IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
31.3K views | +2 today
Follow
IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

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.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Cloud Backup Solutions - A Primer for Healthcare Organisations 

Cloud Backup Solutions - A Primer for Healthcare Organisations  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Some businesses rely on onsite backups, whether in the form of external hard drives or perhaps tape or storage media such as DVDs or DVD-RAM, all of which are subject to failure. Hard drives typically have a lifespan of three to five years and even high-grade disc-based media is easily damaged by careless handling or incorrect storage (near a magnetic source, for example).

Legislation and E-health Driving Change

With the introduction of electronic medical records and legislation on data privacy, businesses are legally obligated to secure their client's billing, medical and personally identifiable information (PII). Many companies have a disaster recovery plan that includes an offsite data backup solution. For convenience, this primarily takes place in the cloud, as the process of storing onsite backups in a fireproof safe or manually transporting backups to another location is widely considered obsolete.

Business Continuity?

Whether your business network is on-premise only, already in the cloud or a mix of the two (typically known as hybrid IT), business continuity is the aim and most organisations seek to include a solution that allows staff to continue working, even if the power or broadband service is down. When your business processes are in the cloud, restoring from backups is easy and business continuity is assured. Likely, your clients will not even know that there is a problem with your on-premise network as normal service is uninterrupted. Cloud service providers have several redundancy options in place so cloud services are rarely impacted by hardware failure.

Moving to the Cloud

If your business does not have an automated backup solution in place, it is certainly worth considering, as onsite hardware failure can jeopardise your business’s reputation, even if just a few hour’s data is lost. When a hard drive fails, specialist recovery is possible but is expensive and requires specialist knowledge and equipment. When data protection is the aim, an automated and real-time backup offsite is the only failsafe solution and use of the cloud ensures local disasters (whether hardware, fire or water damage, or extreme weather conditions) have no impact on your business data.

Cloud Provider Selection

All cloud providers are not created equal and like any other industry, service quality varies as does administration access. Ideally, your cloud service provider understands healthcare processes and the importance of immediate access to data in a clinical environment. Professionals in this area will offer a customised solution to fulfil all your backup and restoration requirements. This solution should include but is not limited to:

Onsite analysis of your existing broadband solution—Your broadband may well be adequate for general business use but when backup schedules are involved (even if daily backups are scheduled outside business hours, you cannot afford to miss a backup due to a broadband outage. Possible service provider recommendations could include an additional broadband connection, dedicated line or provision of a router that offers a 4G SIM redundancy option.

 

Backup method and process­—The way you backup can determine the success of the solution. The speed of the process is determined by the speed of the broadband connection.

Data Storage—Data must be stored in a location that complies with state laws. For example, selecting a provider with U.S. servers is not compliant.

Remote access—Can the backup be performed remotely if needed? Can the resulting backup be accessed and verified remotely?

Auditing—Once a backup is performed, it needs to be verified as good. Many companies have found that unchecked backups are corrupt, failing when they need them the most.

Exit Clauses—Every customer has a right to change service providers if they wish. Verify that your potential providers offer the facility to migrate your data to a new provider easily and that it is very clear who own the data involved.

 

Disaster Recovery Plan

Auditing and indeed backups themselves are a key part of any disaster recovery plan. To ensure business continuity and comply with governing regulations and industry standards, healthcare organisations are responsible for the storage, backup and security of their data.

Fortunately, cloud service providers are held to a higher standard than typical businesses and their infrastructure must incorporate redundancy options, security and backup processes that are very costly for smaller companies to implement.

In conclusion, from a cost perspective, it makes sense for healthcare organisations to use the cloud for backup, storage and security. In doing so, business owners can relax, secure in the knowledge that real-time automated backups of all data are carried out in a secure manner. All that is really needed to ensure business continuity in a cloud environment is remote access using an internet-enabled device. AND ensuring the internet is present is easily achieved by adding an on-premise router to the network, with redundant connections to a 4G mobile network. If you haven’t already, can your business afford not to automate data backups in the cloud?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Why every healthcare clinic should have digital displays

Why every healthcare clinic should have digital displays | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Healthcare clinics provide invaluable services to millions of patients every day. Yet with hectic schedules, unexpected emergencies and inevitable wait times, a day at the clinic doesn’t always go as expected.

 

Digital signage helps healthcare clinics improve the patient experience by sharing engaging and entertaining content. With screens in lobbies, waiting rooms and offices, relevant ads and information flows throughout the clinic to inform and entertain patients.

5 ways digital displays help patients and staff members

1. Make wait-times more bearable

In clinics, patients often perceive wait times as longer than they really are. Streaming the news, social media feeds and other media feeds entertain visitors to reduce perceived waiting times.

2. Educate patients with infotainment

A trip to the doctor’s can be stressful, especially with health concerns on patients’ minds. Digital screens are used by clinics to educate visitors with informative content to encourage patients to monitor their own symptoms and prepare questions for their upcoming visit.

3. Keep customers up to date

With digital signage, healthcare facilities easily update patients on what’s new at the office, including recent hires, additional services, opening hours and upcoming office closures.

4. Improve caregiver services with updated information

Digital displays inform employees of room schedules and changes, internal information and facility updates, all in real-time. Alerts can also be displayed on the screen to quickly react to emergencies.

5. Help patients and visitors find their way

It can be difficult to navigate a large medical facility like a hospital, especially in stressful situations. With numerous floors and countless hallways, interactive wayfinding kiosks and screens help patients and visitors find their way.

The added benefit of added revenue from digital signage

Not only can digital signage improve the patients and visitors experience, but it gives healthcare facilities the ability to make additional revenue. With a fairly long dwell time, clinic screens are well suited for brands and advertisers to promote their products.

Waiting room audiences also often have similar needs and interest — everyone waiting for the dentist will have oral hygiene on their mind. This means advertisements can be targeted to the right audience, benefiting brands with better ROI and patients with more relevant information.

Ready to add digital signage to your healthcare clinics? Here’s how:

1. Install your screens

Start by deploying a digital signage network. Individual clinics may not necessarily need this step, as they only have one screen to manage. However, clinic owners with multiple locations should have every screen connected through a digital signage network.

2. Schedule your content

Determine what content you want playing on your screens. Consider how long patients are in front of the screen, what content they will be interested in and what kinds of brand messaging would benefit them.

3. Create your content

From staff bios, wellness tips, promotions and informative messaging, creating your own content can give your clinic an edge and bolster communication with patients and visitors. 

4. Sell your ad space

Ad space can either be sold directly to the advertiser through one-on-one conversations or through automated programmatic purchasing. While direct sales are the traditional way to sell digital out-of-home advertising space, more buyers are looking to buy screen time through automated bidding systems.

5. Subscribe to a service

No time to create and manage your own content? Join a network that will install your screens and deliver effective, targeted and educational content to your patients.

 

Ready to get started with digital signage in your healthcare clinic?

From improvements in patient care to added revenue, a digital signage network enables you to do more with your screens.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

2018 predictions for healthcare facility design

2018 predictions for healthcare facility design | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

E4H Environments for Health Architecture, an architecture firm focused exclusively on healthcare, recently released seven predictions for healthcare facility design trends in 2018.

“From Emergency Departments to micro-hospitals, to the amenities in and locations of hospitals, the year ahead will see continued changes in how healthcare providers are designing and equipping their facilities to meet both patient and market needs,” said Jason Carney, AIA, E4H Partner, in a release. “Add in the pressures of rapidly evolving regulations and payment models, and healthcare design has never been more dynamic than it is now.”

Following are seven top design trends in healthcare for 2018, as envisioned by E4H partners from across the country:

 

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DRIVES EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT RECONFIGURATIONS

Reflecting both the national opioid-abuse crisis and rising awareness of mental health conditions, hospitals are recognizing an intense need to accommodate cognitively impaired patients more effectively and more sensitively. Hospital leaders are seeking a careful balance in separating patients who pose a risk to themselves and others from the general Emergency Department (ED) population, while ensuring all patients are treated with compassion and dignity. At facilities such as Connecticut’s Waterbury Hospital and Newport Hospital in Rhode Island, areas within the ED are being designed for people and families who are experiencing or approaching a crisis requiring behavioral-health or addiction-management intervention. Because patients with cognitive impairment and behavioral issues often require longer stays in the ED than the general population, an emerging best design practice is adding features for them such as bathroom showers, places to securely store belongings, and access to decompression space.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY BECOMES A CRITICAL PLANNING TOOL FOR HOSPITAL DESIGN

In 2018, more healthcare clients will benefit from virtual reality (VR) technology as they partner with architects to imagine and design complex spaces like operating rooms. VR technology is becoming smaller and more mobile, enabling architects to take VR equipment directly to end users in order to harvest their insight interactively and obtain immediate design feedback. The ability to use VR goggles and headsets to visualize space in three dimensions and coordinate both the room design and placement of equipment is improving facility efficiency and safety. VR headset technology breaks through the traditional limitations of a screen to put people “in” the design to experience, evaluate, and comment on everything from casework configurations to outlet quantities and furniture arrangements.

 

MICROHOSPITALS

According to US News & World Report, microhospitals are now operational in 19 states across the U.S., providing services similar to larger hospitals (ED, pharmacy, lab, radiology, and surgery) in a smaller envelope. This model offers greater accessibility and convenience for residents and is a cost-effective market growth strategy for providers. These mini-hospitals are roughly 15,000 to 50,000 square feet, open 24/7, and maintain between five and 15 inpatient beds for observation and short stay use. Recent changes to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy regarding reimbursement schedules for satellite facilities, authorizing microhospitals with dedicated emergency departments as eligible for both 340B discounted drug pricing and the Outpatient Prospective Payment System, will make microhospitals an increasingly popular option. E4H Architecture has designed 28 micro-hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio.

 

MAKE SPACE FOR TELEHEALTH

Both for patients at home and those in medical facilities, telehealth is an increasingly integral mode of healthcare delivery. Healthcare consulting firm Sg2 projects that in the next two years, the volume of virtual healthcare patients will rise 7 percent and in-home healthcare services will rise 13 percent. Installation of sophisticated patient monitors with robust communications platforms is enabling patients to consult seamlessly with physicians and care team professionals. Increasingly, telehealth is being utilized for specialty services like radiology, psychiatry, and dermatology as a way to obtain a specialist’s opinion without the inconvenience of an additional office or hospital visit. Healthcare facilities should start thinking now about how to best incorporate telehealth services into their master plan. Telehealth affects facility design in several ways, including how treatment rooms are configured to accommodate remote consultation and providing infrastructure for the technological equipment. Lighting, privacy, and aesthetics of rooms used for confidential telehealth consultations are all important concerns that need to be addressed by architects and designers. Telehealth technology is also transforming lobbies, common spaces, and admissions areas. Increasingly these areas are being designed to include accessible areas for kiosks or tablets from which patients can register, view their records, or videoconference with a provider.

 

HOSPITALS TAKE A CUE FROM THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY 

The healthcare industry is embracing the trend of removing out-patient services from traditional, larger hospitals and moving them to more consumer-friendly environments. In some cases, this trend has been shown to create operational efficiencies and improve clinical outcomes, such as decreased re-admittance rates. E4H recently worked with a New York hospital to convert a 27-unit physician and nurse dormitory into temporary housing for immunocompromised patients. Procedures like bone-marrow transplants (BMTs) exemplify a unique need for extended care: In the first phase of treatment (surgery and post-op), those undergoing BMTs must be served as hospital inpatients. In the second phase, patients are vulnerable to infection and require monitoring for complications, but typically do not require a full suite of hospital inpatient services. For this second phase, the New York hospital administrators worked with architects to serve this “in-between” population, providing a facility that feels more like a hotel than hospital, with cozier interior design; private, suite-style rooms; and specialized air and water filtration systems to protect immune-suppressed patients. Rather than an inpatient charge nurse, a uniquely skilled concierge service provides front-desk response to at the front desk of the patients’ daily needs.

 

MOVE TO MALLS

As the delivery of healthcare continues to improve, an increasing number of same-day services and procedures may be performed outside hospitals, in community locations chosen for ease of access and improved customer convenience. Established retail locations are and will become even more attractive to developers of microhospitals, outpatient imaging, urgent care and ambulatory surgery centers, and medical office buildings. This approach serves not only convenience-minded patients but also providers interested in growing market share.  Trends that Walmart and Panera consider for their locations–demographics, quality of highway or transit access, parking– all translate to healthcare as well. In Kingston, NY, E4H is helping Health Quest to transform a former Macy’s retail space into a new state-of-the-art outpatient medical services facility. It will enable consumers to access urgent care, ambulatory surgical care, primary care, diagnostic imaging, and oncology services in an easy-to-reach location.

                                              

ACUTE CARE NEEDS CONTINUE TO GROW

In 2018, we will continue to see healthcare services moving from inpatient to outpatient facilities, but hospitals will also see growth in patient-day numbers. As Baby Boomers age, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years, and the total demand for inpatient care will only grow. Additionally, as services are pushed to outpatient facilities, remaining inpatients will increasingly be the sickest and most acute, requiring longer stays. Maximizing the efficiency of space and movement of medical staff to serve this inpatient population, including with more private rooms and fewer shared rooms, is critical to healthcare facility design. In the last two years E4H has designed new private, room bed towers at the Heart Hospital at Baylor Plano, Eastern Maine Medical Center, and University of Vermont Medical Center.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Tips, Hacks, and Hope for a Better EHR System 

Tips, Hacks, and Hope for a Better EHR System  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

All conversations about physician burnout eventually come around to the topic of EHR systems. The ongoing struggle with EHR systems is a chronic complaint, and physicians can feel that they are held hostage to their software. "If you're using a particular system, you have to go along with the flow," says Ron Sterling, president of Sterling Solutions, a healthcare information technology consulting firm in Silver Spring, Md., "even if that's not that way you would have done it yourself." However, there are ways to make the arrangement a little more comfortable. And there is reason to hope that things may soon improve.

 

Personalize

"My system had the option of voice recognition software, and that saves a ton of time," says Peter Basch, MD, a general internal medicine physician in Washington, DC, and medical director of EHR and IT policy at Medstar Health. Even if voice recognition costs a little more at the outset, it generally saves money in the long run because it increases efficiency. If you've tried voice recognition before and weren't pleased, it may be worth a second look. "These programs have become much better, in the past few years" says Janis Orlowski, chief Health Care Officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

 

You can also improve your relationship with your software by getting personal. "Medical language is a constricted vocabulary," says Basch. "Depending on your specialty or your practice, you tend to say the same things over and over." Basch recommends taking the time to personalize your software with macros and templates. "It takes a little time up front, but saves a huge amount of time in the long run," he says.

 

Power in Numbers

Of course, some of the problems must be addressed by vendors. "Many EHRs are put together without thinking of the user," says Basch. He describes such systems as being like a scalpel, but with the physician holding the blade end— "painful and not very efficient," he says. "EHRs are cluttered with redundant information," Orlowski points out. "Why are we including past surgeries, allergies, and so on every time? EHR's need to be smarter about displaying data," she says. You can no doubt add your own list of inefficiencies. But how to get software companies to listen?

 

"Vendors do listen to customer complaints," says Sterling. "But they wait for a general consensus before making changes." The best way to get the ear of your vendor is approach them as a group. If many doctors—particularly ones from the same specialty—have similar complaints, they're more likely to get results an individual grumbler here and there. Sterling also says that your chances of success are greater the more specific you can be. Rather than saying "I don't like the way this system handles orders," say something like, "I don't like that I have to cancel an order for a patient who is refusing care. I'd like to be able to leave the order as a recommended medication."

 

If your EHR is contributing to your burnout, it might be worth the time effort to try to improve your relationship with the software.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

How are college curriculums including telemedicine? 

How are college curriculums including telemedicine?  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As the use of telemedicine continues to increase in the health care workplace, it's important for medical schools to educate students on telehealth technologies before they are placed in the working world. Adding telemedicine to basic curriculum will give potential doctors, nurses and other health care professionals the skills and knowledge they need to make it in the every-changing industry.

Here are a few examples of universities that are staying ahead of the game, educating their students on telemedicine technologies and best practices:

NYIT College of Medicine

According to Becker's Hospital Review, the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathetic Medicine on the campus of Arkansas State University is adding telemedicine education to the first-year curriculum. Darren Sommer, DO, telemedicine assistant professor told Region 8 News that teaching students telehealth practices early on will prepare them properly for their future in the health care industry.

"If we continue to introduce medical students into the practice of medicine but don't include telemedicine, when they finally get into practice and they're acting as attending physicians they will not be prepared to deliver telemedicine services and they will be foreign to that," he said, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

College of Medicine at Chicago

Students who attend the College of Medicine at Chicago at the University of Illinois participate in the Telemedicine in Practice Curriculum, a five-module program that was designed to help students become more familiar with telehealth technologies. In this program, students will learn from multimedia lessons, interactive learning activities, simulated patient encounters and real-time patient care via telemedicine.

Texas Women's University and Old Dominion University

Both universities have introduced telemedicine programs into their curriculum to initiate delivering care in rural settings and underserved populations. By using AMD Global Telemedicine's clinical telemedicine programs, Texas Women's University and Old Dominion University are helping students prepare for the future of health care by teaching them how telemedicine provides efficient, coordinated care. Students are being trained on how to use the equipment, but they're also learning how the technology can leverage patient care and quality.

"AMD's clinical telemedicine system is the perfect complement to the curriculum we offer in the area of telehealth," said Dr. Mari Tietze, associate professor at Texas Woman's University. "Our telehealth electives are open to nursing, occupational health, physical therapy, nutrition, and health system management/business students. It is a great platform for them to understand how teams can collaborate and manage patients remotely."

Telehealth technology is the future of health care, so it's vital for universities to follow telemedicine curriculum practices. Learn more about some of the telemedicine systems AMD Global Telemedicine has to offer.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Healthcare IT Security Problems, People and Solutions

Healthcare IT Security Problems, People and Solutions | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Like other sectors whose mission depends on network-connected technology, healthcare is in crisis. In addition to the need for confidentiality, people’s lives depend on the integrity of the health information system. Incorrect decisions based on incorrect information could mean the difference between life and death. Finally, the information must be available when needed by a caregiver.


Similar to many companies, which view themselves as non-technology companies, a common problem with hospitals is that they make heavy use of technology but refuse to spend the money to secure and use it properly. The common theme is usually: Where is my return on investment? CFOs, CEOs, and even CIOs, are usually not technically savvy; therefore they are very shortsighted when it comes to seeing how technology is critical to the mission of the organisation. Therefore, we have to explain the risks and opportunities and the vital role technology plays in mission of healthcare organisations: the very safety and well being of their patients.


Ransomware such as Cryptolocker, a recent phenomenon on the hospital scene seems to be the new threat, but not the most dangerous by far. Locking hospital data is more of an inconvenience at this point. Take Hollywood Hospital Healthcare systems for instance, a well-maintained backup system would have allowed them to abandon the old system, format the hard drives and upload the backups to critical systems overnight. Lack of planning cost them an extra $17,000 dollars, and maybe millions in lawsuits. In 2013 over 250,000 victims and about 90,000 machines per day were affected according to www.privacyandsecuritymatters.com.


Regardless of this, the attacks I am most worried about are command and control type attacks. These attacks could be leveraged against pacemakers, and other electromechanical devices that send wireless signals over the internet to doctors and caregivers. In some cases, manipulation of these devices can have immediate and deadly consequences.


The investment in healthcare Information technology would have four meaningful effects:

Investment in better technology that can detect a real-time intrusion attack on the system and automate its response;

The weakest link in the IT chain can be the people. However, with proper training in incident response and intrusion mitigation, this weakest link situation can be solved. An attack on a SCADA type system would mean the attacker would need to do reconnaissance on the people and system. Trained personnel would know to look for system enumeration, scanning events and change in data traffic flow. Most attacks can be avoided with knowledge and vigilance. Patients’ information would be more protected, risk to data breach would be minimised, and return on investment would be realized over the long term.

What management also needs to realise is spending money on the system does not make it hack proof. What it does is reduce the chances of a breach, not eliminate it.

Most CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs would ask: What happens when I invest in training for personnel and they take that training and find a better job? Well, finding well-trained people that work cheap is not an option. For the training, ask employees to stay for two years in return and train junior employees. Discuss salary increases so employees can feel compensated for their work. The alternative is, you do not train employees and they stay with the company for 20 years collecting a pay check while the problem escalates. Healthcare management has the power to create the healthcare technology of the future they desire. This is not the responsibility of their employees.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Both US And International Doctors Unimpressed With Govt Telehealth Adoption

Both US And International Doctors Unimpressed With Govt Telehealth Adoption | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A new survey by physician social network SERMO has concluded that both US and foreign physicians aren’t impressed with national and local telehealth efforts by governments.

The US portion of the survey, which had 1,651 physician respondents, found that few US doctors were pleased with the telehealth adoption efforts in their state. Forty-one percent said they felt their state had done a “fair” job in adopting telehealth, which 44 percent said the state’s programs were either “poor” or “very poor.” Just 15 percent of US physicians rated their state’s telehealth leaders as doing either “well” or “very well” with such efforts.

Among the various states, Ohio’s programs got the best ratings, with 22 percent of doctors saying the state’s telehealth programs were doing “well” or “very well.” California came in in second place, with 20 percent of physician-respondents describing their state’s efforts as doing “well” or “very well.”

On the flip side, 59 percent of New Jersey doctors said the state’s telehealth efforts were “poor” or “very poor.” New York also got low ratings, with 51 percent of doctors deeming the state’s programs were “poor” or “very poor.”

Interestingly, physicians based outside the US had comparable – though slightly more positive — impressions of their countries’ telehealth efforts. Thirty-eight percent of the 1,831 non-US doctors responding to the survey rated their country as having done a “fair” job with telehealth adoption, a stronger middle ground than in the US. That being said, 43 percent said their country has done a “poor” or “very poor” job with adopting telehealth programs, while just 19 percent rated their countries’ efforts as going “well” or “very well.”

As with state-by-state impressions in the US, physicians’ impressions of how well their country was doing with telehealth adoption varied significantly.  Spain got the best rating, with 26 percent of physicians saying efforts there were going “well” or “very well.” Meanwhile, the United Kingdom got the worst ratings, with 62 percent of doctors describing telehealth efforts there as “poor” or “very poor.”

Of course, all of this begs the question of what doctors were taking into account when they rated their country or state’s telehealth-related initiatives.

What makes doctors feel one telehealth adoption program is effective and another not effective? What kind of support are physicians looking for from their state or country? Are there barriers to implementation that a government entity is better equipped to address than private industry? Do they want officials to support the advancement of telehealth technology?  I’d prefer to know the answers to these questions before leaping to any conclusions about the significance of SERMO’s data.

That being said, it does seem that doctors see some role for government in promoting the growth of telehealth use, if for no other reason than that that they’re paying enough attention to know whether such efforts are working or not. That surprises me a bit, given that the biggest obstacles to physician telehealth adoption are generally getting paid for such services and handling the technology aspects of telemedicine delivery.

But if the study is any indication, doctors want more support from public entities. I’ll be interested to see whether Ohio and California keep leading the pack in this country — and what they’re doing right.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Obama Signs Cyberthreat Information Sharing Bill

Obama Signs Cyberthreat Information Sharing Bill | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

On Dec. 18, both houses of Congress enacted the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which is part of a 2,009-page $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill (see page 1,729). CISA will establish a process for the government to share cyberthreat information with businesses that voluntarily agree to participate in the program.


The legislation is an important tool to help protect the nation's critical infrastructure, says Daniel Gerstein, former Homeland Security acting undersecretary and a cybersecurity expert at the think tank Rand Corp. "Sharing information between industry and the federal government will allow for development of countermeasure signatures that can be incorporated into networks," Gerstein says. "In the absence of such sharing, protecting networks becomes much more challenging. ... CISA is not intended to be a comprehensive bill for cybersecurity. Rather, it focuses on the exchange of information between industry and the federal government. "


Larry Clinton, president of the industry group Internet Security Alliance, says the approval of the bill by large, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate demonstrates the growing realization that the nation faces a major cybersecurity problem. "It speaks to the need to come together in a way rarely evidenced lately in D.C. and begin to attack this problem together," Clinton says. " It's a rare instance of our government system actually working in a bipartisan fashion for the public good."

Winner, Loser

Passage of CISA is seen as a victory for big business and a defeat for privacy and civil liberties advocates.


Consumer advocates say the new law provides limited privacy protections to Americans. They object to the lack of transparency in drafting the measure's provisions in secrecy and then inserting it into a spending bill that keeps the government operational. "This shows disrespect for the people whose privacy is at stake in this process, and who deserve real cybersecurity, not more surveillance," says Drew Mitnick, policy counsel for the advocacy group Access Now. "Simply put, we expect more from our elected leadership."


But business groups generally supported the legislation. "This legislation is our best chance yet to help address this economic and national security priority in a meaningful way and help prevent further attacks," says U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue. "Government and businesses alike are the target of these criminal efforts, and CISA will allow industry to voluntarily work with government entities to better prevent, detect and mitigate threats."

Key Provisions

At CISA's core are provisions designed to get businesses to voluntarily share cyberthreat information with the government. The main incentive is furnishing businesses with liability protections from lawsuits when they share cyberthreat information, such as malicious code, suspected reconnaissance, security vulnerabilities and anomalous activities, and identify signatures and techniques that could pose harm to an IT system. The new law also will provide antitrust exemption for sharing threat data among businesses.


The liability protections alone won't get many businesses to share threat information. "A bill is not going to prompt an organization to change," says Chris Pierson, chief security officer at invoicing and payments provider Viewpost. "What it will do is help the internal teams that want to share have better ammunition for their legal counterparts and compliance people to understand that sharing of threat data and indicators is being done in a coordinated fashion. The true win here will be the communication around what to share, how to share and the business benefit for companies that share."


CISA designates the Department of Homeland Security to act as the cyberthreat information-sharing hub between government and business. Civil liberties activists wanted a civilian agency, not a military or intelligence entity such as the National Security Agency, to shepherd the flow of cyberthreat information between government and business. But the legislation will not prevent the NSA and other intelligence agencies from getting hold of the cyberthreat information.


One provision of the law will require DHS to establish an automated system to share cyberthreat information in real time with other government agencies. The law also will allow the president, after notifying Congress, to set up a second information-sharing center if needed.


CISA will require the removal of personally identifiable information from data before it is shared. However, the vagueness of the law's language could result in "more private information [being] shared than the privacy community would prefer," says Paul Rosenzweig, a former Homeland Security deputy assistant secretary for policy, who analyzed the measure's language.

Healthcare Industry Study

The omnibus bill also includes language to require the Department of Health and Human Services to convene a task force 90 days after enactment of the legislation to address the cybersecurity threats facing the healthcare sector. This task force would:


  • Analyze how other industries have implemented cybersecurity strategies;
  • Evaluate challenges and barriers facing private healthcare organizations in defending against cyberattacks;
  • Review challenges the industry confronts in securing networked security devices; and
  • Develop a plan to share cyberthreat information among healthcare stakeholders.


The task force would report its findings and recommendations to appropriate congressional oversight committees.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Info-Sharing Bills: What Happens Next?

Info-Sharing Bills: What Happens Next? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As the House prepares to vote this week on two cyberthreat information sharing bills, their fates will rest as much on the White House's reaction to the proposals as on what happens in Congress.

The House Rules Committee on April 21 will consider amendments to both bills, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act that the Intelligence Committee approved on March 26 in a secret session and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act that the Homeland Security Committee passed unanimously on April 14. A vote by the full House is slated to occur on April 23 for the Intelligence Committee version of the bill and on April 24 on the Homeland Security version.

 Although the White House is not getting everything it seeks in a cyberthreat information sharing law, the legislation offers more of what President Obama seeks than did CISPA. 


Before the floor votes take place, the White House could issue a Statement of Administration Policy, which provides the administration's view on whether President Obama should sign or veto the legislation. The administration usually issues SAPs after a committee approves the bill but before the full chamber votes on it.

Recalling CISPA

The House in the past two congresses had passed cyberthreat information sharing bills, both known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, and in each case the White House threatened a presidential veto. The administration, in both instances, contended the legislation failed to provide sufficient privacy and civil liberties safeguards for citizens' personal information while furnishing businesses with too broad liability protections when they voluntarily share cyberthreat information with the government and each other.

For the White House, the Intelligence Committee version of the information sharing bill could prove more problematic. It's closer to CISPA than is the Homeland Security Committee's version and has attracted the wrath of civil liberties and privacy advocates. The Protecting Cyber Networks Act would allow the sharing of citizens' information with intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency and law enforcement.


On the other hand, the Homeland Security Committee's National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act incorporates language that explicitly states that sharing such information with intelligence and law enforcement agencies would be prohibited, except if it should help mitigate a cyber-attack. Some privacy experts contend that even with that proviso, some private information could find its way to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Added Privacy Protections

Still, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act has been amended to provide many more privacy and civil liberties' protections to citizens than does the Intelligence Committee's bill. And both bills furnish businesses with broad liability protections that would extend such safeguards to companies even if they choose not to share cyberthreat information with the government. It's unclear whether changes that appear in these bills pass muster with the administration and address its concerns regarding privacy and civil liberties' safeguards and business liability protections.


Businesses want those broad protections, and the Financial Services Roundtable, a banking industry lobbying group, has posted a Web advertisement, titled Stop Cyber Threats, calling on voters to lobby Congress to take swift action on cyberthreat sharing legislation.

It's likely, but not inevitable, that if the White House issues an SAP on the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, it would say that senior administration officials would recommend an Obama veto. As for the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act, it's less clear what the White House will say. The committee members did meet many of the objections raised over CISPA regarding privacy and civil liberties' projections, although the bill doesn't seem to meet the concerns raised about broad liability protection.

What Will Obama Do?

Remember, lawmaking involves compromise, and although the White House is not getting everything it seeks in a cyberthreat information sharing law, the legislation offers more of what Obama seeks than did CISPA, and the president might support it, perhaps conditionally.

Of course, the Senate has to take action as well.


On March 12, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill more similar to the Protecting Cyber Networks Act from its House counterpart than the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act offered by the House Homeland Security panel. Senate Majority Leader Mike McConnell, R-Ky., says he hopes to bring that measure up for a vote shortly, though he provided no specific timeframe.


Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the only Senate Intelligence Committee member who voted against the bill in committee, said last week that "a good group of senators" seeks to amend the measure to add privacy protection when it comes up for a vote before the entire Senate, according to The Hill.

Limits of Executive Order

Obama earlier this year issued an executive order to establish a process for businesses to share cyberthreat information through the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center. But Obama on his own cannot provide businesses with the protection from legal actions for sharing cyberthreat information; that requires a new law enacted by Congress.

Passage of both House bills in the lower chamber is almost a certainty, and if - and that's a big if because the Senate never voted on a cyberthreat information sharing bill in the past two congresses - the upper chamber approves information sharing legislation, a conference between the House and Senate would iron out differences among the various measures, and produce a final bill. By then, the president's views on how far he'd compromise would be known, and a bill acceptable to the House, Senate and White House could become law.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Cybersecurity: A Congressional Priority

Cybersecurity: A Congressional Priority | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The 114th Congress, with solid Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, convenes this week at a time of growing public awareness of security breaches, especially the cyber-attack last year on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

And that means the new Congress is likely to soon take up legislation to promote the sharing of cyberthreat information between business and the government in an effort to help foil breaches.


"It isn't becoming a political issue in the sense that it is partisan. It is, however, becoming political in the sense that the general public is becoming increasingly concerned with the security of the systems they depend on," says Paul Rosenzweig, a former Department of Homeland Security policymaker who serves as a senior adviser to The Chertoff Group, a risk consultancy. "That concern will drive the debate."

President Obama also is putting pressure on Congress to enact laws to make cyberspace safer, especially legislation to encourage the sharing of cyberthreat information. After the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama used his year-end press conference on Dec. 19 to call on Congress to pass threat-sharing legislation.

"One of the things in the new year that I hope Congress is prepared to work with us on is strong cybersecurity laws that allow for information-sharing across private sector platforms, as well as the public sector, so that we are incorporating best practices and preventing these attacks from happening in the first place," he said.

Will Squabbling Continue?

In the past two Congresses, Obama and House lawmakers bickered over the wording of cyberthreat sharing legislation, with the White House twice threatening to veto legislation that passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The Senate, controlled by Democrats until this week, never took up its version of the legislation.

The White House and Congress differed on how to ensure the protection of individuals' privacy as well as their civil liberties. In its veto threat, the administration said the legislation passed by the House last year failed to require businesses to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or private-sector entities. "Given some issues that the privacy community has raised, we need to take that into account as we ... work on the bill," a senior administration official said last year in discussing the legislation.

Other differences between the administration and Congress centered on how cyberthreat information is shared with intelligence agencies. Privacy groups worry that the National Security Agency and other intelligence organizations could misuse the data to threaten Americans' privacy and civil liberties.

The administration also contended that legislation in the last Congress extended liability protections too broadly. Businesses say they need the legislation to prevent lawsuits that could result from disclosing how they protected - or inadequately safeguarded - their digital assets. But the administration expressed concern that the bills before Congress could allow businesses to exploit those protections to thwart lawsuits that have nothing to with cybersecurity.

Compromise in the Air

Can the White House and Congress compromise? Several experts say they believe both sides are motivated to find a middle ground.

"It takes 60 votes in the Senate to move a bill," Rosenzweig says. "After Sony, I am skeptical that there are 41 votes to block information sharing legislation."

Dan Lohrmann, the former Michigan state chief information security officer who has long kept an eye on Washington cybersecurity developments, expects members of Congress to act on the issue this year. "They want to be shown as doing something constructive before something worse happens than the recent attacks on Sony," he says. "Cyber may offer the better hope [for compromise] as compared to immigration [reform] or debt reduction."

Lohrmann, now chief strategist and chief security officer at security awareness training firm Security Mentor, points out that many lawmakers - including Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, co-chairman of the House cybersecurity caucus - have called on Congress to act quickly on cyberthreat information sharing legislation.

But to reach a compromise, the White House and Congress must first agree on a definition of privacy, says Gene Spafford, who as executive director of Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security follows cybersecurity legislative developments.

"There is no broad policy on privacy, and there needs to be," Spafford says. "We need clear lines on privacy protection from companies giving up too much information, to government agencies collecting too much. Companies and agencies should be liable for poor practices and for over-sharing or exposure. The fair information privacy principles are a good start for defining reasonable limits to what is collected and shared."

Three Factors to Mull

To get a bill enacted, Spafford says, lawmakers need to address the three factors influencing the conversation around cyberthreat information sharing legislation: national security, privacy and undue burdening of business with new requirements. "Depending on who you talk to, the balance of these three is different," he says. "Without some better understanding of consequences and compromise, action will not be uniformly accepted."

Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, a trade group that backed the House legislation, warns against expecting the adoption of a new cyberthreat information sharing law to have a substantial impact on data breaches. "Are we overhyping the information sharing legislation and giving the impression that this bill would solve, or even make a significant dent, in the cybersecurity problem?" he asks.

Clinton, for instance, says he doubts that a cyberthreat information sharing law would have helped to prevent the Sony breach. "Most of the benefit of information sharing would be to help entities [stop] second attacks that use similar methods," he says. "I haven't heard anyone in the government come forward and say they had information that would have helped Sony stop the attack. ... To think we are going to address this problem by passing one narrow bill, even a good one, is woefully mistaken."

The new Congress also is expected to take up legislation to nationalize data breach notification. Business leaders say they need one national statute because of the burden their companies face in complying with 47 different state laws. Many lawmakers and the Obama administration favor a national law, but the big challenge facing Congress is deciding on key provisions, such as what constitutes a breach worthy of notification and when should businesses notify individuals and law enforcement of a breach. As the multitude of state statutes show, there's no consensus on the provisions to be incorporated in a data breach notification law.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Data breach trends for 2015: Credit cards, healthcare records will be vulnerable

Data breach trends for 2015: Credit cards, healthcare records will be vulnerable | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The data breaches of 2014 have yet to fade into memory, and we already have 2015 looming. Experian's 2015 Data Breach Industry Forecast gives us much to anticipate, and I've asked security experts to weigh in with their thoughts for the coming year as well.

Experian highlights a number of key factors that will drive or contribute to data breaches in 2015. A few of them aren't surprising: Organizations are focusing too much on external attacks when insiders are a significantly bigger threat, and attackers are likely to go after cloud-based services and data. A few new factors, however, merit your attention. 

First, there is a looming deadline of October, 2015 for retailers to upgrade to point-of-sale systems capable of processing chip-and-PIN credit cards. As banks and credit card issuers adopt more secure chip-and-PIN cards, and more consumers have them in hand, it will be significantly more difficult to clone cards or perpetrate credit card fraud. That’s why Experian expects cybercriminals to increase the volume of attacks early in 2015, to compromise as much as possible while they still can.

The third thing that stands out in the Experian report is an increased focus on healthcare breaches. Electronic medical records, and the explosion of health or fitness-related wearable devices make sensitive personal health information more vulnerable than ever to being compromised or exposed.

The risk of health related data being breached is also a concern voiced by Ken Westin, security analyst with Tripwire. He pointed out that part of the reason that retail breaches have escalated is because cybercriminals have developed the technologies and market for monetizing that data. “The bad news is that other industries can easily become targets once a market develops for the type of data they have. I am particularly concerned about health insurance fraud—it’s driving increasing demand for health care records and most healthcare organizations are not prepared for the level of sophistication and persistence we have seen from attackers in the retail segment.”

“There will absolutely be more breaches in 2015—possibly even more than we saw in 2014 due to the booming underground market for hackers and cybercriminals around both credit card data and identity theft,” warned Kevin Routhier, founder and CEO of Coretelligent. “This growing market, coupled with readily available and productized rootkits, malware and other tools will continue to drive more data breaches in the coming years as this is a lucrative practice for enterprising criminals.”

The rise in data breach headlines, however, may not necessarily suggest an increase in actual data breaches. It’s possible that organizations are just getting better at discovering that they’ve been breached, so it gets more attention than it would have in previous years.

Tim Erlin, director of IT risk and security strategy for Tripwire, echoed that sentiment. “The plethora of announced breaches in the news this year is, by definition, a trailing indicator of actual breach activity. You can only discover breaches that have happened, and there’s no indication that we’re at the end of the road with existing breach activity. Because we expect organizations to improve their ability to detect the breaches, we’ll see the pattern of announcements continue through 2015.”

The combination of a rise in actual data breach attacks, and an increase in the ability to discover them will make 2015 a busy year for data breaches. Whether we’re defending against new attacks, or just detecting existing breaches that have already compromised organizations, there will be no shortage of data breach headlines in 2015.





Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD, Paulo Félix
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Bridging the Gap Between eHealth Vision and Current Realities 

Bridging the Gap Between eHealth Vision and Current Realities  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The rise of health-related technology solutions is correctly perceived by healthcare professionals as a revolution that will ultimately drive improvement in patient care and increase practice efficiency. This efficiency improvement allows providers to take on more patients and increase profits. It seems like a win-win situation for patients and providers but unfortunately, there are barriers to the adoption of telehealth, telemedicine and mHealth (mobile health) that will take some time to overcome.

What are the adoption barriers in Australia? Why does eHealth offer great potential for Australians? How can we roll out eHealth solutions that benefit healthcare providers and their patients?

 

Go Digital

Perhaps the most visible “challenge” of technology in healthcare was the attempted introduction of personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), now rebranded as myHealth Record, in 2012. Despite costing $1 billion, adoption rates by Australians were around 20 per cent, with even healthcare providers unsure how to implement the system in their practices. In 2016, policymakers have decided to introduce an opt-out system where all Australians will have an account automatically unless they deliberately cancel it. This may increase perceived adoption rates but actual usage is another matter entirely as clinicians have yet to see value in it. Targeted training and national promotional campaigns are expected to reverse this trend.

 

With the correct security policies in place, changing from paper-based data to a digital format is not only advised, it is essential, especially in a technological age where collaboration is possible between healthcare profession, their colleagues, specialists and patients. When patient care is the focus, relying on couriers or fax machines to share documents is far less effective than many other solutions available today, such as video conferencing, remote diagnostics and health monitoring devices, for example.

 

Early adoption

Hanging on for dear life to obsolete paper-based methods is a mistake when you consider that even government legislation is driving a conversion to digital. It is the early adopters that will succeed, surpassing the efforts of their competitors in keeping pace as legislative requirements evolve. Early adopters are open to change, can easily adapt their processes to meet changing needs and, yes, will also be more efficient. Whether it is the use of practice management software to simplify administration and store medical records or the sharing of data for consultation with specialists in another region, those who rely on paper-based processes are at a disadvantage. Early adopters and the forward-thinking entrepreneurs that provide working solutions to the healthcare industry all encourage Australians to embrace new technology that will provide tangible benefits to all, not only by improving efficiency and level of care but also streamlining processes and increasing practice profits.

 

Technology

Perceiving future trends, an increasing number eHealth firms that bridge the gap between ideas and products is turning vision to reality, providing a wide range of solutions that solve tangible issues in a country where patients are often located a long distance from healthcare providers. These include but are not limited to:

  • Data availability – The use of cloud-based solutions allows any browser-based device to access on-premise data from anywhere. The use of permission-based access ensures all data is safe and can only be viewed by your healthcare professional
  • Integration of practice management data with medical record storage (including X-rays and images) and compliance with industry and legislative requirements
  • Remote home-based health monitoring for patients with ongoing conditions
  • Video communication with colleagues, patients and specialists for quick diagnostics
  • Patients can monitor themselves using mobile apps or specific hardware that uploads data to your healthcare provider in real-time
  • Secure storage and backup of all data that far exceeds paper-based file storage that is easily compromised or destroyed
  • The use of mobile clinics – a fully equipped mobile clinic can perform as well as its on-premise counterpart if the correct technology is implemented

 

The use of these solutions can result in reduced clinic visits without impacting on care levels, allowing clinicians to prioritise clinic time for those who need it. It is only a matter of time before all clinics adopt technology to eliminate the problems associated with the long distances between clinics and their patients. Some will go on the road with mobile clinics and perform their tasks in exactly the same way as from the main clinic. Others may prefer long-distance video consults. It really doesn’t matter what process is used as long as patient care levels are maintained, data is secure and all processes comply with industry best practices.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Getting Patients to and from the Clinic or Pharmacy Just Got Easier with Uber Health and Lyft 

Getting Patients to and from the Clinic or Pharmacy Just Got Easier with Uber Health and Lyft  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In the ever expanding world of health information technology ridesharing leaders are getting into the game. Uber Health and Lyft are now offering patient transportation, pharmacy pickup and EHR integration.

 

Uber Health allows healthcare providers and caregivers to request rides for their patients. Rides can be scheduled up to 30 days in advance, or can be booked on-demand. Booking requests are made via text message or phone call, so patients are not required to have a smart phone to participate. The service is HIPAA compliant.

 

There are already more than 100 customers using Uber Health, including MedStar Health, Collective Health, LifeBridgeHealth, and Manhattan Women’s Health.

 

Lyft is integrating with Allscripts Sunrise EHR to cut down on missed appointments. The EHR integration will allow prompts from Allscript’s EHR to ask the patient if they need transportation automatically when an appointment is scheduled. Clinicians will then see real time scheduling updates and the ETA of their patients. This niche service has huge potential. According to the Washington Business Journal, missed appointments cost US providers and insurers upwards of $150 billion a year.

 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are also expanding their partnership with Lyft that provides no-cost transportation to enrolees who request a ride to pick up their prescription at Walgreens or CVS. This program is currently in pilot in Pittsburg, with CVS picking up the bill, and Chicago with Walgreens picking up the bill.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Protecting Data and Minimising IT Risks for Your Medical Practice 

Protecting Data and Minimising IT Risks for Your Medical Practice  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The digital age has revolutionised the medical and healthcare industry in many ways, with technology and innovation serving as defining factors of success. Information Technology (IT) has made the medical practice less stressful by streamlining systems using innovative hardware and software resulting in a positive shift in medical operations and management over time.

 

The IT systems used in a medical practice rely on a high level of knowledge and expertise when it comes to the design and development of hardware and software. To operate these systems, internal staff must undergo extensive training. Alternatively, systems management and support can be outsourced to a reliable specialist company to provide IT solutions exclusively designed to suit the needs of modern healthcare providers.

 

Medical IT service providers optimise medical processes, protect data and minimise IT risks by utilising cutting-edge hardware and software solutions. Another reason more hospitals are switching to outsourcing companies is that they reduce overall operating costs. Medical IT service providers also take care of multiple departments, which in turn allows hospitals and medical practitioners to focus on serving their patients first and foremost.

 

The investment in IT solutions for medical practice has surged over the years. More and more hospitals and healthcare providers are switching to an easier and practical IT solution that offers database integrity, network security, backup reliability and support. Ozdoc have been known to provide the highest quality outsourced information technology and systems management services to the healthcare industry, since their establishment in 1992.

 

Ozdoc provide quality IT solutions for medical practices, drawing on innovation and extensive expertise within the healthcare industry. Ozdoc are the most trusted medical IT support services provider due to their trusted network of highly trained IT technicians and support professionals. They keep hardware and software systems up to date, ensure backup procedures are in place and provide support and training to staff whenever they need it.

 

Ozdoc have transformed medical practices by introducing advanced systems design as well as exclusive innovations in IT for medical practices. With their decades of experience in delivering functional and technical IT solutions for medical practices, Ozdoc ensure the demands of health practitioners as well as the expectations of their patients are met. The professional staff at Ozdoc design, implement and support custom IT solutions that meet the unique needs of hospitals and individual healthcare providers.

 

Ozdoc build an IT infrastructure that provides healthcare providers with rapid access to patient-specific information as well as a robust e-connectivity infrastructure that integrates databases ensuring smooth monitoring and tracking of patient files.

 

From project planning to installation, setup and maintenance, Ozdoc work with healthcare providers every step of the way. They ensure full protection of data by continually monitoring the main server and critical infrastructure to make sure it functions efficiently. Ozdoc ensure there are no data breaches and that no cyber-criminal activity can infiltrate or disrupt operations. Ozdoc IT solutions add efficiency and remove stress with their cutting edge, exclusive IT for medical practice solutions. With Ozdoc's advanced technology, healthcare providers can maintain a healthy, growing patient base, providing each patient with quality care as well as a comprehensive range of services.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Cloud Backup Solutions 101- A Primer for Healthcare Organisations

Cloud Backup Solutions 101- A Primer for Healthcare Organisations | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Some businesses rely on onsite backups, whether in the form of external hard drives or perhaps tape or storage media such as DVDs or DVD-RAM, all of which are subject to failure. Hard drives typically have a life span of three to five years and even high-grade disc-based media is easily damaged by careless handling or incorrect storage (near a magnetic source, for example).

Legislation and E-health Driving Change

With the introduction of electronic medical records and legislation on data privacy, businesses are legally obligated to secure their clients billing, medical and personally identifiable information (PII). Many companies have a disaster recovery plan that includes an offsite data backup solution. For convenience, this primarily takes place in the cloud, as the process of storing onsite backups in a fireproof safe or manually transporting backups to another location is widely considered obsolete.

Business Continuity?

Whether your business network is on-premise only, already in the cloud or a mix of the two (typically known as hybrid IT), business continuity is the aim and most organisations seek to include a solution that allows staff to continue working, even if the power or broadband service is down. When your business processes are in the cloud, restoring from backups is easy and business continuity is assured. Likely, your clients will not even know that there is a problem with your on-premise network as normal service is uninterrupted. Cloud service providers have several redundancy options in place so cloud services are rarely impacted by hardware failure.

Moving to the Cloud

If your business does not have an automated backup solution in place, it is certainly worth considering, as onsite hardware failure can jeopardise your business’s reputation, even if just a few hour’s data is lost. When a hard drive fails, specialist recovery is possible but is expensive and requires specialist knowledge and equipment. When data protection is the aim, an automated and real-time backup offsite is the only failsafe solution and use of the cloud ensures local disasters (whether hardware, fire or water damage, or extreme weather conditions) have no impact on your business data.

Cloud Provider Selection

All cloud providers are not created equal and like any other industry, service quality varies as does administration access. Ideally, your cloud service provider understands healthcare processes and the importance of immediate access to data in a clinical environment. Professionals in this area will offer a customised solution to fulfil all your backup and restoration requirements. This solution should include but is not limited to:

Onsite analysis of your existing broadband solution—Your broadband may well be adequate for general business use but when backup schedules are involved (even if daily backups are scheduled outside business hours, you cannot afford to miss a backup due to broadband outage. Possible service provider recommendations could include an additional broadband connection, dedicated line or provision of a router that offers a 4G SIM redundancy option.

 

Backup method and process­—The way you backup can determine the success of the solution. The speed of the process is determined by the speed of the broadband connection.

Data Storage—Data must be stored in a location that complies with state laws. For example, selecting a provider with U.S. servers is not compliant.

Remote access—Can the backup be performed remotely if needed? Can the resulting backup be accessed and verified remotely?

Auditing—Once a backup is performed, it needs to be verified as good. Many companies have found that unchecked backups are corrupt, failing when they need them the most.

Exit Clauses—Every customer has a right to change service providers if they wish. Verify that your potential providers offer the facility to migrate your data to a new provider easily and that it is very clear who own the data involved.

 

Disaster Recovery Plan

Auditing and indeed backups themselves are a key part of any disaster recovery plan. To ensure business continuity and comply with governing regulations and industry standards, healthcare organisations are responsible for the storage, backup and security of their data.

 

Fortunately, cloud service providers are held to a higher standard than typical businesses and their infrastructure must incorporate redundancy options, security and backup processes that are very costly for smaller companies to implement.

 

In conclusion, from a cost perspective, it makes sense for healthcare organisations to use the cloud for backup, storage and security. In doing so, business owners can relax, secure in the knowledge that real-time automated backups of all data are carried out in a secure manner. All that is really needed to ensure business continuity in a cloud environment is remote access using an internet-enabled device. AND ensuring the internet is present is easily achieved by adding an on-premise router to the network, with redundant connections to a 4G mobile network. If you haven’t already, can your business afford not to automate data backups in the cloud?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

4 conditions your clinic can tackle through telemedicine 

4 conditions your clinic can tackle through telemedicine  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Living with a debilitating disease can be overwhelming. Not only does it have an impact on overall wellness and longevity, but also the time, effort and money patients spend traveling to see specialists can limit the quality of care they receive. Still, these physician visits are critical to health outcomes, so patients could benefit from an easier way to keep their plan of care on track. That's where telemedicine comes in.

 

Technology is positively impacting the health care industry in various ways, and telehealth is an example of an effective tool for those living with chronic conditions. There is a direct correlation between access to care and quality of care, and telehealth closes the geographic gap to where and when people can get the care they need

4 chronic conditions supported with telemedicine

The ability to increase access to care via telemedicine has proven to be a convenient way to manage chronic disease. Here are four common conditions that telehealth can assist with:

 

  1. High blood pressure - According to Health IT News, someone living with hypertension can utilize telemedicine to connect with a specialist via video conferencing and discuss data from their wearable device

  2. Diabetes - Rural patients managing diabetes often lack access to a specialist. Telemedicine has proven a viable way to manage diabetes and when necessary, provide a high level interaction between patients in rural areas and diabetic specialist in larger urban centers.

  3. Depression - Discussing anxiety or other feelings related to depression with a psychologist can be done via telemedicine, as Mark Rood, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic. It's the same type of conversation that would happen in the office, so telehealth takes away the time and effort spent to meet in person.

  4. Arthritis - Determining one's range of motion doesn't have to happen face to face. With telemedicine, a patient living with arthritis can demonstrate how well he or she is healing and ask for additional recommendations if pain has worsened.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Investment in Telehealth Expected to Rise

Investment in Telehealth Expected to Rise | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

American Telemedicine Association recently conducted the Telemedicine Executive Leadership survey which revealed that 83 percent executives are planning to invest in telehealth by the end of this year.

 

To keep up with the rapid growth and transformation in the industry, executives are planning these investments. Interestingly, around 98 percent of the survey participants believe that telemedicine gives a competitive edge over other organizations.

Jonathan Linkous, CEO, ATA, said, “This executive leadership survey confirms undeniably today’s leaders view telemedicine as a major driver in transforming healthcare. It comes as no surprise that 98 percent of survey respondents believe telehealth services create a competitive advantage, and I anticipate tremendous growth in the market as we continue to move toward more patient-centered solutions.”

 

The survey, which is based on responses from 171 participants serving at leading positions, also found that use of telehealth expands the reach and coverage of an organization as cited by around 84 percent respondents. The topmost barriers to telemedicine are believed to be licensure and reimbursements.

Over the next three years, there would be a rise in consumer demand that would push the growth of telemedicine as believed by approximately 50 percent of the respondents.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Medical Clinic

5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Medical Clinic | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

As a Doctor, you are paid to have answers.

Answers to uncertainty, answers to pain, answers to how the future will turn out.

However one area where uncertainty looms large for Doctors is how they can get started seeing patients via remote telemedicine services.

The next 5 years are expected to see explosive growth of telemedicine both in use and public awareness. Yet, questions of effectiveness, compliance, and logistics plague each doctors decision to start using a telemedicine service.

Like a wise investor, many physicians have been watching from the sidelines, tracking the ups and downs, do’s-and-don’t’s of colleagues and experts for several years to find the best practice for incorporating telemedicine into their clinics.

If you are on the verge of incorporating telemedicine into your practice, here are 5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Clinic that will help ensure a steadier introduction, and long term success.

1) Know WHY you want to use Telemedicine

Before getting started, spend some time contemplating the change. If you have a desire to increase cash payments in your practice, telemedicine can help. It can also help you with schedule flexibility. And it will also help you keep up with the latest technology and services for your patients.

Decide first about what you’d like to achieve from adding a telemedicine service into your practice. This will ensure that it becomes a part of the practice smoothly, and with a purpose, rather than something you try a few times, and then give up on. Well begun is half done.

2) Set up your Team for Success with Telemedicine

One of the dangers of suddenly offering a telemedicine option in your practice is that the team feel threatened by the change.

Hold a meeting and give them a say in how the process will work, ask for their feedback on what could be a good initial system and best practice. Get clear on the process of billing and setting appointments in the schedule before starting to offer appointments.

Doing this preparation will ensure the team back you up, as you move to the virtual consultation model.

3) Set up your patients for success with Telemedicine

For doctors, a virtual visit has a lot in common with a face-to-face visit. The location and time frame is the same, and the process of diagnosis is similar. It is familiar territory.

However, for patients, it is an entirely new experience. The majority of the population is reasonably comfortable with using video chat functionality. It is your role to give them a sense of comfort and understanding that the process is simple and effective.

Providing some form of how-to guide for your patients can be very valuable. Give patients an overview of what to expect on the call. Let them know what the fee will be, how long the call will be, when you will call, etc.

All these small details will make the process much more comfortable for your patients, and make them more willing to try a Telemedicine visit with you.

4) Have clear Guidelines for what you’ll offer via Telemedicine

Telemedicine offers doctors huge flexibility. But there must be guidelines. Let patients know what you will offer, and what you wont. Patients may have specific conditions that still need face-to-face time, and it is at your discretion which of these diagnoses you can do via virtual visits.

Telemedicine can reduce or replace 70% of routine visits can be replaced. However that doesn’t mean you should outsource your entire day to virtual visits.

5) Start slow and grow with Telemedicine

Remember that you have been practicing successfully without telemedicine for many years, and although there is a huge upside to adding it to your practice, there is no need to dive in the deep end.

You might want to offer the service initially only to your most familiar patients, those managing chronic conditions, or those at a remote location. Treat your initial interactions as a learning opportunity, and learn how you can create effective results.

Remember that technology exists to connect people. The lure of the new can sometimes cloud the focus that you are still simply speaking to your patients, just in a new, more efficient way.

For Doctors, Telemedicine is exciting and scary at the same time. Starting slow, with a clear purpose, a prepared team and informed patients can do a lot to make the transition a successful one.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

3 Ways Technology Can Help Treat Patients as Consumers

3 Ways Technology Can Help Treat Patients as Consumers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Smarter. Faster. More connected. On demand. These are the global trends that are redefining and revolutionizing every industry – and healthcare is just getting started. Today, consumers can choose to comparison shop, read reviews, crowd source recommendations for just about everything, instantly. And as consumers increasingly bear the burden of their healthcare costs, patients are starting to approach their healthcare decisions in the same way. Hence, it is critical for healthcare systems to proactively manage both the patient experience and their expectations, to increase patient loyalty, sustain the provider’s brand reputation and prevent new entrants into healthcare from siphoning patients away.

 

 

Technology can play a key role in meeting the needs of both patients/consumers and healthcare system organizations. Here are a few vital areas.

 

 

1. Transparency

 

Consumer expectations are on the rise and patients are paying more attention to their healthcare costs. As of January 2015, 19.7 million Americans had high-deductible health plans making them responsible for the first $2,000 to $5,000 of their healthcare spending. Even for those not participating in high-deductible plans, out-of-pocket costs rose substantially. From 2009 to 2015, on average, deductibles rose from $680 to $1,200. It is important to note that the business of healthcare is not exactly like other markets. While financial responsibility may encourage individuals to be more discerning about services that are optional or variably priced, it may also provide an impediment to care when needed. Regardless, it is a reality, and one of the current strategies to provide some level of health insurance coverage to everyone.

 

 

Moreover, transparent marketplaces in other industries— from Airbnb to Uber—are changing consumer expectations, at a time when health systems are under increasing competition for patient loyalty. CMS, along with consumer and employer demands are elevating the need for pricing that is clear, complete and accessible. Some health systems are responding by playing offense; many are investing to meet expectations.

 

 

One common patient pain point is the bill paying experience. According to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, in the last two years, nearly one third of Americans with private health insurance were surprised when their insurer paid less than expected, leaving a larger-than-expected bill for the patient. As described by one family, “We just wish that a doctor's office would give us a reliable statement at the time of service; we would rather be told to bring $1,000 or know up front that we can't afford this procedure. End of story.”

 

 

2. Real-time insights

 

In nearly every industry, there is a common challenge: “big data” is not enough to sort through the swirl of uncertainty and complexity in today’s modern society. To quote the Harvard sociologist, E. O. Wilson: “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” In healthcare, the deployment of technology and willingness of patients to engage in their care has led to a proliferation of data. The challenge; however, is in the synthesis – how do you glean actionable insights? In addition, are there ways to harness data previously unavailable from “non-clinical” sources?

 

 

In response, many health systems are revamping their online presence, as consumer-facing physician search and rating websites proliferate. Technology can also drive powerful results to improve patient experience and satisfaction. With real-time insights, providers can know how patients feel about their experience before they leave the hospital or doctor’s office. Patients can also offer perspective into health systems’ strengths and opportunity areas that can help provider organizations build patient loyalty and acquisition strategies.

 

 

One example where technology is offering new insights to improve patient experience is Binary Fountain. Binary Fountain offers a “social listening” tool that continuously monitors reviews, feedback, and mentions from the web and social media and integrates these insights with CAHPS data, point of care surveys, and other sources of patient feedback.  The solution offers a single platform where health systems can distill actionable insights to inform their operational decisions and patient experience strategies. The solution both enables health systems to address patients' needs and to take control of managing their brand.

 

 

3. Virtual access

 

Healthcare consumers increasingly seek out convenient and immediate access to care for common conditions. A 2014 survey of 3,873 patients conducted by the Advisory Board showed the number one priority for patients, when selecting a primary care clinic, was convenience. Over 70% rated I can walk in without an appointment and I’m guaranteed to be seen within 30 minutes as the attribute they sought most when seeking care. In 2013, Cisco performed an international study of attitudes regarding virtual care and found that 76% of individuals would prefer virtual care over a visit to an in-person provider, and showed while 19% of respondents preferred to visit a provider in-person, 23% preferred a consultation or visit by phone.

 

 

Seeking convenient access to care, patients have turned to non-traditional healthcare providers such as retail clinics and direct-to-consumer telehealth providers. As a result, health systems are losing both loyal patients and downstream referrals. However, offering convenient access requires a significant change in provider organization scheduling, workflow, clinic hours and staffing without disrupting clinic workflows or leading to physician burnout.

 

 

One company addressing this challenge head on is Bright.md. Bright.md's "SmartExam" is a virtual physician assistant that helps primary care groups automate up to 90% of provider time spent on low-acuity conditions. Using online exams that are easily accessible by both providers and patients, patients are able to interact with their own health system and trusted providers more efficiently.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Can technology drive meaningful cultural change in healthcare?

Can technology drive meaningful cultural change in healthcare? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In 2005, VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses(AACN) published a groundbreaking report called Silence Kills. They found that “among 1,700 nurses, physicians, clinical-care staff, and administrators, more than half witnessed their coworkers break rules, make mistakes, fail to support others, demonstrate incompetence, show poor teamwork, act disrespectfully, or micromanage.


Specifically, 84 percent of doctors observed colleagues who took dangerous shortcuts when caring for patients and 88 percent worked with people who showed poor clinical judgment.”


These stats are startling in and of themselves, but the most worrisome item in the report was that, “despite the risks to patients, less than 10 percent of physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff directly confronted their colleagues about their concerns.”


With nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. dying each year due to preventable medical errors, this communication chasm is a major concern – one that should be addressed immediately.


In the years following this study, there has been a strong movement by a number of companies to develop improved communication and patient safety tools. However, the 2010 follow-up study The Silent Treatment concluded, “that while safety tools are one part of the solution to improving patient care, they do not compensate for crucial conversation failures in the hospital. Silence still kills.”

The lack of communication between clinical teams can have deadly consequences. (Image Source: John Crawford via Wikimedia Commons)

Essentially, many clinicians still live in a culture of fear with respect to their ability to challenge a colleague or superior regarding patient safety issues.  The most innovative communication technologies are limited in their effectiveness if the underlying culture still punishes or ignores those who use them.  However, what if the technology itself could be used to drive the desired cultural change?  Consider the following two cases:


Case A:  A nurse notices a surgeon using a potentially non-sterile device on a patient.  If the nurse speaks up and challenges the surgeon, he or she risks insulting and potentially damaging the reputation of the doctor.  Fearing retaliation, or simply being ignored, the nurse may also stay quiet, putting the patient at risk. Neither is an acceptable option.


Case B:  Consider the same situation as above, but now the hospital is equipped with an automated system that tracks and records the movements and actions of the clinicians and equipment. The system could be invisible to the clinicians in the room. If an error occurs, whether or not the other clinicians in the room observe it, such a system could record it.


Then the clinician at fault could be singled out for the failure or the team could be disciplined for not recognizing the potential problem. In this situation, there is less fear of retaliation for the nurse who speaks up about a potential medical error, because his or her silence would allow the autonomous system to record the error and the surgeon to potentially be found at fault. Proactive intervention would prevent the error, protecting both the patient’s safety and the reputation of both the doctor and the clinical team.


In Case A, the nurse may be labeled a snitch or troublemaker, but in Case B, the exact same actions by the nurse could be viewed as positive and supportive. The difference is that such automated “black box” technologies may allow a cultural shift from individual-centric to team-centric communications.


The focus is no longer on the success or failure of the individual, but on the success or failure of the team in an effort to prevent errors. A well-known example of this would be in the aviation industry, where the “black box” concept has improved team-based communications as well as changing the underlying culture to improve both quality and safety.

Silence kills, but technology and communication, integrated intelligently, save lives.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Ransomware Attacks' New Focus: Businesses

Ransomware Attacks' New Focus: Businesses | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Ransomware attacks are getting more agile, varied and widespread, and are increasingly taking aim at businesses of all sizes in all sectors, rather than consumers.

These attacks involve two-part schemes. First, a device is infected with malware that locks the user out or encrypts files so that the user can longer access them. Then a ransom is demanded through an automated message that appears on the device's screen. The user is told he has a limited amount of time to pay the ransom before the device will be wiped clean or the files will be erased.

In recent weeks, three reports from security firms and researchers have noted new ransomware scheme trends that are making these attacks more difficult to thwart and detect.

As a result, experts say businesses need to focus more attention on employee education about how to avoid falling victim to these attacks and other socially engineered schemes.

New Attacks

On March 2, security firm FireEye warned that hundreds of websites may have been exposed to "malvertisements" - ads containing ransomware - via criminals' abuse of ad networks that use real-time bidding.

"Real-time bidding is an ad sale and delivery system that allows for instant, autonomous ad auctions at the time the ads are served," FireEye says. "A number of buyers set up bids ahead of time for a certain amount of ad impressions (i.e., page loads) on pre-selected sites and certain target demographic characteristics. When a user requests an ad, the ad exchange awards the highest bidder who has an active bid on advertising matching the incoming user's demographic profile. As a result, the auction winner's ad is displayed."

In another recently released report, anti-virus provider Bitdefender noted that cybercriminals were using help files as a way of infecting devices with a variant of the ransomware known as CryptoWall. Attackers sent malicious emails with the subject "Incoming Fax Report" that contained help files with a compiled HTML extensions, Bitdefender noted. When users opened the files, they were presented with a help window that automatically downloaded CryptoWall in the background.

In a third report, released March 6, a French malware researcher known as Kafeine said he discovered what at first appeared to be a new version of the ransomware known as TorrentLocker, but was later determined to be new malware. This is concerning, researchers say, because it proves how quickly hackers are adapting by developing entirely new malware strains that evade current detection mechanisms.

The Evolution of Ransomware

"Ransomware is flourishing as the criminal community appreciates its viability and the ease by which ransomware can be shared," says Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at security firm Trend Micro. "The most troubling evolution is the migration to mobile ransomware.

In May 2014, security researchers warned of a new type of ransomware attack taking aim at employees and customers of banking institutions in Europe. The attack was being spread to mobile devices through the banking Trojan known as Svpeng (see New Ransomware Targets Mobile).

Today, attacks waged against Windows and Android operating systems have continued to spread.

"There is a lot of momentum behind ransomware and we do expect it to be a continuing issue throughout the rest of this year and beyond," says John Miller, manager of the Cyber Crime Threat Scape at cyber-intelligence firm iSIGHT Partners. "Law enforcement in different countries can help educate residents about the threats," which are designed for targeted global markets based on language and payments habits, he explains.

But it's up to individual companies to educate their own employees about how to identify a ransomware attack before becoming victimized, Miller adds.

Why Ransomware Is So Dangerous

Rather than targeting home-users' files, as was common in 2012 and 2013, attacks emerging in late 2014 started targeting business assets by encrypting enterprise database files and shared storage systems, says Jeff Horne, vice president of the security firm Accuvant.

"This is extremely dangerous to an enterprise network, as it could potentially destroy a business if offline backups haven't been stored," Horne says. "The real issue is the encryption that is being utilized, more often than not, cannot be broken with today's computers. Therefore, when these files are locked, if the ransom isn't paid, the files are gone until computers can break the encryption."

Another danger, he says, is that hackers sometimes collect the ransom but never unencrypt the data, making it virtually useless to the business.

Randy Abrams, research director for cyberthreat intelligence firm NSS Labs, malware strains used in ransomware attacks are getting stealthier. And like Horne, he says the encryption hackers are using to lock files is getting harder to break.

"Older ransomware used cryptographic techniques that could be cracked," Abrams says. "This currently is no longer the case."

Ransomware can be devastating to victims who have no back-ups or who don't back up to local or network-connected drives, he says. "Online backup services, such as Carbonite, are very useful. But users must be certain that file types are also backed up."

A Growing Threat

The use of ransomware is spreading because the attacks make good business sense for cybercriminals because they can reap big payouts, iSIGHT's Miller says. "Windows ransomware is all over the place," he says. "It's very effective and very popular."

Cryptolocker was the first type of ransomware that got attention, Miller points out, "and criminals' observations of the damage that Cryptolocker was doing made them realize how profitable ransomware could be."

Today's attackers, who range from organized cybercrime rings to nation-states, are selling ransomware using sophisticated business models, says Peter Tran, general manager and senior director of security firm RSA's global advanced cyber-defense practice.

"The hacker distribution techniques and ecosystem are run like a business," Tran says. "The development, buying, selling, trading and distribution creates micro-economies that scale very quickly for both cybercriminals and nation-state attackers. This is a global network much like the open-source software developer communities, where software can be developed very quickly and with greater capacity than closed, proprietary development."

Also, most of the malware strains used in these attacks are evading detection by anti-virus programs, he adds.

"In the past 12 months, over 300 million malware samples have been reported in circulation, many of which are modifications of existing variants, but many are unique," Tran says. "The sheer scale is overwhelming."


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

New Federal Health IT Strategic Plan -

New Federal Health IT Strategic Plan - | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Following collaboration with more than 35 federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government and in collaboration with private industry.

The Strategic Plan, which is open for comments, serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap that will be released in early 2015. The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap will help to define the implementation of how the federal government and private sector will approach sharing health information.

The U.S. Government has led this charge as a major payer, purchaser and provider of care and associated health IT and through programs associated with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. HITECH accelerated the adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology among hospitals and providers, with 93 percent of eligible hospitals and 76 percent of physicians and eligible professionals taking part in the first stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In addition, more than 150,000 health care providers across the nation are working with the HITECH-funded regional extension centers to optimize the use of health IT.

“The 2015 Strategic Plan provides the federal government a strategy to move beyond health care to improve health, use health IT beyond EHRs, and use policy and incentive levers beyond the incentive programs,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. “The success of this plan is also dependent upon insights from public and private stakeholders and we encourage their comments.”

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Health and Human Services, and our other federal partners, on developing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. This plan aligns with our health IT priorities. As a large provider and purchaser of care, we continually look for ways to expand the sharing of critical healthcare information with our healthcare partners,” said Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P., principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Department of Defense.

“The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan collectively represents specific goals and strategies for how interoperability will be leveraged to foster the technological advancement of health information exchange to improve quality of care for Veterans while supporting patient-provider interaction,” said Gail Graham, deputy secretary for health informatics and analytics at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Health Information.

Beyond creating financial and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of health IT, the federal government is helping to create a competitive and innovative marketplace. This effort will help bring new tools to health IT consumers and provide tools to help strengthen health care delivery that aligns with other national strategies to improve health including safety, quality, prevention, and reducing disparities.

The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 can be found on HealthIT.gov. The period to comment on the Strategic Plan ends Feb. 6, 2015.

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.



more...
No comment yet.