IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Homecare Technologies Extend the Reach of Healthcare

Homecare Technologies Extend the Reach of Healthcare | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Fitness bands may well have been among the first widespread consumer-driven instance of personal health monitoring, but advances in technology have since changed healthcare forever. Clinics, hospitals and healthcare providers throughout Australia are adopting clinical and practice management solutions that reflect advances in technology and related legislation and standards that ensure data privacy and security.

 

The progression from paper-based record keeping to today’s digital medical records and e-health initiatives lead to improved efficiency, proactive healthcare solutions and of course, increased the ability to save lives by using data analysis to predict at-risk groups.

 

As investors and tech entrepreneurs continue to make their presence felt in healthcare, future healthcare applications are only limited by the imagination. Healthcare providers are now embracing technology to provide added healthcare solutions to those most at risk, namely the elderly and those with disabilities or acute conditions such as diabetes.

 

Homecare Technology Overview

The elderly, those with disabilities or acute conditions can avail of a wide variety of health monitoring solutions (generally in the form of wearable devices) that collect data by monitoring vital signs and send it over the Internet to their healthcare provider. This data allows a diagnosis to be made, whether that involves a request for additional tests, a change in medication or a precautionary hospital stay for extensive monitoring.

 

The range of wearable devices is already quite extensive, with the healthcare provider selecting one that is suitable for the condition involved.

 

Who among us is willing to give up our independence? The same is certainly true of the elderly but by using wearable devices, many can stay in their own home, with a home carer where necessary. Medical alerts are possible with these devices and obviously, can also save lives when vital signs reach dangerous levels, immediately alerting healthcare providers.

 

Collaborating to Improve Quality of Life

In the elderly and those with disabilities, improving quality of life is a key aim and again, the use of the Internet and connected devices can certainly help. Video conferencing allows direct consults with medical professionals. Those living alone can contact their family and friends in real-time and ward off any feelings of isolation.

By using these collaborative methods, patients can reduce risks of mental illness and depression. By actively monitoring the health of those at risk, governments can reduce the costs of hospital admissions by using the data received to implement an enhanced triage process.

 

Home carers also benefit as they no longer worry about their patients between visits. They can check on them at any time using cloud solutions linked to onsite cameras in the patient’s home, for example. They are also confident that if vital signs change, they will receive an alert that prompts action.

 

Technology Benefits

It is certainly true that the modern healthcare provider has benefitted from technology. Routine admin tasks are automated, staff training is easier thanks to computer-based materials and with electronic medical records, wait times are reduced as a patient’s medical history is readily available. With ubiquitous high-speed broadband and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, medical professionals can work from anywhere. They can consult with a specialist in other locations, share medical data to aid diagnosis and even use remote video to teach surgical techniques.

 

In conclusion, when home carers, patients and healthcare providers are all connected, it makes sense to assume that a better quality of healthcare will result. With the combination of technology, internet and a growing list of online services available, we, as a society, are better positioned to ensure that our sick and elderly live longer and enjoy a better quality of life to boot.

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

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

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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

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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

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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.

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Healthcare IT -- An Investment Choice For The Future

Healthcare IT -- An Investment Choice For The Future | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The very first time I saw real innovation in healthcare IT was in 2003 in Chicago, when Linda Hall presented QuickMedix (later named MinuteClinic). What really impressed me was the simplicity of the premise, based on the easy “in and out” of 1 Hour Photo. If people could drop off their film and pick up the photos at a mall kiosk within an 1 hour, why couldn’t we do the same for diagnosing and treating common maladies such as strep throat, ear infections, viruses, high fevers and the flu? The technology wasn’t so simple, but it’s what made possible a walk-in kiosk staffed by a nurse practitioner who could see a patient, take a swab, send it via e- processing and get a read-out for a prescription within 15 to 20 minutes. That prescription could then be filled at the in store pharmacy, with the patient on their way in less in 30 or 45 minutes. I just knew this would be a success.

Linda explained what a convenience the service would be, particularly for women who often sacrifice an entire day at work getting to a doctor’s appointment with a sick child, driving to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled and finally returning home to tend to her child. This convenience kiosk, introduced at Target and CVS, could be a real breakthrough in healthcare IT and people’s lives. The company became a national success when it was recognized as a forerunner to urgent care in the US. Linda and her team successfully raised $30 million to market this service which was acquired by CVSin 2006 for $214 million.


Now, years later, one of the most robust investment categories for investors in start-up companies is healthcare technology, or healthcare IT. Much of this has been prompted by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. In that year, there were only 17 seed and Series A healthcare software and application companies that were funded. Even with this astonishingly low number, we began to see more development of healthcare IT atSpringboard Enterprises, where a raft of companies applied to the Springboardaccelerator program and three were accepted.


The numbers began to build from there; several dozen companies were screened by our expert life science advisors and 22 have since been accepted into the program. This isn’t to say that Springboard, the accelerator accepting companies founded or co-founded by women, vetted a majority of the pack out there. We are just one of many, but it was an indication that the demand for technology improvements in the market was there and the investors were buying in.


Just a few examples could illustrate the range and targets of these companies. Ubiqi Health, founded by Jacqueline Thong, developed a mobile program for tracking migraine headaches. It not only tracks migraines, but provides the user with tools to help determine what causes their onset and potential options for reducing their effect. One user named Shantel wrote on their site that, “I noticed from my Ubiqi tracker that certain foods triggered my migraines, then I changed my diet”.


The potential impact of managing migraines can be huge. For example, one study on kids with migraines revealed that kids with migraines are out of school 32 days to 3 months a year compared to an average of 3 to 13 days for other kids. Being able to manage the migraine and reduce days absent would have a profound impact on kids, teachers, administrators and healthcare providers. Ubiqi has moved into tracking other chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes.


ZappRX, presented in 2012 by one of our youngest entrepreneurs, Zoe Bary, is developing a mobile wallet for subscription orders. What fascinated me about Zoe’s presentation is that she taught herself to write the patent for ZappRX technology and her investment documents by researching both online. Her start-up costs were next to zilch, primarily because she took on the tasks herself. In addition she was extraordinarily confident.


And it’s a good thing that she is because what she is trying to do is take the pain out of getting prescriptions filled. So many people find glitches in the prescription fulfillment process, from connecting the doctor with the pharmacy, to providing the healthcare provider with accurate pharmacy records. ZappRX intends to make this process a pharmacy agnostic one. While that certainly would make sense for consumers, it isn’t an easy process to penetrate. The biggest pharmacy chains: Wal-MartTarget,Walgreens and CVS are more interested in keeping their customers in-house.

According to a report from CrunchBase, the number of funded companies tackling problems in healthcare rose from 17 in 2010 to 89 in 2013. That doesn’t really speak to the amount of capital invested across all 195 companies in the same period. According to a report from investment firm Rock Health, a total of $1.9 billion was invested in healthcare related-firms that raised at least $2 million in capital during this time.


Funding isn’t the only engine driving healthcare IT. The $10 million X Prize competition funded by Qualcomm and supervised by Dr. Daniel Kraft , a serial entrepreneur and faculty member at Singularity and Stanford University, is another route.  The challenge is to put “Healthcare in the Palm of Your Hand” by  enabling your vital medical signs to be transmitted on a mobile device connected to your doctor for up to the minute tracking. Imagine how that will bear fruit for early detection and treatment. This truly could be life saving


One Springboard company that raised funds is Tiatros, which presented at our class of 2012. Kimberlie Cerrone, founder and CEO, was trying to solve a problem of her own; it turned out that her son had been shipped overseas to the battle zone in Iraq. Kimberlie wanted to have all of his vital mental health and treatment information in one place in case it was needed for emergency life support in battle. She couldn’t find a simple solution to bringing all his vital information together in a combined and secure file where doctors would be able to view all other medical history at the same.


Kimberlie, who has multiple degrees in biochemistry, an MBA and a law degree, started out to find a solution. She began with her colleagues at the San Francisco Medical Center for Research. If she could figure out how to bring together patient research from various potentially unrelated fields, Tiatros could be a life saver for the troops facing traumatic brain injury in war zones.


Already proven successful in beta tests in San Francisco, she may have cracked on of the most vexing problems dogging the healthcare industry: coordination among different physicians treating the same patient, with all the medical partners accessing the same data that’s housed in a secure cloud accessible via any internet connected device. Providing that info in one place could vastly improve coordination among physicians treating a patient and reduce healthcare costs.

Without a doubt, the rise of healthcare IT start-up companies is starting to grow from a stream to a fast flowing river. The San Francisco Bay area leads the charge followed by New York, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Investors are combing the stream of start-up companies for entrepreneurs and companies that can scale.


companies have been tackling the vexing problems of making healthcare more efficient and effective since the turn of this century but early attempts during internet 1.0 just couldn’t penetrate the complex system. Now nearly a decade and a half later, we are beginning to see real traction. This is good news for the industry and consumers alike.

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Why It's Tough to Pass Data Breach Bill

Why It's Tough to Pass Data Breach Bill | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Backers of a national data breach notification law say it would greatly simplify compliance for businesses, which now must comply with laws in 51 different jurisdictions - 47 states, three territories and Washington, D.C.


But does that simplification come at too high a cost? Some federal lawmakers thinks so. They say passing a national data breach notification law would weaken data security protections found in certain states' statutes, thus doing more harm than good.

And those concerns are a major reason why building a consensus that paves the way for enacting a national breach notification law will prove difficult, if not impossible.

'Confusing for Businesses'

Last January, President Obama noted when he proposed his version of national data breach notification: "Right now, nearly every state has a different law on this, and it's confusing for consumers and it's confusing for companies, and it's costly, too, to have to comply to this patchwork.


Almost every bill introduced in Congress over the past decade to create a national data breach notification standard would pre-empt state statutes. But that comes at a price. Several states, most notably Massachusetts, prescribe specific steps businesses must take to safeguard personally identifiable information. Most national data breach notification proposals don't require safeguards beyond saying businesses should take "reasonable" steps to secure PII.


Some industry experts - such as Larry Clinton, president of the trade group Internet Security Alliance - say they have seen no evidence that consumers' PII is more secure in those states that have more stringent security requirements. "To the notion that states can enact strong laws is, from a consumer perspective, a red herring," he says.

Middle Ground?

But some senators strongly disagree with Clinton's point of view.

"There are a number of like-minded senators who are paying attention to this issue and trying to push for a federal law ... that keeps state laws untouched as a middle-ground approach," says Chris Pierson, general counsel and chief security officer at payments provider Viewpost. "While this is more palatable for Congress, it does little to stem the growing diversity of state laws and the burden of conflicting state requirements."


One of those senators seeking a middle-ground approach is Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who, along with five other Democratic senators, has introduced legislation creating a national data breach notification law with a proviso: It won't pre-empt more stringent state laws.


"We must ensure consumers have strong protections on the federal level, but in so doing, we must make sure Congress doesn't weaken state protections that consumers rely on to keep their information safe," Blumenthal says. "Importantly, this measure strikes the right balance between state rights and strong federal enforcement and extends consumer privacy protections into a new digital era."

A right balance? Sasha Romanosky, an associate policy researcher at the think tank Rand Corp., characterizes the Democratic senators' bill as a "workaround" that sets a "national floor for breach compliance." But Romanosky is concerned that "then you'd just have the same issue as there is now: 47 potentially distinct state laws."


The Democrats' bill - like the Massachusetts statute - contains a list of security requirements with which businesses would have to comply. That makes the bill unpassable. Nearly every GOP lawmaker opposes any measure that that would place additional requirements on businesses.

60-Vote Threshold

Consumer advocacy groups generally oppose national data breach notification legislation that would weaken states' security standards. And those groups might have the clout to get enough Democratic senators to oppose any measure that would pre-empt state laws.

Sixty votes generally are needed for a bill to be considered by the Senate; the upper chamber has 44 Democrats and two independents who caucus with them. So getting 41 senators to block a vote on a data breach notification bill is possible.


Whether stricter state laws actually provide consumers with better security protections is debatable, but the perception among a number of lawmakers - mostly Democrats - is that they do. If at least 41 senators agree with that notion, then Congress will not enact a national breach notification law.


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8K laptops could be a reality in 2016

8K laptops could be a reality in 2016 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The majority of laptops have been equipped with paltry 1366 x 768 LCDs for the last decade, but we might finally be nearing a higher-resolution era. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) recently approved a new display standard called Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) 1.4a. When implemented, this will enable 8K resolution screens for laptops, phones, tablets, and all-in-one desktop systems. Even the super-fancy 5K iMac can’t compete with that.

We’re only now getting to the point of having devices of any sort with 4K screens, which means a pixel array of 3840 × 2160. Stepping up to 8K works out to 7680 × 4320 pixels. On a typical 13.3-inch laptop screen that would give you 662 pixels per inch. That’s probably past the point that any human could pick out individual pixels at normal viewing distance. Tablets and phones at that resolution sound nonsensical, but it could happen.

The new eDP 1.4a standard is closely related to the 1.3 variant that was released in mid-2014. The new v1.4a specifies four high-speed (HBR3) lanes between the graphics adapter and display. Each of these lanes is capable of streaming 8.1Gbps and can be used individually, in pairs, or all together. That gives you a theoretical bandwidth of 32.4Gbps. Certainly a lot of data, but it’s only sufficient for 60Hz at 8K resolution. If you want native 120Hz, that limits you to 4K.

Other features of eDP 1.4a include Display Stream Compression (DSC) for improved compression of video signals, Multi-SST Operation (MSO) allowing each HBR3 lane to drive a quarter of a display, and Adaptive Sync. Support for Adaptive Sync is optional on the hardware level, but gamers will probably demand it. Adaptive Sync can account for the display and computer falling out of sync, which causes stuttering and tearing. That might be a thing of the past on high-end eDP 1.4a hardware.

The first devices using the new standard are expected in 2016, although the first round will probably be running 4K panels. While the hardware will have the power to drive an 8K screen, OEMs still need to figure out how to manufacture panels with that many pixels that aren’t giant TVs. That could take a few years.

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Online Healthcare Can Reduce Your Printing Costs

Online Healthcare Can Reduce Your Printing Costs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Arguably one of the biggest expenses in a healthcare business is contributed to the toner and paper costs.

Although a lot of clinics are now moving to a “paperless” practice, printing is still a requirement for prescriptions, reports and referrals.

 

On average, a medical centre prints 900 pages per month per provider and close to 1600 pages per month per reception desk.

The average printing costs per page are around the $0.04 per page which is roughly $432 per year per provider. This does not consider the costs of the drums, repairs, paper and ongoing troubleshooting.

 

Working with our printing partners we have come up with a few effective steps which will reduce your printing costs and increase the lifecycle of your printers.

 

Standardise The Printers

The most effective way to reduce your printing costs is to ensure that all the printers in the clinic are of the same brand and model. This means that you can acquire the toner at a cheaper rate (buy in bulk) and service and support the printers at a lower cost.

 

Use Original Toner

Although it is tempting to acquire the cheaper toner from the web, it is important to know that the original toner can guarantee more prints which equates to a lower cost per page and more importantly, using the original toner will not affect your printer.

Aftermarket toners are made with low-quality products which will damage the drums, sensors and other parts of your printer. Ultimately by saving a few dollars per month on toner, you are reducing the lifecycle of your printers.

 

Acquire High-Quality Printers

You get what you pay for right? Make the initial investment a good one and you will give yourself a high 5 for years to come.

What you need to look for is a printer with a long product life for the toner, drums and other parts. Most personal printers cost less than the toner and that is because they are manufactured to be replaced within a short amount of time.

In terms of high-quality printers, they will last for years and if you were to look at your investment across a 3-year span then you will see that high-quality printers and toner will cost less over that period.

 

Consider A Print Management Solution

This is new on the market and it is where you don’t pay for the printer or setup but rather pay a monthly fee against the usage.

For example, you want a top-tier printer which comes at a cost of $600 and you calculate that you will need $600 worth of toner in the first year.

Over a 3 year period, you will spend $2400 on the printer and toner. This excludes any repairs or maintenance.

A print management solution will give you the printer and all the toner you need and base it on a cost per page. Usually 1 or 2 cents per page. The solution also covers any repairs and replacement to the printer.

This means that at the end of 3 years you would’ve paid less and ensured that you didn’t need to replace the hardware.

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Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk

Medical Identity Theft: How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Hospitals are generally considered to be a place to seek refuge — a safe haven for both employees and patients alike. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Incidents of medical identity theft are becoming more and more common. Issues involving improper use and disposal of data, hacking, and theft result in not only adverse financial consequences but can also even have negative impacts on healthcare and personal well-being. Identity theft is something that every hospital needs to be aware of and prepared for — these steps can be helpful in preventing medical identity theft and ultimately reducing your hospital’s risk.

Reduce risk associated with personal patient information

The use and storage of patient’s social security numbers is the main source of vulnerability when it comes to identity theft. Data breaches and entry errors can mean that a patient’s information can fall into the wrong hands — compromising the safety of both the individual and the hospital itself. While much of the fraudulent use of patient information comes from stolen or leaked data, verbal or physical forms of sensitive patient information can also end up in the wrong hands. Hospital employees should take care to never discuss patient information in public areas, or with friends and families. In addition, physical forms including patient charts and records (even if they only contain the name of the patient) should be safely used and stored.

Ensure that secure methods are used in storage of patient health information

Every health organization should take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety and security of patient information. An investment in appropriate health IT may be costly up front, but it could end up providing endless savings — both financial, and otherwise — in the long run. Additionally, the use of a unique health safety identifier (UHSI) is a great measure to strengthen information and data security, with positive results extending all the way to the patient.

Avoid storing personal information of patients unless absolutely necessary

While many healthcare providers perceive that patient information — including social security numbers — must be stored for billing and insurance purposes, this simply isn’t the case. The storage of sensitive information (like social security numbers) isn’t always needed, and unnecessarily doing so may pose a risk for the patient and the hospital.

Dispose of patient information responsibly

Just as sensitive information should not be stored unless absolutely necessary, it is also imperative that patient information be disposed of in a responsible manner. Outdated or unused medical information, forms, and billing data should be shred or erased completely when no longer needed.

Assemble and utilize an advisory committee

In any healthcare setting, it is beneficial to have a diverse team of leaders that comes together to regularly review and assess security issues and vulnerabilities. By raising awareness and discussing perceived risks, hospital leaders can be well-informed when it comes to making decisions and implementing efforts to reduce risks and protect sensitive information.

Respond appropriately to issues and concerns

Not only can an advisory committee help prevent against identity theft, but the designated team of experts can be essential in addressing issues promptly and adequately. Utilization of an inventory system that tracks all processes and systems that contributed to the security breach can allow for the hospital to pinpoint the weaknesses and make necessary improvements. Once an issue is discovered, the advisory committee will be better prepared to — while looking at the data inventory — prioritize areas of concern and make adjustments that are needed.

Educate the patients themselves

As many hospitals strive to do the best they possibly can when it comes to securing patient information, actually sharing statistics and suggestions with the patients themselves can further improve the security of that information. Patients should be encouraged to keep their cards and information in a safe place and should be told to take caution when sharing sensitive details. Patient participation is crucial when it comes to combating identity theft and security tips and suggestions can be posted as signs throughout the hospital — or given to the patients in a brochure.

Medical identity theft is increasingly becoming a great threat to the safety of patients and health care providers. While there are many ways that patient information can end up in the wrong hands, there are fortunately many ways that both hospitals and patients can prevent this from happening. By working together and considering these tips, hospital staff members can ensure that the information of their patients can remain as secure as possible.

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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.

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SSH support is finally coming to Windows

SSH support is finally coming to Windows | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Furthering Microsoft’s push to support open source, the company hasannounced that it plans to add Secure Shell (SSH) support to Windows in the future.


SSH is a protocol that allows users to access the command line of remote computers.


The team behind Powershell, Microsoft’s shell environment, said that it’s been working to add SSH for a number of years but it didn’t make the cut in both the first or second versions of Powershell.


The SSH library used by Windows will be OpenSSH as it’s ‘industry proven’ and Microsoft plans to give back to the project by contributing to the core library.


There’s no hard date for SSH support landing in Windows, as it’s only in the “early planning phase,” but the news will be music to the ears of network administrators and those that support Windows at scale.

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The first Apple Watch update arrives with faster app performance

The first Apple Watch update arrives with faster app performance | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch arrived on the scene with at least a few rough edges, but the crew at 1 Infinite Loop is trying to smooth at least some of them today. The company has released a 1.0.1 update for the Watch that improves performance across the board, and should be a particular help with third-party apps hosted on your iPhone -- many of which seemingly took forever to load in the original release. The difference isn't dramatic in our experience, but it is there. Your wristwear should also do better jobs with Siri voice recognition and calculating fitness data (such as calories and distance), and the interface supports seven extra languages ranging from Brazilian Portugese to Turkish. This doesn't include any of the big interface-level features hinted at in recent rumors, but it's good to see Apple's first wearable get some much-needed polish.


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Ransomware: The Right Response

Ransomware: The Right Response | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

So-called ransomware attacks are on the rise, namely because targeted businesses are increasingly willing to negotiate with - and even pay - their extortionists.


Ransomware has been getting a lot of media attention of late. On April 1, security firm Trend Micro reported that since the beginning of the year, numerous variants of crypto-ransomware have been discovered in the wild, striking consumers and businesses throughout the world.

 Criminals rarely hold up their end of the bargain, so negotiating with anyone who is demanding a ransom is just a bad idea. 


Just weeks earlier, security firms FireEye and Bitdefender issued warnings about new ransomware trends that were making these attacks more difficult to thwart and detect.


Now experts are calling attention to one of the reasons why ransomware attacks are becoming more common - because organizations say they'd rather not deal with the fallout that trails a breach or cyber-attack that goes public. Instead of getting law enforcement involved, they'd rather try their hands at making deals with their attackers first.


But paying ransom is short-sighted and is never a good idea. Why? Because cybercriminals rarely keep their end of the bargain. Organizations that negotiate with hackers often end up with lost data after paying a hefty ransom.


Lance James, who heads up cyber-intelligence at consultancy Deloitte & Touche, says most businesses that pay ransoms never have their data restored or their encrypted files decrypted.


During his presentation at Information Security Media Group's Fraud Summit in Atlanta, James discussed ransomware cases he has investigated. He noted that in most of those cases, businesses paid the ransom and then the attackers disappeared, never fulfilling their end of the negotiating bargain.


Of course, organizations should prepare for these types of attacks by taking steps now to ensure they have data and drive backups, and that they have strong multifactor authentication requirements for access to servers, in the event an employee's credentials are hijacked during one of these attacks.


But businesses also need to spend more time educating their staff about how ransomware attacks work, why these attacks are waged, and why reporting these attacks to law enforcement, rather than trying to handle them internally, is so critical.

The Attack Strategy

Ransomware attacks are waged in two parts. First, a PC or mobile device is infected with malware that locks the corporate 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 or she has a limited amount of time to pay the ransom before the device will be wiped clean or the files will be erased.


The tools for these attacks are easy to buy and technical support for waging the attacks is inexpensive.


Law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have advised consumers and businesses to immediately report ransomware schemes when they occur.


But security researchers say that, despite of those warnings, many businesses are opting to either pay the ransom or are engaging in direct negotiations with their attackers instead of getting the authorities involved.

Willingness to Negotiate

A new study from cyber-intelligence firm ThreatTrack Security finds that 40 percent of security professionals believe their organizations have been targeted by a ransomware attack. Of those that believe they've been targeted, 55 percent say that when under attack, they are willing to negotiate a ransom in exchange for the release of corporate data or files.


ThreatTrack's research also finds that one in three security pros would recommend to upper management that their companies negotiate a ransom to see if they could avoid public disclosure of a breach involving stolen data or files that have been encrypted as part of the attack.


In fact, 66 percent of those surveyed by ThreatTrack say they fear negative reactions from customers and/or employees whose data was compromised in a breach if those customers or employees were to learn that their organizations chose not to negotiate with cybercriminals for the return of data.


ThreatTrack's survey includes responses from 250 U.S. security professionals at companies with 500 to 2,500 employees.

Beware of a Quick Fix

When it comes to ransomware attacks waged against corporations, many victimized organizations see paying the criminals what they want as the easiest way to make the problem go away.


But criminals rarely hold up their end of the bargain, so negotiating with anyone who is demanding a ransom is just a bad idea.

Obviously, more education, from the CEO down to the employee, is needed. But we also need a shift in the corporate culture, with an emphasis on looking beyond a "quick fix" for avoiding breach publicity.

Information sharing with peers can play a critical role as well. The more we talk about these attacks and share the techniques used, the more we can learn about how to defend our networks and shield our employees from falling victim to the phishing schemes that are often used to infect systems in the first place.


Security vendors need to step up their efforts here, too. Rather than just supplying intrusion detection, they also need to provide some good-old-fashioned education.

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Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo's curator insight, April 8, 2015 1:33 PM

Ransomware: The Right Response #InfoSec #cybersecurity