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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How the Cloud Benefits your Healthcare Workforce

How the Cloud Benefits your Healthcare Workforce | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Most Australians are familiar with the benefits of the cloud and whether you realise it or not, the majority of us are already using cloud services of some description, be it Gmail, Dropbox or Office 365. While healthcare is an industry that is commonly known for resisting change, entrepreneurial products and services, first adopters and government legislation for healthcare information and data privacy are driving a change from paper-based to digital record keeping. This, in turn, is allowing a further transition from reliance on on-premise resources to a more collaborative environment in the cloud.

 

At this point, we are aware of the elevator pitch on cloud adoption, where cost reduction, pay-as-you-go subscription models, scalability, flexibility and automated backups are just some of the benefits involved. While all of these are certainly true, healthcare professionals care about the tangible benefits of their practice or clinic. Will this benefit my business? If so, how? Will my staff require training? What processes are open to improvement? Will it increase the bottom line at year end?

 

There are no one-size fits all solution to these questions as each business will operate differently from the next. Cloud service providers that specialise in healthcare will be very familiar with the problems facing healthcare professionals, whether they are in the process of scanning paper-based records to digital, have completed this process and are wondering how to improve efficiency, or are looking to utilise the cloud to roll out additional patient services. Whatever stage you are at it is worth discussing your options with an experienced professional that can offer advice that suits your business.

 

Assuming you are interested in futureproofing your business using the latest technology, the cloud offers specific advantages that make your business easier to manage. These include but are not limited to:

Data Availability

When medical files and data is hosted securely on the cloud it means that any member of your healthcare workforce can use and access centralised data, which reduces administration costs and increases the speed of clinical service delivery. It is worth mentioning that when data is on the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere by those with the correct user permissions. All that is needed is internet access and a web browser. In other words, even when not on-site, authenticated users can view, add or update existing information as if they were sitting at their office desks.

 

Data availability at all times is key and avoids unnecessary delays when collaborating with fellow colleagues, specialists or patients. Alternatively, you could use fax or perhaps a courier?

Mobility

Data availability is key to successful mobile deployment and both are needed to allow the creation of on-the-move mobile clinics, which are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, given that many patients are located hours from their nearest healthcare provider. The use of mobile clinics allows healthcare professionals to go on tour, much like a rock band but without the noise, and provide first-rate care to their patients as all the information they need is available on the cloud. Add the necessary medical equipment and clinical staff and it is no different from the level of care offered in a brick and mortar practice. It is also cheaper than leasing multiple business premises to cater for a small population in each location. Mobility, in this case, is more than just smartphone or tablet access but the facility to create a mobile version of your clinic headquarters.

Workforce Management

Administration and practice management take up a substantial amount of each working day. Or, at least it used to. Nowadays, many clinics use practice management software for administration tasks and clinical software to handle patient medical records, including x-rays and any other pertinent data. When these are in the cloud, everything can be accessed remotely when necessary, saving time and improving efficiency. A specialist can update records or view appointments during a commute to work or during lunch. No training is required as the practice and clinical software behaves in exactly the same way as in would in the office.

 

When everything is available online, the clinic will find it much easier to outsource talent when needed. From answering calls (think call centre) during busy periods to hiring IT talent or additional administration staff, your business presence on the cloud allows more flexibility than is possible using a single on-premise IT infrastructure. You can select the most qualified applicant from any location if you open to remote working and many Australian companies are. IT professionals, for example, can maintain your on-premise IT structure and also the cloud by performing updates, security checks and backups. They can do all this remotely, saving your company the expense of an on-site and salaried IT support staff. The same is true of administration. If qualified, is it really necessary to travel to your premises when the same work can be performed remotely?

Setup

All of the above sounds great, right? It is only a fraction of the potential benefits available as telehealth, remote consults, video conferencing and more have not been discussed. Suffice to say, any clinic can make the necessary changes and promote themselves as innovative and forward-thinking. Unfortunately, not all make the transition successfully, as they sometimes rely on poor advice or retain IT service providers that lack experience in the cloud or healthcare or even both. Service providers that lack the skills are unlikely to recommend solutions they are unfamiliar with. When your business is at stake in a competitive marketplace, it is not a time to retain ‘the local IT guy’.

 

Therefore, before making any decisions, contact a service provider that focuses on healthcare clients, can support on-premise and cloud solutions with their own team and can offer advice that suits your business alone and not all businesses.

 

Before calling, think about your existing processes, how you would like to improve them and outline any concerns or objectives you may have. These can include compliance, security, cost or worries about integrating existing hardware and software into a cloud environment. An ethical provider will conduct an on-site audit to identify the best approach for your business and outline a range of options for selection.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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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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."


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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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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 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.

 

Can we really afford to ignore these benefits? I would encourage all of us to be innovators in this area rather than cling to outdated processes and technology. What do you think?

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

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

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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.


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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.



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