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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Making your clinic & staff more efficient

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You can use the data to:

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

 

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

 

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

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Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud

Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

IT professionals, healthcare executives, and clinicians in hospitals, health systems and clinics around the world are expressing great interest in moving more of their organizations’ IT applications and services to the public cloud. The concept of having a more flexible, scalable, cost-effective means to provide information communications technologies for their business both today and well into the future is very appealing. However, in order to make such a move, these same organizations must be extremely confident that any cloud service provider they do business with maintains the highest possible standards for data privacy and security.

 

This week, Microsoft announced a major milestone. Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy. That standard is known as ISO/IEC 27018. It was  developed  by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to establish a uniform, international approach to protecting the privacy for personal data stored in the cloud.  That Microsoft meets the new ISO/IEC 20718 standard for Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online has been independently verified by the British Standards Institute (BSI). Similarly, Bureau Veritas has done the same for Microsoft Intune.

 

ISO 27018 assures enterprise customers that privacy will be protected in several distinct ways. Adherence to the standard means that enterprise customers are in control of their data according to the instructions that they provide Microsoft as their customer. It means that they will know what is happening with their data at all times. In addition, the standard provides a number of important security safeguards. It also affirms Microsoft’s longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes. The standard also requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to an enterprise customer unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. Microsoft has already adhered to this approach (and more), and adoption of the new standard reinforces this commitment.

 

For health organizations, Microsoft has also been a model for meeting the information privacy requirements of HIPAA and for signing Business Associates Agreements with health customers who use the company’s public cloud resources. All of this should give healthcare customers who entrust Microsoft with their data the highest levels of confidence.

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Philippe Thuaud's curator insight, July 12, 2016 10:20 PM
A new ISO/IEC 27018 standard for cloud privacy. Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM meets the requirement and has adopted this new standard
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How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ?

How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

However, I am not angry at my doctor, my insurance company, the government, or with "the computer." I'm exasperated with the so-called professionals who installed the computer system in my doctor's office. Unfortunately, the incident I'm about to describe isn't one-off.

 

American healthcare's reliance on information technology is an unprecedented and relatively recent change. To make sure that this change is not only "meaningful" but transformative, means it must be done right. Sometimes, more often than necessary, it isn't. Healthcare IT professionals are frequently at fault, and I'd like to recommend how we can do better.

 

A few weeks ago, I called my physician's office and requested that it send a drug refill to my mail order pharmacy, because I would run out before my next office visit. Soon the office called to say that my doctor had sent the order. Great! I would have my prescription in a couple of weeks. Worry free, I could continue my road warrior job traveling to hospitals to help them make sense of the rapidly changing health IT environment. Or so I thought.

By the day before Thanksgiving, I still had no drugs. I was about to run out.

 

I went to my pharmacy's web site and learned -- ouch! -- that it had never received a prescription. Of course, I could not contact my doctor because of the holiday, not even by the following Monday; the staff had been given an extra day off to enjoy their leftover turkey.

 

"Worry free" time was over. On Tuesday, the office receptionist instantly discovered the issue. "Oh! I see what happened. We just changed computer systems and some people's pharmacies didn't get converted right. Your prescription went to the wrong mail order pharmacy." After various back-and-forths, guess what else she uncovered? The new system had reverted me to a three year old address.

 

Now I was angry and still am. This isn't personal. Of course, I "fixed" the immediate problem, forking over an extra $25 co-pay after a few days of heightened cholesterol. No, my anger is about professionalism, or lack thereof, in my chosen field – healthcare IT.

 

As an IT professional, I KNOW this should never have happened. The fault is not with the physician's office, the mail order pharmacy, nor even with the physician's parent health system -- because converting all their physicians to an EHR platform shared with the hospital was a very good idea. No, my finger is pointing at the implementation project manager for a software vendor that I won't name, and a project manager at a consulting firm that I can't name either. One or more of these people bungled their jobs in at least one of these ways:

 

  • Deciding to convert data from the old system to the new system and not doing it right.
  • Neglecting to review the results of the conversion before loading it into the new system.
  • Not having a valid testing/quality methodology to catch the mix-up, or more likely just not making sure it was properly applied.
  • Deciding to go live before the time was right. The project manager perhaps didn't know this, and so failed at his/her job. Worse, perhaps he knew of the conversion issues and didn't have the backbone to call them out and fix them before a go-live that would potentially put patients' health at risk.

IT vendors and consultants must be trusted partners in hospitals' solutions, not perpetrators of needless mistakes and risk. This is healthcare, not Macy's. When we get IT wrong, people can die!

Over my 20+ year career, I've seen a lot happen in healthcare IT. Most of it has been good, but some of it was scary, like the folly described above. When it's scary, it's usually also needlessly expensive. Those expenses eventually roll back to consumers. Hmmm…aren't ever-increasing costs a central element to consumers' anger with our healthcare system? Aside from their frequent frustration with scenarios such as my Thanksgiving experience?

 

Healthcare IT professionals can do better and should. Those who are passionate about their work care whether prescriptions get filled, diagnoses are correctly recorded, and the right healthcare is delivered. They do not see themselves as technicians, but as accountable care-delivery partners with physicians and clinicians. But many consultants and project managers don't go that additional mile or two of accountability -- one that should never be considered "extra." Let me share some principles I've learned that everyone in healthcare IT can benefit from if they really want to contribute to better US healthcare.

 

1. In healthcare IT, be careful with the Pareto principle. There's not a project I've been on where design decisions about how to get an 80% bang for our 20% buck weren't considered. This happens, especially in workflow design, where the healthcare environment is so complex you just can't get to the 100% level.   But you cannot take the same shortcuts with data. If the healthcare data isn't right, bad things happen:

 

  • Physicians rely on inaccurate (and missing) data to make clinical decisions that can injure or kill. There are many reasons for morbidity and mortality in healthcare. Information technology shouldn't be one of them.
  • Incorrect bills that exasperate patients and payers get submitted, which take time and money to fix. If too many of those bad bills get to CMS, it won't be heaven that breaks loose.
  • Items get missed. For example, charges go AWOL, causing the hospital not to be reimbursed. CFOs want to know why their revenue has dropped…CEOs and Boards want to know a lot more.

2. Eliminate unwarranted data conversion costs. Hospitals often spend ten to 100 times what it would have cost to get it right the first time. I'm working with a hospital now that experienced a flawed patient records conversion from their previous billing system. This blunder has required the hospital to maintain their previous billing platform for six years, just to have a place to look up that data. They've paid hardware and software costs, spent immeasurable IT hours just keeping the old platform running, and wasted easily as many billing hours sorting out master patient index issues. Maintenance of this legacy mess is not sustainable. Doing the right thing now – switching to a new platform and converting exactly no patient data is going to be painful, especially when reregistering patients for the first time. The hospital is wisely making this move, after immense unnecessary spending.

 

3. Watch for what you can't see. It's as important as what you can, but a lot harder to verify. It's much easier to find a duplicate charge -- even the payers will be nice enough to point these out – than a missing charge. Once you find the latter, you have to go looking for others like it, and you're likely to discover far more than you feared. A while back, during a random quality audit, my team discovered one account that appeared to be incorrectly adjusted. While the account was in the right queue to be worked, no one had noticed the problem because the payer's incorrect adjustment put the account at zero balance. Because work queries were set to ignore $0 balance accounts, this issue would not have been found were it not for the random audit.

 

4. Outliers are the most critical data. That account I mentioned previously? Once we looked further, we found almost 7,000 accounts over two years that had the same issue. We could have fixed about 90% of them with a query. It was the 10% outliers that hurt. The billing team had to touch all of the affected accounts to correct the write-offs, and refund several hundred patients who were mistakenly billed a balance after the primary payer's error rolled to the secondary payer. Assumptions that all the cases fit a certain pattern lead to dangerous shortcuts.

 

5. It doesn't matter how good your systems are if your processes are poor. I can't count the times I've been called to fix a system issue that actually was a data issue, and that the precipitating problem was the process set up to maintain the data needed by the system. Some examples:

  • Security issues where employees who were terminated had their accounts removed, but physician accounts were left active, because physicians weren't "employees."
  • Hours spent researching why something isn't working, only to learn that the test and production systems (their lookup data) were different, because no one was maintaining the test system.
  • Issues where a queue of missed charges piled up (unseen, of course) because apharmacy interface required a perfect match between the pharmacy system and the charge master, and no one was working the interface rejects list.

6. Finally, it's just as important to push for no-live as for go-live. No question, this is a difficult scenario. You're putting in a new system. You've worked nights and weekends and equally pushed your team in order to make the go-live date. Now, you have to walk into a formal go/no-go decision meeting, complete with all the hospital's executives champing at the bit. As the project manager, you are responsible for making sure that the no-go option really is an option. Remember my previous points: bad data = big costs, and in healthcare if we don't get it right, people can die. Letting a system go live before it's ready is as close to malpractice as letting a patient go home who isn't ready. I've made the no-go decision twice. I even lost my job one of those times. No one died, and the company is still in business. 

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The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems

The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Many providers use the same system to minimize or eliminate redundant costs.

 

When choosing an electronic health record (EHR) system, providers have the choice of hosting the software on their own network (client-server) or an EHR system where the software is hosted on a remote server accessed through the Internet (cloud-based). While both systems have advantages over paper records, cloud-based EHR systems offer significant benefits to small practices over the client-server model. Let’s examine some of the IT advantages cloud-based EHRs bring to the table.

REDUCED STARTUP COSTS

The cost of setting up a client-server EHR is a significant hurdle to a small practice.  The startup costs can range upward of $40,000 just for a single practice. With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Since many providers use the same system, redundant costs are minimized or eliminated.

LOWER INFRASTRUCTURE AND IT COSTS

Client-server EHRs require the practice to purchase or lease expensive hardware. Practices must hire IT staff or pay for the services of IT personnel to set up, test, maintain and upgrade the hardware and software.

With a cloud-based EHR, all of the costs of running the system are covered by the EHR vendor or hosting company. There are no hardware, network or maintenance costs to the practice over the typical equipment setup required to run a medical care business.

COST PREDICTABILITY

The costs of a client-server system can lead to unpredictable costs. If the server crashes or an upgrade goes wrong, the practice’s emergency fund takes a hit, or worse. Cloud-based EHR systems have consistent costs that allows the practice owner to feel confident in their financial projections. The practice simply pays a monthly or quarterly access fee, much like the fee for phone or Internet.

SIMPLER IMPLEMENTATION AND SCALABILITY

The process of setting up and testing a client-server EHR is more complex than cloud-based systems, and scaling up as your practice grows usually requires additional equipment or licensing costs. Under a cloud-based EHR the practice personnel access the system through a secure web site or client software installed on their computers. Gaining capacity is simply a matter of contacting the EHR vendor and adding more users.

BETTER PATIENT DATA SECURITY

If your practice currently relies on paper records for storing patient data, imagine what could happen if you had a fire, flood or other disaster. Insurance covers new equipment, but patient data is irreplaceable. While practices with client-server EHRs generally have off-site backups, the data is vulnerable during transport and the practice must pay extra for storage costs. Cloud-based EHR records are transferred using secure encryption and backed up in multiple locations automatically at no extra cost.

 

While it might make sense for a large medical institution with a network and IT staff already in place to adopt the client-server model, we believe new practices and small health care providers looking to move away from paper records or change EHR systems will receive the greatest benefit in going with a cloud-based solution.

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The Doctor Must Evolve With Technology 

The Doctor Must Evolve With Technology  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Doctor may say “I’m not a techie” but no one has to be a techie to try a technology. The eyes of a doctor are strong enough to discover the most deadly disease in a human being, and then why not try the eyes on discovering technology too. A small idea of a technology is enough to improvise your career, along with your knowledge. Being a doctor, using the best medical technology in your hospital/clinic makes your work easier and well-organized. With technology you can get the clear images of patient’s body, his health condition, refer his health records, conduct a surgery, do a video conferencing, etc.

 

With the internet connection available worldwide, dependency on technology has become a must even in the medical field. The concept of ‘Online doctors’ have revolutionized the medical industry which has improved the business opportunities in the medical field to a great extent. Each day a new concept is introduced, the world takes less time to adopt it.

 

People are moving more towards technology as each day passes leading to a situation where people look for the best medical technology for their treatments. From the Doctor’s side, technology can help you bring up your patient care and from the patient’s side, it’s the eye for painless and quick treatments for which they are ready to spend money. Gone are the days where you waste your time at home after a surgery which stresses you to ‘evolve’ with technology.

 

Days are not far where the gap between technology and medicine will be filled. The advent of technology will make the connection stronger in such a way that both will move hand-in-hand and the power of technology will create further revolutions in the medical industry. If you are an early bird you gain more expertise to meet the challenges in the future.

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Wearable Health Devices For Stress Management.

Wearable Health Devices For Stress Management. | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Designed by a team at Washington University, Mindset is a stress management app being piloted in medical students.

 

With the rise of wearable health devices and health apps has come interest in figuring out ways to integrate all these data streams into meaningful signals that can be used to improve health. For example, one group is working on using wearables to help people quit smoking.

 

Stress affects all of us and for many people causes a lot of distress. A new health app is trying to use wearable health monitors to monitor for physiologic signals of stress so that users can manage their stress more effectively.

 

Mindset was developed by a group of medical and engineering students at Washington University of St. Louis. Created to help veterans and others manage stress on their own, Mindset incorporates principles of biofeedback into an Android and iOS health app, created with an advisory board of psychiatrists and psychologists. It’s currently in beta release form, with plans to incorporate functionality for data sharing with clinicians as it develops.

 

So how does Mindset work? In short, users must wear a supported activity monitor device while also keeping their phone in proximity. Once the phone notes signs of the user experiencing stress, primarily through heart rate monitoring, it will provide an alert.

 

Users can then select from a visually appealing menu of options over what they are feeling at the time, and then take steps to reduce their symptoms. Various exercises are included, with gamification of stress management provided through points obtained for heart rate reduction and so on. The developers have built the app with the belief that making people more aware of their emotions is a key step in self-management of stress.

 

On the surface, it sounds fantastic, but is this really something that clinicians could recommend to their patients? The developers have mentioned including a monthly subscription fee, and having actual clinical evidence that this app works is imperative before even considering a medical treatment app.

 

Mindset is undergoing investigational testing, currently on medical students, both with and without the device, with self-reported stress levels being analyzed. Adding more robust measurements, and clinically significant outcomes measurements are important

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Mobile healthcare technology makes NIH list of 14 goals for the next 5 years

Mobile healthcare technology makes NIH list of 14 goals for the next 5 years | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The National Institutes of Health revealed its roster of ambitious goals for the next five years and many of them are either focused on reliant upon technologies.

 

 

Calling these "extraordinary opportunities that demand exceptional attention," NIH created them as part of its overall objectives to advance biomedical research, foster innovation and enhance scientific stewardship.

 

 

Here are the 14 goals:

 

  1. Apply precision medicine to cancer treatments
  2. Usher a vaccine for multiple flu strains through clinical trials
  3. Support research to develop interventions that promote health in populations disparities
  4. Harness pharmacogenomics in clinical settings will to improve outcomes
  5. Trial HIV vaccine in The Republic of South Africa in 2016
  6. Demonstrate via clinical trials that at least 6 interventions believed clinically viable actually do not work
  7. Revolutionize drug screening and optimization with radical approach to structural biology
  8. Support research into FDA-approved therapies for 12 or more rare diseases
  9. Provide rigorous evidence that mobile technologies can enhance health and prevent disease
  10. Support the development of a wearable biosensor that tracks blood-alcohol levels in real-time to prevent related injury and disease
  11. Support technologies that reverse paralysis and restore functions for spinal cord injuries
  12. Back the work to create vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus
  13. Research artificial pancreas for better management of diabetes
  14. Become the model agency for applying the scientific method to itself for supporting biomedical research

 

"Much remains to be done," said NIsco.lt/...H Director Francis S. Collins, in a statement. "This strategic plan will guide our efforts to turn scientific discoveries into better health, while upholding our responsibility to be wise stewards of the resources provided by the American people."

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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.

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Windows 10 Ransomware Scam Represents Growing Trend in Malware

Windows 10 Ransomware Scam Represents Growing Trend in Malware | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

I don’t usually jump on the new software or device bandwagon immediately. I tend to wait until something has been on the market for a little while and let other people work the bugs out first. However, the release of Windows 10 intrigues me. I had the chance to talk to some people at RSA about it, and I’m not sure the last time I heard so much enthusiasm for a new Microsoft product.


The release came at the end of July, with the upgrade made available for free. Who doesn’t like free, right?

Consumers aren’t the only ones who appreciate a free upgrade, though. Scammers and bad guys are taking advantage of the Windows 10 launch, too, using phishing emails to spoof the arrival of the OS. As PC World explained, the scam does a very good job mimicking a legitimate Microsoft announcement regarding Windows 10. The difference, though, was this:


An attached .zip file purports to be a Windows 10 installer … the attachment contains a piece of ransomware called CTB-Locker that encrypts your files and requests payment within 96 hours, lets your files be encrypted forever.


I can’t imagine that anyone would be surprised that the bad guys would try to take advantage of the OS release. However, according to Cisco’s midyear report, using ransomware is part of a growing trend with hackers using social and breaking news events to deliver ransomware. According to the report, ransomware has really stepped up its game, with improved professional development to encourage innovation and to ensure that the malware brings in financial gains.

The Cisco blog explained more about how it works:


The ransoms demanded are usually affordable, generally a few hundred dollars depending on the bitcoin exchange rate. Criminals appear to have done their market research to determine the right price points for the best results: Fees are not so high that victims will refuse to pay or will tip of law enforcement. Ransomware authors keep their risk of detection low by using channels such as Tor and the Invisible Internet Project to communicate, and they use bitcoin so that financial transactions are difficult for law enforcement to trace.


Will we see more problems with ransomware going forward? I suspect the answer is “Yes,” especially as the developers get smarter about manipulating the ransom for their own gain. (Remember, as successful as Cryptolocker was at locking down a computer’s data, too many weren’t able to pay the ransom with Bitcoin, and, in turn, the developers weren’t able to make the money they planned to make.) We know that the spammers are very good at faking us out with phishing attacks. So enjoy your new Windows 10 upgrade. Just download with a lot of caution.

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Adobe patches Flash zero-day found in Hacking Team data breach

Adobe patches Flash zero-day found in Hacking Team data breach | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The massive Hacking Team data breach led to the release of 400GB worth of data including a zero-day vulnerability for Adobe Flash. Adobe has released an out-of-band patch for the flaw just two days after it was discovered.


The vulnerability was described by the Hacking Team in a readme file in the data dump as "the most beautiful Flash bug for the last four years". Accompanying the readme in the data was a proof-of-concept exploit of the flaw.


Adobe categorized the vulnerability (CVE-2015-5119) as critical and said it affects Flash Player versions 18.0.0.194 and earlier on Windows and Mac, and versions 11.2.202.468 and earlier on Linux. Successful exploitation of the flaw could allow remote code execution.


Security researcher Kafeine found that the vulnerability has already been added to the Angler, Fiddler, Nuclear and Neutrino exploit kits. Because of this, admins are recommended to apply the patch as soon as possible.


Also found in the Hacking Team data was another Adobe Flash zero-day (CVE-2015-0349), which was patched in April, and a zero-day affecting the Windows kernel. The inclusion of these zero-days has caused experts to question if these exploits are being used by Hacking Team clients, including law enforcement and governments.


"As many governments move to try and control malware and offensive security tools, some have been caught with their own hands in the cookie jar, leading many to wonder how and why governments and agencies listed as Hacking Team clients are using these tools and if they are doing so lawfully," said Ken Westin, security analyst for Tripwire. "Given the depth and amount of data compromised in this breach, it will reveal a great deal about the market for offensive tools designed for espionage with a great deal of fallout and embarrassment for some organizations."


Hacking Team spokesman Eric Rabe confirmed the breach and said that while law enforcement is investigating, the company suggests its clients suspend the use of its surveillance tools until it can be determined what exactly has been exposed.


In a new statement, Rabe warned that its software could be used by anyone because "sufficient code was released to permit anyone to deploy the software against any target of their choice.


"Before the attack, HackingTeam could control who had access to the technology that was sold exclusively to governments and government agencies," Rabe wrote. "Now, because of the work of criminals, that ability to control who uses the technology has been lost. Terrorists, extortionists and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so. We believe this is an extremely dangerous situation."

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Messaging And The Apple Watch

Messaging And The Apple Watch | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Although the Apple Watch boasts the ability to instantly notify users with important updates — breaking news stories, changes to their bank account or the achievement of a fitness goal — its 42mm screen can be a major constraint for developers and designers.


This is especially true for messaging applications, which must figure out how to create an essentials-only design that enables two-way communication without the luxury of a keyboard. When designing a messaging application for the Apple Watch there are several key considerations that must be kept in mind to ensure developers are creating something people will actually use.

Is the Apple Watch Worthy?

Jonathan Ive’s team developed the Apple Watch to help solve the problem they themselves created: smartphone addiction. Between the constant influx of notifications and the 24/7 connectivity to work, we are prisoners of our own devices.


Reluctantly, I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this in my personal life. As I play with my kids on a Saturday afternoon in the park, I can’t help but discreetly sneak a look at my phone every few minutes. We just cannot free ourselves from the thought of missing something important.


While critics claim otherwise, the Apple Watch actually frees us from our constant surreptitious phone-checking habit. By filtering the most important alerts and providing immediate notifications that can be absorbed with a glance, the Apple Watch causes users to pick up their phone less frequently and only for matters that involve a response.

Between the constant influx of notifications and the 24/7 connectivity to work, we are prisoners of our own devices.

Given the nature and purpose of the Apple Watch, the first question companies should ask is whether or not their business app interaction is worthy of immediate interruption. For enterprise messaging, the answer is a resounding Yes. The instant nature of messaging lends itself naturally for a new communication medium like the Apple Watch.

Starting From Scratch

Just like every app does not belong on the Apple Watch, every iPhone interface will not transfer to the face of a wristwatch. Over-simplification is important. You may think your iPhone app is sleek and simple, but everything changes when you drastically reduce the screen size.

Simplifying isn’t just about design; it’s about reducing the number of available features on the app. Many of the browsing or text-heavy portions of a smartphone platform are no longer applicable on the watch form factor, requiring developers to determine which features are used the most and eliminate the rest.

Color palettes on the Apple Watch also matter. Despite the assumption that a color palette would be the easiest part of the Apple Watch transition, it usually cannot be replicated from the smartphone. The Apple Watch’s black background and small screen size completely change the game, meaning that the de-saturated colors often used in traditional branding appear muted and are difficult to read, which forces designers to switch over to bright, high-contrast colors.

The Need For Context-Intelligent Responses

First and foremost, the Apple Watch is a notification platform. Punching out a lengthy message isn’t feasible without a keyboard, so messaging apps face a unique challenge not met by notification-based platforms. As we worked to solve this problem, we kept coming back to one central theme: speed.


Apple Watch users should be able to glance down at their wrist, instantly absorb the information they need and move on with their day. This is why Apple’s User Interface Guidelines suggest that app developers keep all interactions with the watch to less than 30 seconds.


With a 30-second time constraint, how do you empower users to read a notification and reply, while avoiding the often-awkward voice response? We focused on context-intelligent emojis and canned text responses to reply quickly. While the basic forms of both of these technologies have been available for years, they lacked context and the ability to accurately predict a user’s reply. That’s beginning to change.


Right now, enterprise messaging applications offer a series of canned responses, such as “Yes, I’m available now” or “We closed the deal.” Eventually, messaging applications will be able to gather relevant data to enable the creation of personalized and relevant response options.

For example, if a colleague asks to do lunch at 1pm, the app could gather information from a user’s calendar, current location, past preferences and outside data (such as access to OpenTable) to suggest personalized responses, such as “I’m not available until 1:30. Let’s meet at Salt House on Mission Street. They have tables available at that time.”

Looking Ahead

With the recent watchOS 2 announcement, which will support native apps as well as third-party complications, it is clear Apple views enriched third-party apps as critical to delivering a fully integrated wearable experience. Still, the full potential of messaging apps will not be realized until the Apple Watch can function without the iPhone.

Independent of this crutch, and with the capabilities of everything from instant communication to project management, the Apple Watch stands to become the ultimate convener, allowing users to seamlessly manage both their personal and professional lives.

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Skype for Business arrives on Windows Phone, but lacking a key feature for Office 365

Skype for Business arrives on Windows Phone, but lacking a key feature for Office 365 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Although Microsoft has now brought Skype for Business to Windows Phone, its own business customers—those who subscribe to Office 365—may be disappointed to learn that one key feature hasn’t yet been implemented: conversation syncing.


Skype for Business has already replaced Lync on desktop PCs and the Web, and Windows Phone 8.1 phones will automatically download the new Skype for Business app to replace Lync 2013. (Windows Phone 8.0 users can continue using Lync 2013 or Lync 2010; those phones won’t be able to update to the new app.) 



Given the fact that a phone has limited space with which to work, one change that Microsoft has made to the app is to “wall off” extraneous conversations. If a new message arrives on your phone, you’ll have the option to answer it without other clients' grabbing the conversation, Microsoft said. Microsoft has also encrypted your conversation and voice mail history by default.


One of the complaints Skype users have had, however, is that conversations that roam between various platforms don’t sync appropriately, meaning that you might end up with notifications being sent to your PC some time before they arrive on your phone. Microsoft apparently solved that problem, provided you’re running the latest server software—just not for Office 365 users. That capability will be coming soon, the company said.


Otherwise, the new Skype for Business app for Windows Phone features the Skype UI and 100 new emoticons, to give it a bit of extra punch.


Last week the Skype for Business team previewed a “broadcast” feature that will allow meetings to be shown to up to 10,000 participants. The app now also works with traditional telephones, so that users can simply dial in to conference calls.


Why this matters: To its credit, Microsoft has launched Skype for Business on Windows Phone, ahead of iOS and Android—not always the case, to be sure. Still, I suspect that some IT admins wish that Microsoft would get its ducks in a row before releasing the Windows Phone app. Not knowing where you are in a business conversation can give the appearance that you’re unprofessional—and it’s also just plain annoying.

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Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week

Windows 10 likely to land at PC makers this week | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft keeps wending its way past the mile markers en route to getting Windows 10 out to the public on time.


The software titan is putting the finishing touches on the operating system software and will finalize its prerelease development by July 10, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company's plans. This version ofWindows 10, called "release to manufacturing," will then be sent to PC makers to be bundled into their products.


Windows 10, which is slated to launch on July 29, comes at a critical time for Microsoft. While Windows overall remains the dominant force in desktop operating systems, running on over 90 percent of computers worldwide, according to NetMarketShare, the last big release -- Windows 8 -- proved a marked disappointment. According to NetMarketShare, Windows 8 musters just 13 percent market share worldwide, far behind the 61 percent share for Windows 7 and just ahead the 12 percent share for the now ancient Windows XP.


The issues with Windows 8 were numerous, ranging from Microsoft's design choice, called Metro, to a steep learning curve for those used to the old days of Windows. Windows 8, which launched in 2012, also came as consumers and business users were increasingly attracted to tablets and smartphones, which typically ran either Apple's iOS software or Google's Android.


Microsoft tried to respond by offering its own tablet, the Surface, and partner with third-party tablet manufacturers. The efforts, however, have done little to kick Android and iOS from the top spots.

Realizing its own miscues and the changing market dynamics, Microsoft has tried to address its Windows 8 woes with Windows 10.


The Start button is back and the design a bit more traditional, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made clear that Microsoft is a "mobile-first (and cloud-first)" company that will allow for Windows 10 to run on multiple device types without sacrificing features. To boost adoption, Microsoft will offer free upgrades to customers currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- a first for the company. Microsoft has even softened its stance in its longstanding battle with pirates, saying that any pirated copy of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 10 free-of-charge.


For months now, Microsoft has been offering preview versions of Windows 10 to developers and consumers who want to take the operating system for a test drive. Operating systems go through a series of "builds," or versions, during their development phase. Once the company's development team has finalized the operating system, it goes into RTM phase, which means it's ready to be passed on to hardware vendors for bundling into the PCs they sell. Assuming the report is accurate, hitting the RTM phase this week would ensure Windows 10 would be available later this month, as anticipated.

That said, while Microsoft seems to be on-pace for a July 29 launch, the company has cautioned thatthe rollout could be slow going.


Microsoft said last week that it "will start rolling out Windows 10" on July 29, but will roll out the operating system "in waves" after that date.

"Each day of the rollout, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users," the company said in a blog post. "If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system."


The blog post seems to indicate that while Windows 10 may be released to PC vendors soon, it will continue to fine-tune the operating system after the July 29 launch date.


Microsoft has yet to say when its operating system will hit the RTM phase, but in the past, the company has announced the milestone on its site. Microsoft will likely do the same with Windows 10, once it has officially gone RTM.

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7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website

7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In 2016, we are all plagued with an overabundance of information. For most of us, we want to find out only specifically what we need to know, and ignore the rest.

This is especially true for patients who are searching for a doctor online. According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of Internet users look for health information online, including 44% who search for physicians or health professionals.

 

When a patient visits your medical clinic website, they really want three things:

 

-To find out the important details they need to visit
-To feel in control of their experience
-To get a sense of who you are, and see if they trust you

With this in mind, here are 7 essentials you need to have an engaging, attractive medical website:

 

1. Patient Forms 



Make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, register and access important forms before they arrive at your office. Placing the registration form under a “New Patient” tab will make it easy to find.

 

2. News and Updates

Refreshing your site with recent news and updates will help build an online presence and allow patients to feel comfortable that their doctor is up to date on current issues. It will also help your practice rank higher in search engines, making it easier to find.

 

3. Contact Information

Prominently display contact information on every page, preferably in the top right corner, or at the bottom of the screen in the footer. Ensure also that you have entered your details onto Google Maps so that your clinic is showing up in location searches.

 

4. Patient Resources 



Providing patients with valuable content on popular health topics and link to trusted resources to give your patients the most up-to-date facts available. If there is a recent topic that is concerning people, you can also provide some general tips on these. This will help you build trust with your patients and show you as an up-to-date expert.

 

5. Services, Insurances, Payment Options

Most visitors will be interested what services you provide or insurances you accept. Making this information easy to find by having tabs at the top of the screen listing ‘Services’ and ‘Insurance’. You can also note whether there are special financial arrangements available, and whether you take cash.

 

6. Mobile Friendly Interface

According to an article by Search Engine Land, more searches now occur on mobile devices than any other platform. For this reason, your website should be viewable on all mobile browsers. Most website templates these days offer a mobile view, so this is not usually an issue, but is very important that your website is easy to navigate on a cellphone as it is on a computer screen.

 

7. Social media links and plugins. 



In a recent article by Forbes it was shown that Facebook now drives more online traffic than google searches. By having clearly displayed links to web site to your clinic’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube channel if you have any or all of these.

 

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The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality

The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Technology is becoming more sophisticated:

 

 As connectivity expands, new mobile devices and wearables – that offer far more sophisticated biometric, fitness and wellness tracking – are entering the market. For example, these more advanced technologies are tracking and reading muscle activity; utilizing spectrometers to measure nutrition in food; keeping tabs on electroencephalogram (EEG) levels; and measuring exposure to ultraviolet light. What is even more interesting, however, is the fact that consumer electronics, wearables and clinical devices are continuing to take on new physical forms – including digital tattoos, under-skin implants and smart contact lenses.

 

Additionally, devices are beginning to better communicate with one another, as we build out interoperable networks. This is the key principle behind the Internet of Things, in general. The possibilities for this growing interconnected network of devices are endless and include:

 

  • Connected refrigerators monitoring food input and output;
  • Connected thermostats that self-adjust temperatures to body heat metrics;
  • Televisions that can connect to real-time data dashboards breaking down your health and recommending consultations with your physician, dietician, therapist or personal trainer;
  • Light bulbs that automatically adjust the emission of UV light to stress levels and time of day.

As these innovative technologies collect a broader array of clinical and fitness data, the information gathered is becoming even more vital for health care companies.

 

Data is being integrated and converging to create a holistic picture. Devices passively capturing more data (biometric, activity, etc.) will continue to integrate together to give a comprehensive overview of a person’s health. In the future, when bringing together biometric data with detailed activity data that extends far beyond what wearables and devices currently offer, insights not previously thought possible will emerge.

 

For example, data from a car related to erratic driving combined with speech patterns from a smartphone can provide detailed insights on a person’s stress level. Taken a step further, analytics programs could integrate that data to help predict a manic episode in a person with mental health issues.

 

Technology partnerships are proliferating. Technology partnerships are vital to creating an interconnected world of devices and interoperability.  Companies are relying on specialized technology vendors to add increased capabilities to their products instead of building it all on their own. Case in point: Polo Ralph Lauren created a connected t-shirt. But the company did not build the sensor technology that already exists. Instead, they focused on their core competency, apparel, and partnered with a technology vendor to add the health tracking sensors.

 

Non-technical and consumer companies will continue to partner with technology companies to add health-focused capabilities to their product or services. We have seen these partnerships are regularly emerging with phone companies, sports teams and automotive companies. 

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Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable 

Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many of us have been following the wearable industry in healthcare.  Many of us have been influencing the wearable industry in healthcare.  Whichever the case, it’s true that HealthIT is getting sexier each day.

 

Some people will wear gadgets because of the practicality of them.  For example, some wear watches because it gives them the current time and date.  

 

Others wear watches because they make them look cool or rich.  And others do it for both reasons.

I belong to the latter group.  I like the practicality of the wearable but I also like the looks.

 

As of today, I’ve owned most of the modern wearables: Fitbit, Moto 360 and several Samsung Gear devices.

 

The Fitbit is OK but it’s still not a gadget I can show off.  Moto 360 is the one I hide under my sleeve in order to not be perceived as an eccentric geek (which I am).

 

There are few health management apps on it but I’m expecting them to grow.  Personally, I’m creating an app for diabetes self-management.  Of course, I am not going to market this app due to regulatory restrictions but I’ll try to get it into a proper product development work stream in the near future.

 

But like everything in technology that breaks bad:  I just can’t wait to see what the Apple iWatch will look like.  But it must be the sexiest thing in the world of gadgets.

 

Apple did it with the music gadgets.  Remember the Walkman?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPod.  Remember the Blackberry?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPhone.

 

I can bet on this fact:  Get the people to wear the gadget because it’s cool and sexy and then all other applications of it will follow through.

 

But don’t ever think that your cool and sexy health application will on its own be adopted if it doesn’t help conquer the next loved one!

 

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Is TeleMedicine the future of healthcare ?

Is TeleMedicine the future of healthcare ? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A 61 year old man comes into the room complaining of his feet slowly changing shades to a brownish red.  On examination there is swelling of both feet, the marks are scattered brown flecks on otherwise normal colored feet, however it is definitely spreading from the toes upwards.

 

The doctor will collect a history, which tells us that the patient had an Inguinal hernia procedure three years ago, it was corrected by placing a mesh to keep things in place.

 

There is also history of a Transient Ischemic Attack ( Stroke ) two years ago, this was handled by blood thinners.  The patient remembers being allergic to one of them.

 

Carrying on the examination the heart and lungs are fine, all nerve reflexes are in place and the patient has sensation on the tips of toes on both feet.  Circulation is also fine.

 

If the patient has his records things like these become important;

 

  1. Which medicine was he allergic to

 

  1. How was the mesh placed, do the scans show any slipping

 

  1. Blood clotting variation ( INR/PT/PTT blood tests ). Given that the patient had a stroke these would be regularly monitored.

 

  1. Any infections in the area and what antibiotics were used to treat them.

 

If he doesn’t have records, then the diagnosis can still be made to a skin deposing of iron, not before things like a venous Doppler, MRI of the lower leg, and a few other inconclusive tests will be done.  Chances are the dermatologist will be one of the last people consulted if the records are not at hand.

 

Medicine is the integration of clinical practice as a doctor would see it with the story each patient presents.  Telemedicine takes this entire interface and places it online for easier access, diagnosis, something that can be working twenty four hours a day, anywhere in the world if so needed.

 

The integration of various parts of healthcare are becoming more and more important now that there is so much travel, leading to different doctors and scattered records.

 

Most important of all, now diagnostic medicine has developed a virtual arm where a complete health capsule of the patient can be portrayed, making for peace of mind to distant loved ones or even a second opinion from a family doctor.  All it takes is internet access to lead to better diagnosis wherever a person is.

 

It is often important for doctors to know the past history of a patient.  Knowing things like the last series of blood test results makes it easier for doctors anywhere to monitor and adjust doses for things like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol etc. medication.  This often gives people the security to travel in peace.

 

Healthcare is an ever changing thing, and often not one we can plan.  Telemedicine helps a little in that area by keeping a complete set of your records online. This makes things easier for the entire healthcare community, not just the doctor.

 

In case of emergencies it is good for the nearest hospital to have prearranged access to your records.  Paper degrades, ECG’s will fade away within a year.  Good health goes on a lot longer.

 

There are several reasons why Telemedicine is the wave of the future.  To summarize here are a few scenarios where it would be of use.

 

 

  1. Elderly parents in another city.
  2. Chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, where the medical records become the size of novels.
  3. Emergencies for things like blood group, allergies, current medication assuming the patient is not conscious.
  4. Frequent travelers with issues that need monitoring.
  5. Second opinions from doctors in different cities.

 

From a doctors perspective it is important to focus on the complaint which the patient has currently, it is however invaluable to have the history on hand for all the reasons above.  This leads to quicker diagnosis.

 

The advantage of quicker diagnosis is quicker treatment, the advantage of quicker treatment is that the wear and tear on the body while treating the problem is reduced.

 

If a diabetic can be monitored better no matter where he or she travels then the chances of long term damage to the eyes, kidneys or other sensitive organs are dramatically reduced.

 

Where does telemedicine fit into all this?  It’s best compared to traffic policemen at intersections of the doctor, pharmacy, laboratory and hospitals.  Making sure the right information is being passed on from one to the other. Reducing the chances that the wrong dose of medicine isn’t given in a different city or that all tests in the long lists of blood tests are done.

 

Healthcare is a serious business, there are always new pillars being added to the foundations of good health and the quicker easier access of personal health data in a secure manner is definitely one of these pillars.  It will save lives.

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Telemedicine – Benefits And Challenges. 

Telemedicine – Benefits And Challenges.  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Telemedicine benefits when your patients are remotely located, you have a unique expertise or you want to add a secondary service to your medical group. The concept of tele-health is spreading faster than expected and the American College of Physicians is giving advice to doctors who connect with patients remotely.

 

The position of ACP for telemedicine in 2016 includes cautions, challenges and benefits for primary care doctors using Telemedicine.  If your medical group is thinking of reaching patients through this new technology, the following points are recommended for a better understanding;

 

  •  Make sure the liability insurance covers telemedicine
  • Start with established patients
  • Offer the same standard of care as in personal encounters

    Some of the challenges are,

  • Difficulties in obtaining multiple licenses across state lines

  • Challenges about how insurance will pay for telemedicine

  • Lack of definition of Telemedicine

 

Telemedicine should not be adopted because it is trendy. As the ACP puts it: “ACP believes that physicians should use their professional judgment about whether the use of telemedicine is appropriate for a patient. Physicians should not compromise their ethical obligation to deliver clinically appropriate care for the sake of new technology adoption.”

 

Telemedicine ensures greater patient convenience (no travel is required) and a consultation facility for people who might otherwise not get care (no specialty doctors in their area) through e-visits. Telemedicine also offers savings for hospitals, physicians and other providers. To be precise, physicians use telemedicine services to decrease the distance with their patients, because more telemedicine services also offer around the clock service.

 

According to HIMSS, “Telemedicine offers a great deal of promise in its ability to provide medical services to populations unable to obtain them”. Other potential advantages of telemedicine include monitoring prescription compliance, management of chronic conditions and asynchronous communication (specialists can verify images or lab results over phone, which only requires the patient and the doctor to be present at a specific time).

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 How has telemedicine technology changed in recent years?

 How has telemedicine technology changed in recent years? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

New advances in technology and an increased adoption of online social interactions are helping create new clinical opportunities through the use of telemedicine. Even in the early 1990's when telemedicine was being used by healthcare practitioners for mostly pilot projects, the vision may have outpaced the technology. Computers were still cumbersome and expensive, and the internet was still finding its footing.

 

 

Today, however, the telemedicine industry is thriving as technological advances and the ubiquity of connected devices have made it possible to help physicians and their patients communicate through video conferencing. As a result, getting treatment has become easier and more relaxed, and for millions of individuals and families living in rural or remote communities, there are new opportunities to receive high-quality healthcare. The development of new technologies and simplified IT infrastructures have fueled this trend.

 

 

Technology that is sleek and mobile


In the past, hospitals and doctor's offices that employed telemedicine needed to dedicate a good amount of space and bandwidth to get online. This set-up was cumbersome and far from efficient. Today, the technology that powers telemedicine is portable and doctors can use computers and tablets, while patients are also aided by devices that fit in a convenient cart or package that is fully mobile.

 

These increases in efficiency have been at the forefront of making telemedicine an everyday clinical solution. Now that the technological barriers have been lowered, the applications related to treating patients in rural communities as well as around the world are being full realized. 

 

 

Internet everywhere


Another important development in helping telemedicine reach its full potential is the growth in everyday internet use. For patients and doctors, getting online is easier and less expensive now more than ever.

 

When it comes to connecting a hospital in an urban center to a rural clinic, having a reliable web connection is critical. In the past, this may have required expensive installations or proven to be an impediment to full connectivity, but as internet access has spread, so too has the possible reach of telemedicine services. 

 

It isn't just remote areas of the U.S. that are being positively affected by the spread of the internet. Around the world, rural care centers can bypass traditional infrastructure and connect to the web to get high-quality healthcare. The website Internet Live Stats reported that 3.4 billion people now have access to a web connection. 

 

The ability to communicate through video conferencing and send pertinent patient data in real-time is critical for telemedicine, and as the world becomes a more connected place, there are more and more opportunities for medical professionals to reach new patients.

 

 

Comfort and familiarity


The Pew Research Center found that in the U.S., 64 percent of adults owned a smartphone in 2015, and less than 10 percent of American households had limited access to the internet. Technological familiarity and literacy is helping patients and doctors feel more comfortable or less apprehensive about using telemedicine than they might have been when the industry was just getting started.

 

Because most people are now prolific in navigating online portals or video chatting with friends and family, the experience of having a remote check-up with a doctor is easy and feels natural. This makes things easier for patients and physicians, as well as nurses, paramedics or clinic staff members who facilitate telemedicine appointments. An easy-to-use interface gives all parties involved the means to navigate the platform in a way that is meaningful and adaptive.

 

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Structured Electronic Medical Records in Healthcare Sector Saves Lives and Reduces Costs

Structured Electronic Medical Records in Healthcare Sector Saves Lives and Reduces Costs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Last decade witnessed tremendous proliferation in volume and variety of data, across various business domains. Nowadays, not just banking & finance, but every other industry generate and collect gazillion of data, on daily basis. This perhaps provides a very strong reason for businesses to adopt a data-driven and data-reliant approach, and Healthcare, Insurance and Life Science industry are not an exception. They have very well understood that deciphering data unlocks valuable insights, and thus culminating into well-informed decisions.

Global healthcare industry is experiencing a fundamental transformation; it is becoming more competitive in nature. Healthcare Providers, Physicians/Doctors, Consultants, Patient Account Manager, Electronic Medical Records Manager, Medical Records Coding Manager and all across the health care fraternity are working towards not just improving the quality of life and avoid the preventable ailments, but have also realized that they need to leverage the profit margins and reduce overheads – very fast.

Rise in data through various sources like data entry and scanning

Unprecedented rise in data has become a common phenomenon across healthcare industry. Medical facilities constantly generate and accumulate enormous records. Some of it is recorded by manual data entry or scanning of medical documents like clinical history of the patient, insurance claims, bills, prescriptions, etc. Moreover; newer sources of data like biometric sensor readings and other wearable devices have fueled the data-influx.

The data that is collected for years mostly ends up as files, stashed in manila folders, stored onto shelves, and, over a period of time getting locked in warehouses. Apparently, this information is often worthless, since it is outdated, irrelevant and even redundant records. Needless to say, instead of an opportunity, data adds to the already challenging scenario. That’s why most organizations take assistance of experienced data processing experts, since they have the professional competency to manage huge data-sets. Raw and incoherent data gets processed, indexed into standardized formats and converted into easily consumable formats like tables, charts, graphs, dashboards and much more for better data visualization.

How data indexing and data processing helps?

Fragmented and unstructured data results into a vague and hazy picture, making the medicos to end up wrong diagnosis. But this situation can be avoided.

Well-structured medical records, known as Structured EMR (Electronic Medical Records) make it easy for patient account managers, health information managers and many more to see a complete picture of the patient’s conditions. The legacy of benefits continues for insurance companies, actuarial analysts, claims departments and many more.

These structured electronic medical records enables easy access to patient’s past clinical history and treatments – conveniently, to develop a clear diagnosis of the medical condition, while controlling costs. They also are a valuable source of information which can be used for analysis and can be retrieved throughout the course of treatment like in emergency departments, inpatient records, therapies, and outpatient care. Moreover, processed claims data provides great insight about the public health and other research studies. With claims data, we can get answers for questions like:

  • Who received care based on the demographics of population?
  • What are the healthcare settings most people prefer to use?
  • Which are major categories and types of medical care delivered?

Now, with the overwhelming number of wearable smart sensors entering into the market, monitoring ones vitals in real-time has become a reality.

With wellness trackers like Fitbit, Sensogram and so on, monitoring vital signs and receiving valuable information for a healthy and effective workout, has become easy. The biosensor technology have a sophisticated data collection system, which reads, transmits, and stores the parameters like:

  • Blood pressure
  • Respiration rate
  • Heart rate
  • Hydration
  • EKG – electrocardiogram

Since, the device captures the above mentioned vitals, in disintegrated manner, correlating and predicting the any medical complications, becomes a daunting task. However, when this raw data is processed, accessing and analyzing the data becomes quick and less-complicated and thus create enhanced healthcare facilities and balance rising cost factors.

Availability of well-structured and non-fragmented real-time vital data can drastically cut down the development of chronic illness, such heart attacks or strokes. Medicos can take swift actions and formulate appropriate treatments to prevent these ailments even before they show up.

With world population going up and rising average life-expectancy, models of treatments are rapidly changing, and some decisions behind these changes are data driven. Actionable data leverages the medical facilities and quality of treatment, which is in accordance to physical and mental health of every individual.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

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

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Netflix Is Dumping Anti-Virus, Presages Death Of An Industry

Netflix Is Dumping Anti-Virus, Presages Death Of An Industry | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

For years, nails have been hammering down on the coffin of anti-virus. But none have really put the beast to bed. An industry founded in the 1980s, a time when John McAfee was known as a pioneer rather than a tequila-downing rascal, has survived despite the rise of umpteen firms who claim to offer services that eradicate the need for anti-virus.

Now, however, movie streaming titan Netflix NFLX +7.34% is hammering a rather significant nail in that old coffin, one that could well lead to the industry’s final interment. Because Netflix, a well-known innovator in the tech sphere, is the first major web firm to openly dump its anti-virus, FORBES has learned. And where Netflix goes, others often follow; just look at the massive uptick of public cloud usage in recent years, following the company’s major investment in Amazon Web Services.


Let’s take a second to look at the decline of the anti-virus industry. Anti-virus has been the first line of defence for many firms over the last quarter of a century. Generally speaking, AV relies on malware signatures and behavioural analysis to uncover threats to people’s PCs and smartphones. But in the last 10 years, research has indicated AV is rarely successful in detecting smart malware. In 2014, Lastline Labs discovered only 51 per cent of AV scanners were able to detect new malware samples.

Despite its shortcomings, many are still required to keep hold of their AV product because they’re required to by compliance laws, in particular PCI DSS, the regulation covering payment card protections. There’s also the argument that AV is necessary to pick up the “background noise”, as Quocirca analyst Bob Tarzey describes it. “Despite more and more targeted attacks, random viruses are still rife and traditional AV is still good at dealing with these,” he claims. Major players, includingSymantec SYMC +5.00% and Kaspersky, continue to make significant sums, even if results aren’t stellar.


But it’s now possible to dump anti-virus altogether, and Netflix is about to prove it. The firm has found a vendor that covers those compliance demands in the form of SentinelOne. As SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten told me, his firm was given third-party certification from the independent AV-TEST Institute, validating it can do just what anti-virus does in terms of protecting against known threats, whilst providing “an additional new layer of advanced threat protection”. Its end-point security doesn’t rely on signatures, it monitors every process on a device to check for irregularities and does not perform on-system scans or require massive updates like anti-virus, Weingarten said.


“Large enterprises are recognizing that anti-virus is not adding a lot of value to their security posture. Instead of just bolting on more and more layers, companies are looking for ways to reuse their anti-virus budget to achieve better security,” he added.


And that’s what Netflix has done. “It was three years ago we were doing a re-evaluation of anti-virus and out evaluation said that anti-virus is dead, so we’ve been trumpeting that for years,” Rob Fry, Netflix senior security architect, told FORBES. “The problem was there wasn’t really a replacement at the time. Fast-forward three years and now there’s next-generation everything. Then the next question is: how mature are they?


“The direction we decided to go was with a company called SentinelOne, who we’ve been working with for year and a half. They were a true replacement for end-point protection.

“We’re in the process of leaving anti-virus. We did not renew our anti-virus contract this year.”


He complained of poor support from his anti-virus provider, whom he chose not to name, noting Netflix simply “chose the one that sucked the least”. “The AV piece wasn’t even the most valuable thing, it was the URL filtering,” he added, referring to the blocking of malicious websites Netflix staff were visiting whilst on the corporate network.

For any CISOs out there, they’ll need some more convincing that SentinelOne really can do the job of finding low and high-grade malware. Aside from the AV-TEST Institute certification, there’s little in the way of third-party analysis of the company’s kit.


Skeptics on the death of anti-virus will have their voices heard too. “I don’t believe the era of anti-virus software is dead but that we need to evolve the technologies and other defences we use to properly address the variety and sophistication of the threats we face,” noted Brian Honan, security consultant.


But Netflix is unlikely to listen to naysayers. And it isn’t taking it easy on so-called “next-generation” kit either. In recent years, it decided to ditch FireEye, considered a major player in the post-AV anti-malware game. That’s not because of the quality of protection the firm offers, however, but the lack of application programming interfaces (APIs), Fry said.


APIs allow Netflix to hook up its various security systems so they worked concomitantly and could feed on each others’ data to provide more advanced security. When Fry goes looking for fresh vendors, there are two musts: a cloud strategy and APIs. As FireEye wasn’t willing to provide them at the time, Netflix moved over to ProtectWise, another advanced attack detection company, he told FORBES.

A FireEye spokesperson noted that since early 2014 FireEye has had a “rich, secure, documented and formally supported” API across the majority of its products. “These APIs are used by a broad selection of end-customers, reseller/managed service and technology integration partners,” they added.


What’s apparent with the spate of major cyberattacks seen this year, from Ashley Madison to Hacking Team TISI +% and theUS government, the world’s biggest firms are demanding more from the companies that have tried and failed to adequately protect them

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What hospitals need to know about Windows 10

What hospitals need to know about Windows 10 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The arrival of a new Microsoft operating system does not exactly bring the same excitement that it once did.


Indeed, since about the time Windows Vista launched, subsequent operating systems have come – and in the odd case of Windows 9 essentially vanished – without the fanfare of Windows 95, XP or 2000.

The company has at least managed to create enough wattage around Windows 10, however, that some 5 million so-called Windows Insiders installed early versions to test the software in development – and word slipped out this week that the planned flagship Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan will open in the fall.


A critical piece of the renewed interest is how Microsoft is breaking new ground with a phased approach to what CEO Satya Nadella dubbed the "One Windows" strategy, beginning July 29 when the OS became available for PCs and tablets.


The aim is to upgrade systems currently running Windows 7 and 8 in the near-term and follow that with Windows 10 Mobile later this year, and devices from Microsoft’s harem of hardware partners are slated to become available before the holiday season. Beyond that, Microsoft intends Windows 10 to serve as the operating system for a range of Internet of Things devices, including its own Surface Hub conference systems and HoloLens holographic glasses, among others.


When that “One Windows” day comes, the sales pitch goes, hospitals will be able to consolidate varying devices onto Windows 10 and the fact that the upgrade is free for systems already running Windows 7, 8.1 or 8.1 Mobile should entice many IT shops to install it; for those still using an older OS, the price tag is $199 for the professional version.

Microsoft, in the meantime, has incorporated some healthcare-centric functionality into Windows 10.


On one of its web pages the company showed the operating system’s capability to “snap together” different applications and, in so doing, enable a clinician to view a patient’s EMR next to a home health app.

A Power BI function can "gather, analyze and visualize quality of care data," while the Power Map feature enables users to combine and compare a hospital's own information with population health statistics. Microsoft also pointed to programs including Office 365, OneNote, SharePoint and Skype that can be used for care management and information sharing.

Later this year, when Windows 10 Mobile becomes available, it will make syncing apps across smartphones, tablets and PCs easier. Now, that’s not likely to inspire CIOs to rip and replace existing smartphones anytime soon, but the ability to coordinate a Windows-based phone with a Surface tablet will invariably have some appeal to a select crowd.


That’s just a taste and Microsoft said that it will be showing more of Windows 10 health capabilities moving forward.


The new OS also brings many broader functions, such as the return of the old Start menu, the new Edge browser, Cortana virtual assistant, and the usual suspects of upgraded apps for mail. Maps, music, photos, and OneDrive to back them up.


Much like its competitors Apple, IBM, Google and Oracle, Microsoft has been ramping up efforts particular to healthcare lately. Earlier this month, for instance, when it unwrapped the Cortana Analytics Suite, Microsoft also revealed that Dartmouth-Hitchcock is already using the tools in a personalized medicine pilot project.


Whether Windows 10 will enjoy the widespread adoption of XP or languish like Vista remains to be seen. But at this point – and with Microsoft's marketing machine stating that the company is gunning to upgrade 1 billion devices to Windows 10  the former appears more likely than the latter. 


What's your perspective? Just another Microsoft OS or a great reason to upgrade?

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A government key to unlock your encrypted messages has major problems and security experts are up in arms

A government key to unlock your encrypted messages has major problems and security experts are up in arms | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Top computer scientists and security experts are warning that government proposals to gain special access to encrypted communications could result in significant dangers. 

A consortium of world-renowned security experts has penned a report detailing the harm that regulating encryption would cause, writes the New York Times


Hard encryption — which global authorities are now trying to combat — is a way to mathematically cipher digital communications and is widely considered the most secure way to communicate online to avoid external snooping. 


This follows news last week that British Prime Minister David Cameron made a proposal to ban encryption as a way to "ensure that terrorists do not have a safe space in which to communicate."  


Since then, experts have begun weighing in about the effect of such drastic measures. This includes well-known cryptographer Bruce Schneier, who told Business Insider that such a strong encryption ban would "destroy the internet."

The new report, which was released today, takes a similarly hard stance. "The complexity of today’s Internet environment, with millions of apps and globally connected services, means that new law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws," it writes. Not only that, but federal authorities have yet to explain exactly how they planned to gain "exceptional access" to private communications.


The report concludes, "The costs would be substantial, the damage to innovation severe, and the consequences to economic growth difficult to predict." In short, the experts believe that trying to put limitations on encrypted communications would create myriad problems for everyone involved. 


This sort of fissure between security experts and federal authorities isn’t new. In fact, a similar proposal was made by the Clinton Administration in 1997 that also took aim at hard cryptography. Back then, a group of experts — many of whom are authors on this new report — also wrote critically about the anti-encryption efforts.

In the end, the security experts prevailed. 


Now, it’s not so certain. FBI director James Comey has joined the ant-encryption brigade, saying that "there are many costs to [universal strong encryption.]"

He and the US deputy attorney general Sally Quillan Yates are scheduled to testify before Senate tomorrow to defend their views, the New York Times reports.

The question now is whether other federal officials will side with people like Comey and Cameron or the group of security experts. 

In the paper's words, creating such back-door access to encrypted communications "will open doors through which criminals and malicious nation-states can attack the very individuals law enforcement seeks to defend."

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Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers

Microsoft Rolls Out The Latest Windows 10 Build To Its 5 Million Testers | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Late last week, Microsoft kicked out another Windows 10 build, numbered 10162, to the ‘fast ring’ of its testing community.

The larger Windows Insider program has two groups, fast and slow, allowing people to select how raw they want their code.


The build was rolled out to the larger group of testers today, those in the slow ring. Given that Windows 10 is now just 23 days out, it’s worth taking a moment to dig into what is being released.


The 10162 build, according to Microsoft’s Gabe Aul (see below), isn’t focused new features, but instead contains “bug fixing and final polish.” The company has released a number of builds in recent weeks that were of similar ilk, aimed at beating the operating system into shape, instead of expanding its capabilities.


The code was first pushed to the ‘fast ring’ of testers on the second of this month.

So, consider this to be a build akin to done, but not quite. That means that if you are currently testing Windows 10, regardless of what group you are in, you can now use Windows 10 in a nearly-normal capacity. How polished it is remains your own judgement.

Microsoft recently explained to the public how it will roll out Windows 10. The company intends to deploy the final build to its testing community on the 29th of this month. Following, in waves, other groups will be brought into the fold.


Earlier this morning, The Verge’s Tom Warren reported that Microsoft intends to RTM Windows 10 and distribute it to equipment manufactures (OEMs) later this week. That makes it not too surprising that the software company is working to get fresh code out into the hands of its community.


The long Windows 10 dance is nearly to its first conclusory benchmark. Microsoft has made noise for some time now that it will continue to update the code in perpetuity. But all races, even those that don’t end, have a day one.

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    Surveillance Software Firm Breached

    Surveillance Software Firm Breached | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

    Hacking Team, an Italian developer of "easy-to-use offensive technology" - including spywareand other surveillance software that it sells to police, law enforcement and intelligence agencies - appears to have been breached and large quantities of corporate information leaked.


    On July 5, hackers also appeared to have seized control of the Hacking Team's Twitter account,@hackingteam, after which they changed the company's logo and posted the following message: "Since we have nothing to hide, we're publishing all our e-mails, files, and source code."


    The message included links to a Torrent file that reportedly includes 400 GB of the aforementioned data, including the source code for its "Remote Control System," known as both DaVinci and Galileo. Hacking Team advertises that the software is able to intercept Skype and voice calls, as well as data stored on PCs. The leaked data reportedly also includes passwords for multiple Hacking Team employees and customers, as well as previously disclosed zero-day vulnerabilities.

    The Hacking Team data leak reportedly reveals that the company's customers have apparently ranged from the U.S. FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency to the governments of Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. Credit for the hack and data breach has reportedly been claimed by PhineasFisher, who has previously targeted vendors for allegedly selling surveillance software to repressive regimes. "Gamma and HT down, a few more to go :),"PhineasFisher said July 6 via Twitter.


    Threat intelligence firm iSight Partners says in a research note that it believes that the breach occurred, and that most or all of the leaked data is genuine, because "convincingly fabricating that much information is prohibitively time intensive." It also warns that the source code could soon become part of other hackers' toolsets. "Hacking Team's tools and techniques will likely begin to be incorporated in other malware and surveillance tools." Allegedly leaked Hacking Team code has already been added to the GitHub code-sharing repository.


    Hacking Team did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the breach, so the contents of those alleged customer lists could not be confirmed. Hacking Team senior system and security engineer Christian Pozzi, whose emails and personal passwords - including for multiple social media accounts - appear to have been included in the leak, says via Twitter on July 6: "We are currently working closely with the police at the moment. I can't comment about the recent breach."

    But the authenticity of that message is questionable, since Pozzi's Twitter account later posted a message suggesting that it too had been compromised by hackers: "We are closing down. Bye Saudi Arabia. You paid us well. Allahuhakbah." After those messages appeared, Pozzi's Twitter account appears to have been deleted in its entirety.

    The Company's Customers

    Numerous privacy rights groups say that the data leak provides a rare look into how governments spy on people at home and abroad. "Hacking Team is one of the most aggressive companies currently supplying governments with hacking tools," says Eric King, deputy director of civil rights group Privacy International. "[The] leak of materials reportedly shows how Hacking Team assisted some of the world's most repressive regimes - from Bahrain to Uzbekistan, Ethiopia to Sudan - to spy on their citizens.


    Hacking Team advertises its Galileo and DaVinci software as being "the hacking suite for governmental interception," noting that it can handle "up to hundreds of thousands of targets, all managed from a central place." Some of the software's capabilities have been previously described by Citizen Lab, a privacy project run by the University of Toronto, which says that the vendor's spyware can copy files from the hard drive of an infected PC, record Skype calls and emails, intercept passwords typed into Web browsers, as well as remotely activate webcams and microphones. To employ the spyware, however, government agencies must first sneak it onto targets' PCs, and Citizen Lab says that phishing attacks are likely the most-used technique for accomplishing this.


    Privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, says via Twitter that according to the leaked information, Hacking Team's customer list "includes South Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, and Mongolia."


    Soghoian adds via Twitter that according to a leaked March 2013 invoice for the first half of a related payment, Hacking Team also completed a €260,000 ($290,000) deal with the government of Azerbaijan by selling "through a shadowy front company in Nevada" named Horizon Global Group.


    Citizen Lab had previously questioned whether Hacking Team was selling to governments that are widely viewed as being repressive. "We suspect that agencies of these twenty-one governments are current or former users of RCS: Azerbaijan, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and Uzbekistan," it says in a 2014 report. "Nine of these countries receive the lowest ranking, 'authoritarian,' in The Economist's 2012 Democracy Index. Additionally, two current users - Egypt and Turkey - have brutally repressed recent protest movements."


    The company's customer list had also earned it a place on the "Enemies of the Internet" list maintained by civil rights group Reporters Without Borders.


    The Hacking Team's alleged "maintenance agreement" tracker has been published to text-sharing website Pastebin; it says that the company's customers also include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency - as news outlet Vice first reported in April - and government agencies across the EU, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain. The FBI, meanwhile, is listed in that maintenance agreement as having an "active maintenance contract" with Hacking Team through June 30, 2015, while both Russia and Sudan are listed as being "not officially supported." Again, however, the authenticity of that information could not be confirmed, and it's possible that whoever leaked the files altered, added or fabricated the information.

    The FBI did not immediately respond to Information Security Media Group's inquiry about whether the bureau is, or has been, a Hacking Team customer.

    Hacker Targets

    Cryptography expert Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins University professor, says that more than any other type of company except bitcoin exchanges, surveillance software vendors should expect to face serious and sustained hacks. Thus, they should harden their defenses accordingly, but few seem to do so, he says.


    Indeed, Hacking Team is not the first surveillance software vendor to have been hacked. In August 2014, Gamma Group - the creator of FinFisher malware, which it spun off as a separate company in 2013 - was also breached by PhineasFisher, who announced via Reddit that a 40GB data dump leaked to BitTorrent included internal documents, as well as price lists and support queries.

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