.

Here are some examples of alarming events that have occurred with medical devices:

  • In 2014, researchers alerted the Department of Homeland Security that certain models of the Hospira infusion pump could be digitally manipulated. A year later, the FDA issued an advisory discouraging hospitals from using the pump; however, it is still in use in many medical settings. Even if a security risk is detected, the device is still needed for patient health.

 

  • Years later, in September 2017, eight security vulnerabilities were found in the Medfusion 4000 Wireless Syringe Infusion Pump, the worst of which had a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of a 9.8 out of 10.

 

  • In 2016, researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham in England evaluated ten types of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and gained the ability to turn off the devices, deliver fatal shocks, and access protected health information (PHI). Not only could they drain the battery and change the device’s operation, if the researchers had used slightly more advanced or sophisticated equipment, they would have been able to interfere with the devices from hundreds of meters away.

 

  • In late 2016, over 100,000 users of insulin pumps were notified of a security vulnerability where an unauthorized third party could alter a patient’s insulin dosage.

 

  • In May 2017, NSA hacking tools believed to have been stolen by North Korea were used to infect MRI systems in US hospitals. Although this hack did not directly threaten patient safety, the machines ceased functionality for an extended period of time, increasing the need for hospital resources and causing critical delays.

 

  • In August of 2017, the FDA recalled 465,000 implanted cardiac pacemakers due to a vulnerability where unauthorized users could modify the pacemaker’s programming.

 

After all of these life-threatening hacks, the FDA has provided updated recommendations with a revision of NIST’s 2014 Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

 

Cybersecurity risk assessments can facilitate calculating the vulnerability of these medical devices. One form of this is penetration testing, where security engineers target identified or unidentified vulnerabilities in code and report the product response. Other types of risk assessments can include malware testing, binary/byte code analysis, static code analysis, fuzz testing, and security controls testing.

There are four key steps that a healthcare organization using these medical IoT devices can take to protect patient data and the devices themselves:

  1. Hospitals should use proactive approaches to hacking threats rather than waiting for something to go wrong; always change default passwords and factory settings.
  2. Healthcare companies should also assess their legacy systems and any outdated hardware; systems that are outdated are not only prone to hackers but do not integrate with newer devices perfectly. This lack of interoperability leads to more security gaps, which creates a cycle of weakness.
  3. Hospitals should isolate the medical devices that cannot be patched on a separate network so that hackers do not have access to the medical devices, in a process known as network segmentation.
  4. To discard hardware, the disposal should be done domestically, include complete data destruction, and be coordinated so that data cannot be recreated from abandoned devices.

 

Medical devices are not removed from the realm of hackable devices and should be treated as such. In fact, they should be treated with even more caution and care. If these devices are infected by hackers, both safety and privacy are at risk. Hospitals have an obligation to ensure the highest degree of security controls within medical devices they use. While the FDA may issue guidelines or recommendations with caution, as they put patient well-being above all, government agencies should still do everything in their power to make cybersecurity recommendations for medical devices enforceable and part of the law.

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Track And Maintain Your New And Existing Patients Records Effectively

Track And Maintain Your New And Existing Patients Records Effectively | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cracking the code to access and save the heart of medical care

Medical records are undoubtedly the lifelines of medical care today. You don’t just need them to treat the patient correctly and follow-up well but also to ensure that you have documented it and have a record.

 

These are not just some paperwork requirement of the process; they are also legal documents and have come a long way,from being mere bundles of files to an important requirement in the medico-legal environment.

 

The change in the stature of patient records in the entire system has led to many strategies being developed to ascertain tracking and maintaining of patient records of both new and old patients effectively.

 

Here we list for you some foolproof and effective ways of doing the same at your clinic.

1. Unique Clinic Identity Document (UCID)

UCID is a unique alphanumeric or numeric code generated by the Clinic Management software for each new patient at the clinic. The software can be customized to generate such an ID ensuring every record of the patient going forward is stored under this ID. Being a unique code this will not be assigned to any other patient ever and this code becomes equivalent to a personal locker of the patient in the software. To access the records of any patient at any time irrespective of how old or new the patient is, all you need is the UCID and login rights to access it, and lo and behold, all relevant information will be displayed on your screen.

2. Integrate Accurately and Completely

While the Clinic Management software can be customized to generate a UCID for every new patient, old patient records need to be integrated into the system while implementing the software. This is precisely the reason why integration is an important factor to be considered while buying Clinic Management software because you cannot, in any way, afford to lose the medical records of your old patients. They need to be manually or otherwise digitized and saved on the server, to be accessed in exactly the same manner as the new ones.

3. Record Only Through EMR

Discontinue the option of the physical recording of patient records at your clinic. Recording in the software puts into use the EMR module of the software and with only one format of patient records available, tracking and maintaining patient records is easy. If both manual medical record-keeping and EMR are running parallel to each other at your clinic, patient records can never be maintained effectively and the tracking or access will never be easy or complete.

4. Patient Records On Cloud Is Better

In the battle between in-house servers vs. cloud-based server as far as patient records and their access is concerned, the cloud-based server will win hands down. The in-house server may be down for maintenance or due to some technical glitch and in that down-time no patient records can be accessed or recorded; while on cloud-based servers, continuity in tracking and maintaining the patient records is a key feature. Using a cloud-based server is a better option to effectively track and maintain patient records.

While there are many more ways to effectively maintain and track the patient records of both old and new patients at your clinic, these 4 strategies address the most pertinent issues – maintenance and access to patient records easily.

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How Serious is the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage? 

How Serious is the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Across all industries worldwide, cybersecurity has become a top priority. Hackers keep pumping out new types of malware, and data breaches keep occurring. As of April 8, there were already 281 breaches exposing nearly 6 million records in 2019 so far, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Businesses can’t afford to sit back and wait until they’re attacked to defend themselves against cybercriminals.

 

With the average cost of a data breach globally totaling $3.86 million according to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the wisest course of action is to proactively protect your organization with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

 

However, everyone looking to effectively combat IT security threats faces a significant obstacle: a cybersecurity talent shortage. If you’re a business leader seeking to minimize your data breach risk, consider the following information on the extent of this issue and what you can do to overcome it.

 

The Cybersecurity Workforce Gap by the Numbers (ISC)² – an international, nonprofit association for information security professionals – released a report on the cybersecurity workforce gap in 2018. The report draws on a survey of nearly 1,500 cybersecurity pros and IT pros who spend at least 25 percent of their time on cybersecurity tasks.

 

Here are a few key statistics from the report that illustrate the extent of the talent shortage: The global shortage of cybersecurity professionals is approximately 2.93 million. 63 percent of survey respondents said their organizations have a shortage of IT staff focused on cybersecurity. 59 percent also say their organizations have a moderate or extreme cyberattack risk level because they lack sufficient cybersecurity talent. “Awareness of the cybersecurity skills shortage has been growing worldwide,” the report’s introduction states.

 

“Nevertheless, that workforce gap continues to grow, putting organizations at risk. Despite increases in tech spending, this imbalance between supply and demand of skilled professionals continues to leave companies vulnerable.” What’s Behind the Cybersecurity Talent Gap?

 

The increasing popularity of e-commerce and the rise of new technologies like mobile devices and the Internet of Things has created more opportunities for cybercrime. In the past few years, in particular, the demand for cybersecurity talent has surged, according to Verizon. Basically, the supply hasn’t had time to catch up to the skyrocketing demand. Universities and training programs need time to develop the right courses so that job candidates have the cybersecurity skills companies are searching for, Verizon explains.

 

However, it will take a while for college students to complete the new coursework and find their way into the workforce. Another, faster answer to the talent shortage is for workers to learn through on-the-job training.

 

What Can Businesses that Need IT Security Expertise Do to Overcome the Talent Gap? There are several ideas out there already concerning how to remedy the growing and highly concerning cybersecurity skills shortage.

 

Here are a few notable proposals: Form an industry-wide alliance: If large enterprises in the IT world (e.g., Dell, Cisco, Microsoft, Google and so on) join forces, they could put cybersecurity training programs in motion to address the talent shortage, according to the CSO opinion piece “The cybersecurity skills shortage is getting worse” by Jon Oltsik, a principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Broaden the job search to include candidates with the potential to learn.

 

Companies shouldn’t necessarily rule out professionals who don’t have the ideal qualifications in terms of degrees, certifications, and experience, Arctic Wolf Networks CEO Brian NeSmith advises in the Forbes article “The Cybersecurity Talent Gap Is An Industry Crisis.” Be open-minded and consider that intelligent candidates with great problem-solving skills might do well in the role, even if they don’t have all the prerequisites.

 

Turn to a third-party provider for assistance. A managed security services provider like Stratosphere Networks can help you gain access to high-level cybersecurity expertise while still containing costs. Services such as virtual CISO and CSO can give you all the benefits of having a security pro on staff without drawbacks like the price of training and hiring an in-house executive.

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3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them

3 Common Technology Problems and How to Solve Them | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

We know that businesses struggle to keep their IT in optimal working condition. While some problems take the skilled hand of an expert to fix properly, many other issues are easier to deal with internally, but still, go chronically unaddressed. Here are some of those problems, and tips for how to deal with them.

Problem 1 – Inconsistent or Lackluster Email Security

Did you know that 92.4% of all malware is delivered via email? That’s from Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. Not only is email an effective means for hackers to send you malware, but it’s a successful one too. The same Verizon report found that people in the U.S open 30% of all phishing emails, with 12% of people even clicking on the link inside the email.

 

These statistics point to a two-sided problem. Hackers know that email is a great way to get into your company, and employees are still not being cautious enough about their email usage. So, what’s the best way to help secure your email system against compromise?

 

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
    This is the easiest measure to take. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security that goes beyond just simple username and passwords. It requires that users verify their identity with a code sent to an authorized device (usually a cell phone), which can go a long way to keeping unauthorized users out of business email accounts. Unfortunately, 2FA adoption remains stubbornly low at businesses, despite the greatly increased security that it provides. One of the reasons holding 2FA back is that there are several different versions available, including SMS/mobile based solutions, physical keys, app-based models, and others.

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods, so pick a 2FA model that meets the specific security and compliance needs of your organization.

 

  • Teach Employees Email Best Practices
    According to recent data from Wombat Security, 30% of employees in the U.S. don’t even know what phishing is. That’s a big problem, as your team is the first line of defense against email-delivered cyber threats.

 

Teach your employees how to defend themselves. Go over the basics, such as poor grammar, incorrect spelling, suspicious email addresses, and other phishing red flags. Company policies against bad habits, like leaving email accounts open when you’re away from your desks, can also be very helpful. You may even want to give your staff the occasional quiz to ensure that they’re aware of the most important threats, and to educate them in a fun and memorable way.

 

Have you implemented email encryption or malware scanning for your email attachments yet? If not, those are two technical measures you can take to improve email security quickly. You may also want to think about enforcing an email retention policy. Regularly deleting emails is a best practice that’s often a vital part of maintaining regulatory compliance.

Problem 2 – Poor IT Vendor Management

According to this survey from the Tech Republic, 57% of companies say that they’re spending more time managing their IT vendors than just two years ago, driven by the growing interest in cloud computing, SaaS, and cybersecurity services. IT vendor management is crucial to helping you deliver positive IT outcomes and control the cost of these services.

 

Engage company stakeholders and subject matter experts to form a workgroup to manage your vendors. While each vendor management process will differ, you’ll want to centralize all the related information, including contracts and related documents into one data repository. This body of information will help you evaluate your IT vendors to ensure they’re still a good fit for your needs, as well as negotiate future contracts.

 

From a cybersecurity point of view, you’ll also want to create a security risk profile for each vendor. As the number of vendors your company uses grows, so does the difficulty of maintaining strong security. According to PwC, 74% of companies do not have a complete inventory of the third parties that handle personal employee or customer data, a glaring oversight that your vendor management team should seek to rectify.

 

Proper IT vendor management is critical to any compliance efforts, meaning that this work must be handled with great care in regulated industries like finance and healthcare. In these cases, you’ll likely need the help of a trusted technology partner.

Problem 3 — Poorly Secured Workstations

Cybersecurity is a big, very important topic, which we’ve written a white paper on. One area of security where we’ve noticed many businesses fall short is in securing their workstations.

 

On any given day, a workstation may get used by several different employees or teams. Because they often hold valuable data that’s directly related to your productivity, these computers must be held to a higher standard of security than your average PC or mobile device.

 

  • Employ Stronger Passwords
    81% of hacking-related data breaches involve a compromised Because passwords are all that separate your workstation data from a malicious outsider (or insider), you’ll want to make sure that all your passwords adhere to the current best practices — which are constantly evolving. Did you know, for example, that mixing upper-case and lower-case letters are no longer seen as the best way to create a strong password? In fact, the man who came up with that idea in the first place now regrets ever saying it. Instead, combine 3 or 4 unrelated English words and sprinkle a number or two in for good measure. This provides a much stronger foundation for a secure workstation.

 

  • Secure Administrator Accounts and Privileges
    Administrator accounts have the ability to move data around your computer network in ways that standard user accounts can’t. This makes them attractive to interlopers, who will do whatever they can do to gain administrator access, like social engineering. Start by making sure that all default passwords have been changed and are different on each of your workstations. Using the same passwords on any two workstations could cause problems, by encouraging a successful hacker to move laterally through your network. While you’re at it, make sure that your admins aren’t using their administrator accounts for their daily work. This is another easy fix, but we see it all the time. Having your administrators use a separate account for non-administrative duties will help ensure that if their regular account gets compromised, the account with the privileged access remains secure.
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Avoid Clinical Data Loss

Avoid Clinical Data Loss | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Have you checked your clinical data backups in the last four weeks? Do you have a signed document from your IT vendor agreeing to your patient confidentiality policy? Finally, as a business owner or manager, do you know what security policies and technologies are in place to protect your patients’ data?

 

If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, then you’re not alone and unfortunately, your business might be at risk.

 

43 percent of the health businesses audited by REND Tech Associates in 2013 believed they implemented adequate security measures in their businesses. However, our audit results told a different story.

 

One of the costliest technology risks to a healthy business is the failure to recover current patient data easily and promptly. The inability to do so can have severe medico-legal implications for health businesses and their patients. Such risk is always linked to the backup policy that businesses chose to implement.

 

To minimize the risk of not being able to recover your patients’ data when you need it most, I suggest contracting an eHealth engineer to design and tailor a backup plan unique to your business and available technology.

 

The second major source of data loss risk is the unauthorized access to clinical patient data by IT vendors. Whilst we can agree that not all IT vendors actively choose to access clinical patient data, there have been cases reported where practices and health businesses have faced legal actions due to their inability to provide signed confidentiality agreements from their IT vendors and staff.

 

If you don’t have a signed document from your eHealth engineer stating that they meet your patient data access policy then you need to obtain one now.

 

If you’d like a confidentiality agreement template then please feel free to call us and we’ll be able to send you a generic template.

 

The third security risk to health businesses is the unauthorized access of patient data, which we all commonly know as hacking. However, most health business owners or managers aren’t aware that half the hacking cases reported aren’t external hacks but internal ones.

 

An internal hack is when an unauthorized staff member or stakeholder within the business is able to access clinical or business data that they are not supposed to.

 

To remove the internal hack risk from your business you can implement a few simple steps. The first step is to ask the clinical staff not to share their passwords with other staff members. The second tip is to ensure that no one except the business owner, manager and IT vendor can access the server. The third tip is to audit your business IT platform every 12 months. It is important to have an external eHealth engineer audit your current IT platform and check the level of service that your IT provider is delivering.

 

Ongoing regular audits ensure that your business is protected from downtime due to technology failure, medico-legal complications due to unauthorized data access and most importantly, ensuring that you can always use your backups when needed.

 

If you enjoyed this article and would like more useful tips, then I’d encourage you to visit our website for more useful articles, tips, and recommendations.

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Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient

Tips to Make Your Clinic More Efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Business process engineering or business workflow optimization are terms used to describe how an organization and its staff are able to achieve more by changing or improving the way they do things.

 

By ’achieving more‘ we mean either getting the same results from a previous process but by doing less or delivering better results by doing things in a new way.

 

Ultimately business process engineering makes the clinic more efficient AND more productive. We surveyed some of our existing customers (specifically for this blog) to find out areas that they had improved on in their business. The key areas were:

  • Reducing administration work
  • Simplifying the patient journey
  • Reducing staff error
  • Reducing the workload on management and the team in general
  • Promoting a better culture at work by making it less stressful

 

Now for the fun part, below are the top five workflow changes our clients implemented (by using technology) that made them and their staff more productive:

 

Systemise the business via an online portal: We touched on this last week and it’s no surprise that systemizing the business in a way that makes it easy for the staff to follow the processes helps both business efficiency and staff productivity. Our clients (specifically those in the management layer) have found more time to focus on more important tasks by directing the staff to visit the online portals for answers they may require in terms of completing a business task. Systemising all business processes and delivering them in an interactive method will certainly reduce the number of times you will hear “How do I do this?” and the number of times you will think “Why can’t they just do it?”.

 

Technology on the go (Cloud Computing): Are you one of those doctors/practice managers who travel or work from different locations? You see your patient, write your notes then drive (or fly) back to the office to enter the notes into your clinical system? Cloud computing allows doctors to access their clinical software from anywhere. This simply permits you to enter the patient data while you are still with the patient which in turn, cuts down your administration work dramatically.

 

Social media at work: Sure, some managers will say “No Way” to have a chat program at work but the reality is that all high-efficiency organizations are implementing work-specific chat programs to allow their staff to communicate quicker. Whilst Skype is an option, there are many other programs that permit staff to chat and share information with each other easily.

 

Let the website reduce inbound inquiries: This isn’t something new or revolutionary but we still work with businesses on changing their website from a business card to a new staff member. Here’s the tip, write a list of the 10 most common inbound inquiries your staff receive and then put the answers to those inquiries on the contact us page on your website. You’ll notice that the inbound calls you receive are now more relevant and direct. If you could use short videos to answer those questions then you have just saved yourself and your staff a lot of time, freeing them up to complete more important work.

 

Online timesheets: You’re probably thinking, huh? What do you mean by online timesheets? Well, those who work on a contract basis are generally required to submit a timesheet. It’s generally printing out a spreadsheet, filling in the hours, signing the form and popping it into the manager's pigeonhole. We believe it’s easier to complete the time sheet and submit it online. It saves the payroll staff and management a lot of time and processing work. General practice clinics (same as all health businesses) have adopted this technology to reduce user error, payroll issues and most importantly, reduce the time it takes to remind staff to complete their timesheets.

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3 Keys to Effective Use of IT in Healthcare

3 Keys to Effective Use of IT in Healthcare | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Symptoms alert us to problems within our bodies that may cause us great distress. To improve our condition, we often rush to relieve our ailment by focusing on treating the symptoms rather than diagnosing the underlying problem.

 

The same is true with many of the issues we face within the healthcare industry. Often healthcare leaders incorrectly link the cause of symptoms, like physician burnout or poor operating performance, with effective use of IT systems as the failure of outcomes when there are other factors at play.

 

As healthcare advisors, we focus on finding the root cause of the problem at hand. Just like a clinician, we start by asking many questions - How are you leveraging your investments in technology?

 

Why are your IT systems not allowing the organization to achieve the desired outcomes?  How does data flow into, across and out of your organization?

 

How do you use insights from your data to guide the decisions you make? In our experience, in addition to a thorough understanding of the people and processes that drive initiatives, there are some IT best practices to lay the foundation for improvement across a complex clinically integrated network.

1. Are you using the maximum functionality of the core system?

How many applications are being used that serve the same function? Within those applications, how much of the functionality has been implemented? Who’s actually using the desired functionality as opposed to their own approach? We have found that many of the organizations we advise are using only a fraction of the available functionality within the applications. In many cases, independent best of breed systems are purchased to solve problems as they arise.

 

While that approach may provide temporary relief, over time, the misalignment of systems leads to inefficiency, increased work effort, and decreased capacity. In turn, the result is a decrease in the operating margin for the organization.

 

Maximizing the functionality of enterprise applications such as Epic and Cerner allow an organization to better link the productivity of departments and in turn, allow for much more cohesive collaboration across the entire organization.

 

When a hospital system is operating on one EHR and ERP platform, it gives them the ability to reach many audiences across multiple applications and can allow a health system to create economies of scale while advancing state of the art technical capabilities

2. Advanced Interoperability

The more information you consume, the better decisions you can make. By focusing on interoperability as a system-wide strategic initiative, you can surface more data to decision-makers so they can make smarter choices. We advise our clients to strive for semantic interoperability. This highest level of interoperability supports the electronic exchange of data structures and data definitions so that there is no ambiguity of the shared information. For example, clinicians treating patients with COPD that use data from disparate sources, such as social determinates, exposome data and health records from an outside network, can make a more informed decision at the point of care to improve the likelihood of advancing treatment outcomes and reduce health care expenditures. Technology that enables advanced interoperability will benefit every department within the health system moving forward.

3. Analytics Maturity

In today’s data-rich environment, those health systems with the ability to measure outcomes and utilize data at a sophisticated level achieve a competitive advantage. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

 

Analytics serve to improve many facets of a healthcare business beyond clinical decision support, such as the operational and financial performance of the organization.

 

In addition to advanced interoperability, health systems must have the capability to curate and govern their data to ensure that the data is accurate, timely and relevant.

 

Clinically Integrated Networks that prioritize analytics maturity and use insights to guide their strategic and tactical plans deliver value-based care to their consumers while maintaining top financial performance.

 

Keeping a strong bottom line and your physicians happy is not an easy task. At Optimum Healthcare IT, we have the tools and talent to work with your organization to advance it in these three areas.

 

A rapid IT Effectiveness Assessment is one of the many services in our Advisory practice. This assessment leverages our deep healthcare experience working in and with organizations to help them become more efficient and effective.

 

Quite simply, our goal is to enable your users to use technology to work smarter and not harder. By assessing where misalignment occurs between IT expectations and delivery, our experts will provide actionable recommendations to get back on track.

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Why Keeping Up With The Latest Dental Technology Is More Important Than Ever

Why Keeping Up With The Latest Dental Technology Is More Important Than Ever | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Making sure that you have an improving dental practice that utilizes the latest technologies is more important than ever.

 

New and innovative technologies make it possible for dentists to provide a standard of care that’s far beyond anything that was possible previously.

 

THE LATEST X-RAY MACHINES ALLOW YOU TO TAKE 3-D IMAGES

 

If you’re not using the latest x-ray machines, you should strongly consider switching over to the most up-to-date technology. That’s because modern x-ray machines make it possible for you to detect problems that would otherwise go undetected and untreated, such as subtler cases of bone loss, decay, small pits, fissures, grooves, and depressions in teeth.

 

This makes using this technology important for the health of your patients, running a successful dentistry practice, and keeping up with the competition.

 

DENTAL LABS ARE USING EXCEPTIONALLY PRECISE EQUIPMENT

 

Crowns, caps, and fillings need to last for years. Making sure these treatments last will improve the reputation of your practice.

 

Nowadays, crowns, caps, and fillings need to be more precise than ever in order to keep up with the competition as a dentist.

 

That’s because software programs are able to precisely model them with the needs of a specific patient in mind.

 

More dentists are using these types of programs than ever, and they’re expected to continue increasing in popularity for years to come, which makes getting this software one of the most crucial steps to take in order to stay ahead of the competition.

 

YOU CAN EVEN GO PAPERLESS!

 

If you’re like most dentists, there could be hundreds if not thousands of documents in your office’s file cabinet. These papers typically contain confidential personal information, such as the dental records for your patients.

 

Not only that, but having to sift through folder after folder to find important records can be extremely time-consuming.

 

Luckily, the latest technologies allow you to ditch your cluttered file cabinet for good! EHR1 is a perfect example of a software that is designed for dentists that can replace a lot of the physical storage options available to you.

 

Going paperless will allow you to locate documents with ease, which will make it easier for your patients to get appointments, reschedule, and access their records whenever they need them.

 

Ensuring that your dental practice offers services that are convenient for patients to access is an integral part of staying ahead of the competition.

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3D Printing In Dentistry

3D Printing In Dentistry | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

At one point in time, the idea of replicating three-dimensional models of various objects by a machine would seem like science fiction.

 

Today, 3D printing technology has penetrated its way into the field of dentistry and is proving to be a force to be reckoned with.

 

Dental Practice Compliance has even endorsed its use

 

EXAMPLES OF 3D PRINTING IN DIFFERENT FIELDS OF DENTISTRY

 

• ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

 

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is very complex and requires high precision. With 3D printing, a dentist can generate the patient’s information through imaging and scanning.

 

With that information, a dentist can create a digital 3D model of the affected area that has to be operated on.

 

The digital models will help a dentist to properly analyze the part that is going to be operated on before commencing the surgery. A 3D model can be printed to help the dentist create cutting drills that will be used for the surgery.

 

A surgical guide will also be developed from the 3D models to ensure neighboring muscles and bones are not damaged during the surgery on the affected area.

 

To ensure perfection, a dentist can practice the same surgery on the 3D models before going to the actual patient.

 

• PROSTHODONTICS

 

Artificial parts are required to replace missing parts of a person’s tooth, skull or jawbone, and they are normally referred to as prostheses.

 

They can be made from a wide range of materials like silicon and porcelain. The teeth of the patient’s parents are scanned with small cameras to create a 3D model of a jaw.

 

This 3D jaw is then used to create a flawless prosthesis for the teeth that were damaged or missing.

 

• ROOT CANAL

 

Root canal infections are usually examined with X-rays by a dentist, which only give them a one-sided view.

 

However, with 3D imaging and scanning, a dentist is able to look at the roots from a multi-directional perspective.

 

This gives them a better understanding of the problem and how to solve it. 3D-printed root canal guides assist in the removal of the pulp tissue that was damaged, thus providing accurate results.

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5 Simple Tips to Manage & Run Cloud Based Laboratory Information System Effectively

5 Simple Tips to Manage & Run Cloud Based Laboratory Information System Effectively | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

 

1. Get A Cloud-Based Service Desk In Place

So you have a website and your LIS is on Cloud. Are they connected? When most of your potential visitors show a behavioral pattern of visiting your website first, before heading over to your lab, why not make the website interactive? Train a couple of employees to man your cloud-based service desk, which means have a virtual service desk where your customers are. Just like you have a service desk at your laboratory to assist your customers at the premises, assist them while they visit your website too.

 

This Cloud-based service desk can do live chat with your customers, help them if they need any assistance, follow-up in case the customers log out of the page abruptly etc.

 

Also,features such as patient portals and customer portals empower the users to download report through the website making them completely independent.

2. Go Mobile

The biggest advantage that Cloud-based servers provide a laboratory is the ease of mobility. Since the data is stored at a remote location and is not bound by the constraints of a physical hardware on the premises, investing on a mobile version of your laboratory’s website or even an App is a good idea. You can take patient satisfaction to another level when you offer your patients and potential patients the ease to reach or access their health information on the go.

 

With a virtual service desk in place, going mobile would mean more and better interactions, increased patient satisfaction and higher footfalls.

3. Ease Customer Experience Through Common ULID

Use of LIS allows allotting Unique Laboratory ID (ULID) which means any patient you ever had will have a unique number allotted to them. This unique patient ID will be available in the LIS and all the information about the patient – demographic as well as clinical–can beaccessed through this ID.

 

If implemented across all centers, the ULID concept combined with the flexibility of Cloud-based LIS allows your patients to walk into any of your centers and use the services, without registering again.

 

The patient only needs to give her ULID to the service desk attendant and the staff can simply log into the LIS to access patient information. The patient information can then be updated by the staff at the center and these updated diagnostic records can be accessed from any other location in future.

4. Have The Most Effective Meetings

While there is technology in place to conduct meetings between people from different locations, Cloud-based LIS effectively helps access any data from any location as long as their login has access rights to that data. This ensures faster exchange of information resulting in overall increased speed of operations of the laboratory.

5. Ease The Implementation & Audit of Qualit Indicators

Quality indicators are, undoubtedly, the lifelines of a laboratory. The BI tool is just what you need to moderate the activities in your lab and optimize performance. Be it monitoring sample workflow processing, number of patient visits, inventory flow, cash flow, consultant performance, overall business fluctuations over a period or any other business metrics that you care about.

 

You can develop standard quality indicators, key performance indicators and implement them across all the units using Cloud-based LIS. The Cloud-based LIS also allows collating and comparing results and progress from any location offering access to real time data.

 

While opting for Cloud-based LIS has its obvious benefits, there is a lot more that you can get out of it once you identify and track your key business metrics.

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Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Cyber Attack?

Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Cyber Attack? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As business and society rely increasingly on technology, the data being created and processed is increasing exponentially. With information effectively becoming the fuel that drives modern organizations, it has become a valuable commodity. Every day organizations face an increasing number of cyber attacks as criminals target their infrastructure and data. Not only are these attacks increasing in frequency, but they are also growing in sophistication. Hackers are finding new and innovative ways to infiltrate networks, compromise systems, and steal data every day. Taking all these factors into account, do you believe your staff is ready for the next cyber attack?

Defending Against Modern Cyber Attacks is Challenging

In today’s digitally-driven world, cybersecurity is growing more complex, cyber attacks are on the increase, and attackers are becoming more sophisticated. Here’s how each of these factors are presenting risks to your organization.

Complexity Introduces Risk

The evolution of technology has helped organizations increase their productivity and efficiency. It has also increased the complexity businesses face when trying to manage it. This complexity increases your cybersecurity risk as there are many more attack vectors hackers can leverage to compromise your systems.

Cyber Attacks Are Increasing in Frequency

According to ISACA’s 2018 State of Cybersecurity findings, more than 50% of security leaders surveyed have seen an increase in cyber attack volumes when compared to the previous year. ISACA’s study also found that 80% of respondents said they are likely or very likely to be attacked this year. These statistics show that organizations are under constant cyber attack. They must remain vigilant and put measures in place to defend themselves.

Attacks Are Growing in Sophistication

As software vendors and cybersecurity professionals patch software and find new ways to fend off attacks, hackers evolve and continue to find new and innovative ways to compromise systems. This continuous evolution has many organizations rating cybersecurity risk as their biggest technology concern.

How to Equip Your Employees

Many argue that your employees are the weakest link in the security chain. The 2018 Cyberwar and the future of Cybersecurity Report confirmed this with 44% of respondents ranking end users as their company's weakest security link. However, with the right training and support, your staff could be the first line of defense against a sophisticated cyber attack.

Implement Good Password Hygiene Practices

According to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, the vast majority of data breaches result from lost, stolen, or weak passwords. Implementing a policy that forces your employees to follow proper password hygiene practices can go a long way in securing your organization. Employees should use a unique password for every system they access, change it regularly, and not use a weak password that is easy to guess. Routinely evaluating the enforcement of your policy by conducting regular security assessments is also recommended to ensure your employees are following these guidelines.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Even great passwords can get cracked. Hackers using sophisticated tools and leveraging the power of cloud computing can compromise systems protected with the most robust passwords. Implementing a solution that requires users to submit a second verification factor, such as a One Time Pin, before granting them access can mitigate this risk substantially.

Implement Defense in Depth and the Principle of Least Privilege

As cyber attacks grow in number and sophistication, implementing a Defense in Depth strategy and the Principle of Least Privilege can help you secure your business. By deploying layers of security, and ensuring employees only have the minimum access needed to perform their duties, you can limit the damage of a cyber attack considerably.

Train Your Employees to Identify Phishing Emails

Phishing is the most common form of cyber attack and has grown in sophistication with hackers even using websites with secure padlocks to deceive users. This development means determined attackers can circumvent standard browser security measures and the only real defense is a well-trained user. Training your users to identify phishing emails is now more crucial than ever.

Training Reduces Your Cybersecurity Risk

With cyber attacks on the increase and growing in sophistication, organizations need to train their employees to mitigate modern security threats. Cybersecurity awareness training can help reduce errors, enhance security, increase compliance, and protect the reputation of your business.

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Malware in the Cloud: What You Need to Know

Malware in the Cloud: What You Need to Know | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Cloud security is not as simple as it may seem. Businesses have a shared security responsibility with cloud service providers, but some lack the knowledge to keep up their share of the bargain. Poor configuration and data leaks are common problems that many businesses encounter in the cloud. These issues can lead to malware infecting your cloud computing environment.

Here are a few of the different types of malware that can disrupt your cloud services.

DDoS Attacks

Botnets are becoming more and more common, with malware-as-a-service being offered by more malicious actors at an increasingly cheap price. Self-service cloud offerings allow these attackers to easily gain access and notoriety by launching large-scale DDoS attacks, which have been measured at speeds of up to 30 Gbps. Since cloud computing hosts multiple customers in a single cloud, these attacks can affect your cloud environment, as well.

Hypercall Attacks

An attacker uses a Virtual Machine (VM) to intrude the victim’s VM by exploiting the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) hypercall handler. This gives the attacker the ability to access VMM privileges and possibly even execute malicious code.

Hypervisor DoS

This attack uses a high percentage of your hypervisor’s resources in order to leverage flaws in design or setup. Researchers found that this malware accounted for 70 percent of malware attacks targeting cloud providers’ hypervisor, which manages customers’ virtual environments. One study found that 71.2 percent of all Xen and 65.8 percent of all KVM vulnerabilities could be exploited by a guest VM. For the sake of context, AWS uses Xen for its hypervisor, and Google uses a proprietary version of KVM.

Co-Location

An attacker tries to find the target VM’s host in order to place their own VM on the same host. This is used to gain leverage in cross-VM side-channel attacks, such as Flush/Reload or Prime and Probe.

Hyperjacking

This is where an attacker tries to take control of the hypervisor, sometimes using a virtual machine-based rootkit. If the attacker is successful, they will have access to the entire machine. This could be used to change the behavior of the VM, causing it to be partially or fully compromised.

Man in the middle (MITM)

MITM is when an attacker can intercept and/or change messages exchanged between users. Ghostwriter is a common precursor to a MitM attack. This allows the attacker access to a misconfigured cloud configuration with public write access.

Exploiting Live Migration

During migration from one cloud service provider to another, the cloud management system is tricked into creating multiple migrations, which turns into a denial-of-service attack. This can also be used to potentially craft a VM Escape.

VM Escape

This accounts for 13.1 percent of all malware attacks on virtual machines in cloud environments. VM Escape involves running in a VM and escaping to infect the hypervisor. The goal in this attack is to obtain root privileges, host OS control and maybe even full access across the environment.

Flush/Reload

This attack utilizes a memory optimization technique known as memory deduplication. By enacting a sophisticated cross side-channel technique, a malicious actor can detect a full AES encryption key.

Prime and Probe

This is a VM cross side-channel attack that utilizes cache instead of memory. The attacker fills the cache with some of their own information. Once the victim uses the VM, the attacker uses this information to see which cache lines were accessed by the victim. This method has been used to recover an AWS encryption key.

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Are medical devices a security risk for your healthcare organization?

Are medical devices a security risk for your healthcare organization? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Medical organizations are taking advantage of the IoT (Internet of Things) with Medical Devices

Your medical organization likely implements hundreds to thousands of class 3 medical devices every year.  From heart monitors to hip implants, these devices are amazing innovations that are extending and improving quality of life.  These devices come equipped with features like wireless connectivity and remote monitoring which allow for noninvasive adjustments which reduces the cost, risk and frequency of visits for the patient.

 

What are the risks associated with Medical Devices? 

As a healthcare organization implementing these devices, it is also extremely important for you to understand the risks associated with these devices.

Many manufacturers lack the technical skills required to implement security controls.  Security must be a collaborative effort between manufacturers and hospital systems.  New devices arriving in hospitals were designed at least 5-6 years ago.  Comparatively, if you connect a computer from that long ago to the internet, you can expect compromise within 10 minutes without security software or updates.  What's more, some wearable devices may be implanted for 15 years on average causing a huge security risk for the patient.

Medical devices currently lack the capacity to detect threats.  It is difficult to integrate security controls into medical devices because of their critical function.  In many cases, the medical device will continue to be used even if a security flaw is detected because healthcare providers have no alternative option, the device is required to manage the patient’s health.

The FDA does provide guidance regarding medical devices, but it is not enforcing regulations.  The FDA wants manufacturers to focus on the safety and functionality of these devices instead of putting the burden of compliance on them.  A high profile case involving a pacemaker administered by Saint Jude Medical was actually the first case of a FDA recall of a medical device in 2017.  This was their first major move since issuing an alert for cyber risks of infusion pumps in 2015 which led to their guidance for medical devices in 2016.

Are you taking steps to protect your patients and organization while using medical devices?

Security risk is a patient safety issue.  Medical devices implanted into your patients carry their data and perform critical functions to maintain patient’s lives.  Loss or alteration of patient data could also present an issue to your patient’s health as they can be denied coverage or treatment as a result.  As a healthcare organization it is your responsibility to monitor your healthcare devices and their security as well.

The responsibility of maintaining medical device security is shared among manufacturers, hospitals and IT professionals.  The first step hospitals can take to ensure patient safety with medical devices is to work with manufacturers who adhere to FDA Cybersecurity guidelines.  Always ask your manufacturer about Cyber security.  Hospitals should adopt a testing schedule for medical devices.  Knowing which devices are in use, and what potential security risks these devices may have can lower the chance of problems occurring once they have been implanted. 

Many hospitals have their CIOs overseeing medical device management, not hospital IT, this means that clinical or biomedical engineering staff with little understanding of cybersecurity risks are connecting and monitoring medical devices on hospital networks.  As demonstrated time and again, medical devices can be used as an entry point into the hospital network, to reprogram and execute patients or even hold them at ransom.

T professionals at hospitals need to think differently about medical devices in the IoT than they do about their hospital network security.  Consider how the medical device and EMR are identifying the patient, this protects the data as it is transmitted.  Use security, authentication and access controls to confirm the patient's identity to ensure the data cannot be altered.  Always use devices which capture date and timestamps so the provider knows when the data was gathered. Data transmission protocols should be adopted per device.  You may manually transmit data from the patient's device during a visit or automatically transmit that data via the internet.  Encryption should always be used to protect data transmissions.

By being proactive regarding your medical device management, you are preparing for security risks that may arise.  

 

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Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic

Design Of A Mobile Health Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A mobile clinic allows the health provider or health business to deliver its services from multiple locations. Simply put, you go to the patient, they don’t come to you.


The concept of mobile and virtual health clinics has grown rapidly and both are now key business models for health businesses in Australia.

 

Mobile health clinics have certainly grown in both numbers and services offered, as you now have clinicians and health practitioners flying into towns to hold a clinic or even doing a roadshow-like journey through rural and remote areas.

 

Mobile health clinics are also increasing in metropolitan areas where health practitioners or health businesses are going into the corporate, government and educational sectors to offer their services to the staff of those organizations.

 

Simply put, doctors, allied health professionals, and community workers are now becoming more mobile and as such, are having a bigger reach.

 

Most health practitioners agree that the biggest challenge in a mobile health clinic is to be mobile. In order words, the ability to access all the necessary clinical and business tools and offer the same service as an in-house health clinic is the greatest challenge.

Below are some tips on how to design a mobile health clinic (from an IT perspective).

 

Know what tools you need to complete your tasks in a mobile environment, this includes:

  • The clinical software applications you currently use (MD, BP, Genie, Pathology)
  • The billing applications you currently use (BP Management, eClaims)
  • The communication/messaging applications you currently use (Argus, Healthlink)
  • The administrative tools you currently use (Outlook, calendar)

Ask your current eHealth IT consultant to perform some research on

  • Cloud solutions specific to the health industry
  • Remote desktop solutions
  • Remote access solutions

 

At REND Tech, our Cloud for Health solution allows mobile, virtual and FIFO businesses to access their complete clinical IT environment from anywhere (home, office, mobile office), at any time and using their preferred device (iPads, tablets, laptops).

Before agreeing on a solution/vendor, ensure that

  • You have thoroughly tested the solution and it meets your requirements
  • Your data and applications are hosted in Australia
  • Your data, applications and complete IT environment are backed up daily
  • You are happy with the security levels provided
  • There is ongoing IT support and maintenance to ensure that your solution is always available.
  • You have tested the solution using wireless, networked and 3G/4G connections

 

By following the steps above, you should be well and truly on your way to having an excellent IT foundation for your mobile health clinic.

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Things to consider when upgrading your computers

Things to consider when upgrading your computers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The health industry is continuing to grow with massive investments in technology and related processes to meet today’s industry needs for increased collaboration, cross-entity, and platform integration as well as the need to achieve more by doing less. Those factors highlighted above have prompted the need for health businesses to invest in implementing IT solutions, which for the health industry fall under the eHealth banner.

 

Through our experience in implementing IT platforms for different size health businesses, we would like to share the top ten tips to save you time, money and potential headaches.

 

Technology makes your life easy: This is the main reason why we have the technology and invest in IT solutions. You need to know why you need to implement a new IT solution and appreciate that change is coming. Whether it’s changing from a paper-based system to a paperless system or complying with new industry standards, IT solutions will allow you to continue your clinical work and help minimize the administration cost. Make sure you know why you are implementing a new IT solution and set the expectations straight away.

 

Ask for a solution design proposal: As a specialist eHealth/IMIT firm we design new solutions for health businesses every day. No business is the same and no IT solution is the same. eHealth professionals know the industry requirements, they know the technology lifecycle and will know what works for your business. Ask an expert to design and scope an IT solution tailored for your business. Call different IT providers and ask them to provide their own solution/design. This way you will have options to choose from.

 

Don’t cut corners with the server: Simply the most important aspect of a clinical IT environment. The server will host your business, clinical and billing data. The server ensures that you and your staff have access to all the relevant tools and data to keep on working. Ensure that your server is a brand name (NOT PUT TOGETHER USING DIFFERENT BITS AND PIECES), ensure the server comes with at least a three-year warranty (or purchase an extension)and, most importantly, ensure that the server can handle business and data growth. You are thereby futureproofing your IT environment.

 

Technicalities of the server: Again, no business is the same. However, there is a common denominator when looking for a small/medium size server. Ask for:

  • Quad core CPU (Xeon processor) for future application/data load
  • 16GB RAM to handle more users, data, and load
  • RAID 1 configuration using SAS drives to ensure that should the hard drive fail, there is a second one to take over
  • Dual power supply to ensure the server keeps working should the primary power supply fail (it happens)
  • UPS to protect your server and data should a power outage occur
  • Windows server operating system to run your applications, store your data and ensure a secure platform

 

Backup and disaster recovery: Backup solutions ensure that your business/clinical data is safe and can be recovered should there be any data loss. Having said that, the ability to recover the data quickly and efficiently is just as important. The correct disaster recovery solution will save you a lot of time and money. Below is a quick solution guide that you can use:

 

  • Buy an imaging software like Shadow Protector Backup Assist. Ask for a daily image of your server to be implemented
  • Use USB 3.0 hard drives to back up your image (from above) and clinical data. Rotate the hard drive on a daily basis
  • Use USB thumb drives to back up the clinical data only and rotate daily

 

What about the workstations?: Easy. If the server solution is: Terminal server: Ask for thin client terminals also known as dummy terminals. Those are devices without any hard drives and connect directly to the server. Standard server/workstation environment: We recommend i5 dual-core processors with 8GB RAM and Windows 7 64-bit (do not purchase anything older than Windows 7)

 

The implementation: Ensure hiring of an IT firm that specializes in the health industry. They will liaise with the different software vendors, pathologies and ensure that your new IT environment meets the RACGP standards so you can get accredited. Remember to also ask the IT firm to ensure that your practice meets the new e-PIP requirements. Most importantly, ask the IT firm to provide a project plan and an implementation plan with deadlines on when you will obtain the hardware, the time to implementation and handover dates.

 

Security tips: This is quite simple. Ask for a top brand antivirus program to be installed and configured on all devices. I tend to recommend ESET NOD32. Ask for the network to be set up as a domain and not a workgroup. Ask for different user groups (staff, management, administrators) where the staff isn’t allowed to install any software, management can install on the workstations and administrator group has full access. Set up each user with their own password and ask them to change it every three months. Avoid Wi-Fi and use standard LAN.

 

Remote login: Do you work from different locations (aged care visits, home visits) and would like to access your clinical IT environment? There are a number of options that we recommend, one being implementing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol configuration). Your IT provider will advise on the best solution. However, you must be sure to tell them that you wish to log in remotely before committing to any hardware/solution.

 

All businesses are different and as such, IT solutions will differ per business requirements, size and budget. The most important thing is to ensure that the server has at least a three-year lifecycle and have the selected solution implemented by professionals. This will save you time and money in the future.

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Tech Talks: 8×8 Delivers Secure Cloud Communication Solutions

Tech Talks: 8×8 Delivers Secure Cloud Communication Solutions | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Would you like to enhance your customer experience (CX) with reliable and secure cloud-based solutions? If so, you might want to consider 8×8, a leading provider of communication-related products for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance their customer experience and increase staff engagement.

 

Our consultants recently attended a presentation and “sales blitz” by this cloud solution provider and got a detailed look at their key offerings. Here’s some of what we know about 8×8 that we’d like to share with you if you’re a business leader looking to improve your communication capabilities. Provider Overview Founded in 1987 and based in San Jose, Calif., 8×8 focuses on delivering cloud solutions that help companies transform both their team members’ and customers’ experiences.

 

This vendor’s solutions give businesses the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and quickly with a single system of engagement for contact center, voice, video, and collaboration. 8×8 has earned recognition as a leading cloud-based communication solutions provider: For instance, the vendor has been named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide for seven years in a row. Unique Differentiator 8×8 has its own platform and native cloud contact center, rather than running on BroadSoft or another third-party cloud contact center like many of its competitors.

 

This gives them a considerable edge, as their clients realize the benefits of an all-in-one platform and provider. Featured Offerings 8×8 provides a wide range of communication solutions, such as VoIP business phone service, web conferencing, hosted PBX, virtual contact center, UC and more. Here are just a couple of their notable offerings. Business Phone Systems: An X Series Business Phone System solution from 8×8 gives you a single cloud platform for meetings, voice, call center, collaboration and more. Select elements of the different plans (starting with X2) to meet your company’s specific needs. This solution is available for small businesses as well as larger enterprises.

 

Cloud Contact Center: Enhance your customer experience with a cost-effective X Series Cloud Contact Center. Choose the model that best fits your communication needs, from the X5 (voice contact center with predictive dialer) up to the X8 (multi-channel contact center with predictive dialer and advanced analytics). Security and Compliance Guaranteed Additionally, for clients that must comply with industry regulations, this vendor’s Virtual Office and Virtual Contact Center solutions are certified as compliant with the following standards: HIPAA FISMA CPNI ISO 27001 ISO 9001 UK Government ATO Privacy Shield Framework Cyber Essentials

 

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Making your clinic & staff more efficient

Making your clinic & staff more efficient | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Data collection on staff activity allows managers and leaders to determine how their team is spending their time and which activities take up the most of their working day. This post will help make your clinic and staff more efficient.

 

Data collection tools give you a clear picture of how your staff spends their time at work and how they can become more productive.

 

This is important in health businesses, as you are able to determine where your front desk and administration staff are spending their time.

 

I will use one of our clients as an example, they have two clinics and the managers found that there was always a workload on the weekend staff for scanning and administration. The staff that worked during the week were never able to complete the scanning, filing and other administrative tasks during their working day, resulting in a backlog of weekend staff.

 

By using the activity tracking software, they found out that the weekday staff was spending all of their time on the clinical software booking appointments and taking calls. This confirmed that the workload during the week was too much for the staff and allowed the client to justify hiring a new front desk staff member to complete the scanning and filing during the week.

 

You can use the data to:

  • Challenge your staff to spend an hour less a day on emails and use this hour to work on a project
  • Determine the average time staff spend on social media whilst they are in the office and raise alarms if, for example, a staff member has spent more than two hours on Facebook
  • Set yourself some goals, for example, spend less time on administration and more time using the clinical software.

 

A product that we use and is RescueTime. It is installed on all the devices in the workplace and it gives both staff and management a report of their efficiency, productivity, and areas of concern.

 

We use this software to determine processes in our workflow that need to improve and find out how productive we are compared to other staff members.

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Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security

Simple Tips to Ensure Clinical Data Security | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While we are aware of the importance of the integrity and security of clinical data, recent onsite surveys conducted by REND Tech showed that more than half of the health businesses in Sydney did not implement strong security policies to protect clinical data.

There are a number of steps that will help you increase the security policies around your clinical data. Below are our top five tips:

 

  • To stop unauthorized internal data access, the server must be protected by an administrator password known only to the management team.
  • To ensure that no viruses or malware products are downloaded on your workstations, all computers must be protected with a business grade antivirus product (not the free version of AVG). We recommend NOD32.
  • Management and IT staff should be the only people allowed to access the server. This includes providing server access to pathology companies, Medicare Local staff and so on. If access is required you need to authorize it first and then notify your IT team.
  • To avoid network hacking, change your router password from the generic password to an administrator password. – If you have a Windows XP machine then you need to consider changing it. Recent studies showed that they are six times more likely to be hacked.
  • Never install software on your business computers that have not been approved and authorized by your IT team. Work computers must host clinical and business applications only.
  • If you access your clinical data remotely then you need to ensure that the remote access application you use is secure and password protected. Never share those details with anyone, including your colleagues.

 

By following the processes above, you should be confident in the security of your clinical data. It is highly recommended that you arrange for a security audit every six months to ensure that all the relevant security policies are in place. Take the opportunity to rate your level of data security.

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