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What is HIPAA And How To Comply With The HIPAA Security Rule

What is HIPAA And How To Comply With The HIPAA Security Rule | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a US legalization that requires healthcare professionals and institutions to secure health information from deletions and data breaches.

 

This law has become relevant in today’s dental practice due to increased data breaches caused by ransomware and cyber attacks.

 

The law’s requirements on HIPAA can be demanding and challenging to understand, but we’ve made it easy for you below. There are three areas you need to be compliant with HIPAA.

 

• PHYSICAL – these are measures that prevent loss of devices and physical theft on medical information e.g. keeping workstations away from the public eye and limiting physical access to computers.

 

• ADMINISTRATIVE – measures that make sure patient data is accessible to authorized personnel and is correct. For example, identifying which employees have access to medical information.

 

• TECHNICAL – these are measures that protect your devices and networks from unauthorized access and data breaches e.g. encrypting files that you upload to a cloud or send via email.

 

The components above represent every aspect of your dental practice from your record-keeping and policies to your building safety and technology.

 

HIPAA also requires all your staff members to work together to protect patient data and be on the same page.

 

HIPAA COMPLIANCE

 

The administrative, physical, and technical requirements for HIPAA security may be a lot of information for you to take in.

 

Additionally, it can be overwhelming for you to handle its compliance in your dental practice solely.

 

To make it easier, HIPAA compliance is an organization-wide issue. This means all your employees will have to understand and know their role in securing dental information.

 

Alternatively, you can outsource your HIPAA compliance to consultants, web services, and IT contractors.

 

This ensures your dental practice meets the required standards and makes your life easier.

 

However, outsourcing your HIPAA responsibilities doesn’t mean you ignore your legal obligations.

 

Your company should always stay on top of any HIPAA changes in recommendations and adopt advanced practices to improve medical information security.

 

Ultimately, ensure your dental practice upgrades all its old technology for better and efficient systems that contribute to medical information security.

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How Does HIPAA Enforcement Work?

How Does HIPAA Enforcement Work? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

HIPAA enforcement takes place on both the federal government and state government levels.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights receives and investigates complaints, and issues penalties and fines.

 

Enforcement action can be taken with respect to any of the HIPAA Rules. These rules include the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, the Breach Notification Rule, and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule. 

 

When an individual reports a violation, files a complaint or discloses a breach, OCR reviews the complaint, report, or disclosure.

 

OCR may then pursue enforcement in the form of investigations or audits. Audits are randomly conducted. Thus far, HHS has publicly announced, with respect to each audit it has conducted, when the audit was to take place, and what the audit consisted of.  

 

Investigations, in contrast, are made in response to a specific complaint. Upon receiving a complaint, OCR seeks information from the entity against whom the complaint is filed, about the extent of its HIPAA compliance.

 

Investigation sometimes results in the entity that is the subject of the complaint taking voluntary steps to improve its compliance. In addition, after an investigation starts, HIPAA enforcement can take the form of OCR providing technical assistance to an entity to resolve the matter. Technical assistance consists of OCR’s advising the entity as to what is expected of it in terms of HIPAA compliance.

 

Typically, an entity agrees to make specified changes. 

In addition, state attorneys general can enforce HIPAA. The ability to do so was given to states in the 2009 amendment to HIPAA that appears in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. 

 

States were reluctant to take enforcement actions in the initial years after the amendment; however, recently, states have not only engaged in more vigorous HIPAA enforcement activity but have joined together with other states in multistate litigation. 

 

There are significant consequences for breaking the HIPAA laws in new ways as well: The first multistate litigation was brought in December of 2018. Arizona and 15 other states filed suit, asserting claims under HIPAA as well as various applicable state data protection laws.

 

The suit was filed as a result of a data breach in which hackers infiltrated WebChart, and stole the electronically protected health information (ePHI) of approximately 4 million individuals. 

 

As shown above, consequences for breaking the HIPAA law can be severe. Covered entities can address their obligations under HIPAA by working with Compliancy Group.

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Challenges and methods for securing Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS)

Challenges and methods for securing Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Medical data is a valuable commodity for identity theft. Despite HIPAA privacy rules being in effect for more than two decades, millions of health records, including images, have been stored on unsecured servers by healthcare provider officers across the United States. 

 

A ProPublica investigation revealed that 187 servers in the U.S. with medical records such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, for instance, are findable with a simple online search. One imaging system had open internet access to patients’ echocardiograms, which were minimally secured. 

 

While securing Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) can be challenging, in part, because of the need for multiple providers to access the same data, the images stored in PACS are Protected Health Information (PHI) and must be kept private in accordance to HIPAA rules. 

 

To address this issue, in September 2019 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released new draft guidelines to secure PACS, Special Publication 1800-24C - Securing Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS). 

The Challenges of Securing PACS

Over the past decade, healthcare images have shifted from hard copy to mostly digital. These digital images are easier to share, speeding up the diagnosis time.

 

Of course, the fact that healthcare images can now be uploaded, shared on personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and stored digitally, also makes them a target for cybercriminals. 

 

PACS also interact with multiple other systems: electronic health records, regulatory registries hospital information systems, and even government, academic, and commercial archives. This creates plenty of potential security gaps for cybercriminals to lurk and steal this data. 

 

Here are the most common challenges in securing PACS:

  • Monitoring and controlling internal user accounts and identifying outliers in behavior (e.g., large number of downloads in a small period of time)
  • Controlling and monitoring access by external users
  • Enforcing least privilege and separation-of-duties policies for internal and external users
  • Ensuring data integrity of the images
  • Securing and monitoring connections to the system
  • Securing and monitoring connections to and from systems outside of the in-house system
  • Providing security, data protection, and access management without affecting productivity and system performance

 

As you can see, these are common cybersecurity challenges. The draft PACS security guidelines are adapted from the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. While the challenge of securing medical images is real, this is a framework that any HIPAA-covered entity can use to help secure their PACS.

A Security Architecture for PACS

Using commercially available products, NIST created a reference network architecture. It provides an example for healthcare providers to separate their networks into zones to decrease cross-network access and, thus, risk. 

 

The NIST SP 1800-24C guidelines are just that: guidelines. Information technology professionals need to adapt the architecture and framework guidance to their particular organization’s IT stack and security goals. 

 

To mitigate risks, the NIST practice guide’s reference architecture includes technical and process controls to implement. They are:

  • A defense-in-depth solution, including network zoning that allows for more granular control of network traffic flows and limits communications capabilities to the minimum necessary to support business function
  • Access control mechanisms that include multi-factor authentication for care providers, certificate-based authentication for imaging devices and clinical systems, and mechanisms that limit vendor remote support to medical imaging components  
  • A holistic risk management approach that includes medical device asset management, augmenting enterprise security controls and leveraging behavioral analytic tools for near real-time threat and vulnerability management in conjunction with managed security solution providers

 

NIST Cybersecurity Guidance also recommends a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment to identify areas of weakness and to help determine how to optimize your network for cybersecurity.

 

Recommended capabilities for a secure PACS environment include:

  • Role-based access control
  • Authentication
  • Network access control
  • Endpoint protection
  • Network and communication protection
  • Micro-segmentation
  • Behavioral analytics
  • Tools that use cyber threat intelligence
  • Anti-malware
  • Data security
  • Segregation of duties
  • Restoration and recoverability
  • Cloud storage

The Importance of User Training

While not included in this particular NIST publication, it is always good to remember that user training is critical to the success of any cybersecurity initiative. Many Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images are shared via mobile devices. 

 

Password protections are also important, as is understanding HIPAA compliance involving social media and basic HIPAA security procedures.

 

PACS do enable better patient outcomes, but they are a potential target for cybercriminals. Following the guidance from NIST, healthcare organizations can help ensure the continued privacy of their patients’ protected health information. 

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Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare: 4 Recommendations to Remain HIPAA Compliant

Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare: 4 Recommendations to Remain HIPAA Compliant | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A research study, the State of Clinical Communication and Workflow in healthcare organizations, revealed that 51% of IT respondents planned to implement smartphones for clinical communications.

 

This shows that secure mobile messaging is a priority for healthcare providers as they seek to improve patient care.

 

Email alerts that remind patients of an upcoming doctor’s appointment are useful reminders to prevent missed appointments. But the benefits of mobile messaging in healthcare extend far beyond this capability. 

 

Health industry professionals and IT professionals working in healthcare also overwhelmingly believe (90%) that a unified app that integrates communications with clinical workflows will achieve better clinical, financial, and operational outcomes. 

 

Mobile messaging can improve patient care through improved communications as well as allowing a care team to share information about a patient to improve collaboration.

 

But mobile messaging poses cybersecurity and privacy risks if not handled appropriately. One of the main compliance requirements for mobile messaging is HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance and that protected health information (PHI) must be secured. HIPAA compliance is not optional.

Is Text Messaging HIPAA Compliant?

Not always. Here’s why:

  • SMS messaging isn’t secure and the data is vulnerable to unauthorized access in transmission.
  • Messages on a wireless provider’s server aren’t encrypted.
  • Messages can be deleted at any time by either the sender or receiver.
  • Smartphones can be lost or stolen, increasing the risk of exposure of PHI on the device.

You cannot simply use your phone to text a patient a diagnosis or ask a colleague their opinion. 

 

However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit mobile messaging, though neither does HIPAA provide specific recommendations for protecting PHI sent via mobile messaging. 

 

As with any other technology used to store or transmit PHI, the HIPAA Security Rule provides a list of controls that will allow secure mobile messaging when followed: unique user identification, automatic logoff, encryption/decryption, auditing, integrity management, authentication, and transmission security. 

 

HIPAA-covered entities and business associates must apply these rules to be able to use mobile messaging securely. 

 

4 Recommendations for Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare

Healthcare providers want to be able to share patient information via mobile devices to improve patient care. How can a HIPAA-covered entity take advantage of mobile messaging and stay within the HIPAA rules? These four recommendations will get you started.

  1. Conduct a risk analysis. Before implementing mobile messaging, assess the level of risk. Will users need more training to use the tools properly? Is the infrastructure robust enough to secure PHI? . 
  2. Factors for a secure texting platform. There are five factors to check for in a secure mobile messaging solution:
    1. Messages are encrypted in transit and at rest.
    2. The platform requires recipient authentication.
    3. Where does the data live? If it’s in a cloud platform, does it have secure hosting to archive and/or download sensitive content?
    4. Are emergency recovery procedures (data backup, disaster recovery, etc.) in place?
    5. If using a third-party provider, will the vendor sign a business associate agreement and commit to implementing administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect any PHI that the vendor accesses? 
  3. Audit trails and controls. Messages must have an audit trail to track who sent what data and when they sent it. Messages related to a patient should be stored as part of a patient’s health record. Document retention and disposal policies should be enforced as with any other record. 
  4. Policies for phone loss. Whether the smartphone used is personal or provided by the company, policies must be in place to prevent a breach of PHI. This can include the ability to retrieve and/or delete data remotely, requiring two-factor and/or biometric authentication to access the device, and extensive security training for users.

Mobile Messaging Can Be HIPAA Compliant

Solutions for secure, HIPAA-compliant mobile messaging exist and can be found on the Internet. Regardless of whether you create your own system or use an existing one, your organization is responsible for your patients’ PHI. 

 

Conduct reasonable due diligence, follow these four recommendations, and continually evaluate your cybersecurity defenses and your organization will reap the benefits of mobile messaging.

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What to Include in Your Incident Response Plan

What to Include in Your Incident Response Plan | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cybersecurity data breaches have almost become a way of life. We hear about businesses impacted by security incidents and data breaches every day. 

 

As the adage goes, it’s not “IF”, but rather “WHEN” a security incident will take place at your business. 

 

It is therefore a best practice for every business to create an incident response plan. An incident response plan delivers two cybersecurity benefits to your business:

 

  1. Systematic response to incidents which helps to minimize information loss or theft and service disruption.
  2. Use of the information gained from an incident to help prevent future threats by strengthening system protections and to be better prepared for handling future incidents.

 

A breach of your information is always stressful. Don’t compound that stress by not having a plan to address a successful cyberattack. 

 

Before creating an incident response plan, you must create an incident response policy.

 

Create an Incident Response Policy

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends in its Computer Security Incident Handling Guide that an organization should create a policy before building an incident response program.

This policy:

  • Defines which events will be considered incidents
  • Establishes the structure for incident response
  • Defines roles and responsibilities
  • Lists the requirements for reporting incidents

Develop your policy to include all applicable regulations and laws under which your business operates. Compliance requirements such as those associated with HIPAA and HITECH, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) will drive your policy requirements. 

The 4 Phases of the NIST Incident Response Lifecycle

Once the policy has been created, NIST outlines four broad phases an incident response plan should include.

NIST identifies four phases in an incident response lifecycle:

  1. Preparation
  2. Detection and Analysis
  3. Containment, Eradication, and Recovery
  4. Post-Event Activity

 

Each of the four phases includes a number of actions. Here’s an outline of what you can include in your organization’s incident response plan.

Preparation and Prevention

“Prevention” in the context of incident response is essentially your information security strategy and the software tools used to implement your strategy. It is your layered defense against cybercriminals -- firewalls, encryption, antivirus software, data backup, user training, etc. 

 

Part of being prepared is having a complete list of your information security tools (including any portions of your IT infrastructure managed by a third-party managed service provider). 

 

Effective response is based on communication. Smartphones are an excellent way to communicate with and coordinate team members while responding to an incident.

 

It may be a good idea to have some of the information below as hard copy or on devices not connected to an organization’s network (it will be difficult to coordinate a response if, for example, you are victimized by a ransomware attack and cannot access your plan):

  • Contact information for primary and backup contacts within your organization plus relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies that may need to be alerted
  • An incident reporting mechanism so users can report suspected incidents (phone numbers, email, online forms, or secure messaging systems)
  • Issue tracking system
  • Space to respond. Identify a permanent “war room” or temporary location where team members can centralize their response to the incident
  • Secure storage facility to keep evidence if needed

Detection and Analysis

Attacks can come from anywhere and take many forms - a denial of service attack, ransomware, email phishing, lost or stolen equipment (such as a laptop, smartphone, or authentication token), etc.

 

Once an incident is positively identified, follow defined processes to document the response (which can be helpful in showing a good faith effort to limit the impact of the breach on customer data should you end up in litigation or are investigated as the result of a breach).

 

Identify your affected networks, systems, and/or applications and determine the scope of the incident. From there, the response team can prioritize next steps from containment to further analysis of the incident. Recommendations for making analysis more effective include:

 

  • Profile networks and systems so changes are more readily detectable
  • Understand normal behavior so abnormal behavior is more easily spotted
  • Create a log retention policy
  • Perform event correlation
  • Keep all host clocks synchronized
  • Filter data to investigate the most suspicious data first
  • Run packet sniffers to collect additional data

 

These techniques should be used in conjunction with one another. Relying on a single method will be ineffective.

 

Document incidents as they are found. A logbook is one way to do so as are laptops, audio recordings, or a digital camera. 

 

Those affected by the incident need to be notified as well. For an incident that affects customers, a message on your website, email notification, or other communication will be needed. 

 

Often, breach notification procedures are driven by laws applicable to your industry, your state or your country, or a combination of these.

Containment, Eradication, and Recovery

Develop containment strategies for different incident types as containment for malware entering your network from an email will be different than for a network-based denial-of-service attack.

 

Document your strategies for incident containment so you can decide the appropriate strategy for the incident (e.g., shut down a system, disconnect it from the network, disable certain functions).

Once an incident is contained and all affected elements of the IT infrastructure have been identified the eradication and recovery process begins.

 

For larger systems, this could take months to move from high-priority to lower priority systems. Systems may be able to be restored from backup or may need to be rebuilt from scratch. As eradication and recovery proceed, steps can also be taken to tighten security measures. 

Post-Event Activity

Information security is an ongoing, iterative process. A key part of any incident response should be to learn from it:

  • Were the procedures followed? Were they effective?
  • Did we do anything that slowed the recovery process?
  • What could we have done differently?
  • Are there steps we can take to prevent a similar attack?
  • Were there indicators of the attack that we can use to prevent/detect a similar incident?
  • Do we need more resources to detect, analyze, and mitigate future events?

Apply what you learn to improve your cybersecurity defenses and response to the next incident.

Testing, Testing

Test your plan once per year. EIther working with an independent third-party or internally, create a scenario and walk your team through it.

 

This not only allows team members to understand their roles, but will also help you identify gaps or weaknesses in your plan. 

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What are HIPAA Operating System Requirements?

What are HIPAA Operating System Requirements? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The HIPAA Security Rule, requires covered entities and business associates to develop effective administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure protected health information (PHI) is secure.

 

The Security Rule does not impose minimum HIPAA operating system requirements for a business’ computer systems.

 

Indeed, the HIPAA Security Rule generally does not impose any specific HIPAA software requirements (including HIPAA operating system requirements) on entities.

 

No provision of the Security Rule tells you, for example, what kind of antivirus, antimalware, or firewall software to purchase.

 

 The absence of a security rule grocery shopping list is very much by design. The Security Rule was written to provide flexibility for covered entities to implement HIPAA cybersecurity measures that best fit their particular organizational needs.

What are HIPAA Operating System Requirements?

HIPAA indirectly regulates operating system requirements.  

The Security Rule mandates requirements for information systems that contain electronically protected health information, or ePHI. ePHI is defined as any protected health information that is created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format or media. Information systems must contain security capabilities, or features, that are sufficient to satisfy the technical safeguard implementation requirements of the Security Rule.

 

These HIPAA operating system requirements include (among others) audit controls, unique user identification, person or entity authentication, and transmission security.

 

The administrative safeguard implementation requirements of the Security Rule requires that entities perform a risk analysis, in which any known security vulnerabilities of an operating system should be considered. In performing the analysis, entities should ask themselves, “Is my operating system vulnerable to being exploited?

 

If an operating system is vulnerable to exploitation, the risk analysis must reflect that fact, and you must take whatever steps are reasonable to address the vulnerability.

When is an Operating System Vulnerable to Exploitation?

An operating system is vulnerable to exploitation when that operating system contains known vulnerabilities for which a security fix is unavailable.

 

Security fixes may be unavailable for a number of reasons. One reason why a fix might be unavailable is because the manufacturer of the operating system no longer provides support for that system, as in, no longer provides new security updates, non-security hotfixes, assisted support options, or technical content updates. This “dropping” of support for an operating system is colloquially referred to sunsetting of the operating system.

 

Microsoft “sunset” its popular Windows XP Operating System in 2014, advising users that security updates would no longer be provided for Windows XP. Microsoft advised users that “Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, are not considered secure.”

 

Windows XP was launched in 2001. In 2009, Windows released its Windows 7 operating system. The most current version of Windows, known as Windows 10, was launched in 2015.

 

Microsoft has announced that support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for computers using Windows 10. Accordingly, Microsoft has advised Windows users, “Now is the time to upgrade to Windows 10.”

 

Continuing to use an operating system that has known vulnerabilities identified in a risk analysis, does not suffice to meet the required risk management component of the HIPAA Security Rule. 

 

Risk management requires organizations to “Implement security measures sufficient to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to a reasonable and appropriate level.” By definition, if you are using an operating system that no longer offers security measure support, you are improperly managing your risk, and, if, as a result of that impropriety, your organization’s ePHI becomes compromised, you are subject to being audited and fined by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

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What your healthcare practice can learn from telemedicine companies

What your healthcare practice can learn from telemedicine companies | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

6 ways telemedicine companies satisfy patients

1. Convenient care

In the U.S., patients spend an average of 34 minutes traveling to receive healthcare services, according to Altarum. Add this to time in the waiting and exam rooms, and even a simple healthcare appointment can take hours out of their day.

 

Telehealth is a major time-saver because people can receive care from anywhere in a matter of minutes. This boosts patient satisfaction levels because it’s easy for people to fit appointments into a hectic schedule.

2. Short wait times

Virtual visits with telehealth providers allow patients to avoid long waits. For example, telemedicine company LiveHealth Online claims to connect patients to doctors in a matter of minutes.

 

This is important to people, as nearly one-third (30 percent) have walked out of an appointment due to a long wait time, according to Vitals. Furthermore, one-in-five has changed doctors because of long waits.

 

Clearly, patient satisfaction rates are largely tied to wait times, which likely plays into the growing popularity of telehealth companies.

 

3. After-hours assistance

People get sick at all hours of the day, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a traditional practice open at 2 a.m. Telemedicine companies make it possible for patients to receive care without having to make a pre-dawn trip to the emergency room.

 

For example, telemedicine company Virtuwell offers 24/7 care. This allows patients to seek treatment promptly at any time of day without leaving the comforts of their home.

 

Additionally, the ability to receive care at any hour makes treatment more accessible to patients who work during standard office hours. Telemedicine allows them to seek care without having to take time off work.

4. Cost-effective treatment

U.S. healthcare spending averaged $10,739 per person in 2017, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Insured patients typically only pay a portion of the total cost, but 8.5 percent of Americans (or 27.5 million) didn’t have any form of health insurance in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

Telemedicine companies make healthcare more affordable to everyone. For example, iCliniq offers an annual treatment plan for $99, where patients can receive 50 hours of online chat time with a family physician, general practitioner, or general surgeon.

5. Greater access to care

In rural areas, the patient-to-primary care physician ratio is just about 40 physicians per 100,000 people, according to the National Rural Health Association. 

 

This can make it difficult for people to receive standard care — and even more challenging if they need to see a specialist. Telemedicine companies are a game-changer for these communities because residents are able to get the care they need.

Beyond that, telehealth allows rural patients to have a choice of providers — something they might not have otherwise. In some cases, this can make it possible for them to receive better quality care than the offerings in their local region.

 

6. Increased patient engagement

Telehealth companies make it easier than ever for patients to take control of their health. When people have the right tools at their fingertips, there’s no excuse for not using them to better themselves.

 

Since telehealth offers convenient access to providers, patients are more inclined to reach out with questions and concerns. Taking an active role in their health can allow people to see positive results that encourage them to keep up the good work.

 

Telemedicine companies are surging in popularity, and that’s not likely to change. This doesn’t mean your brick-and-mortar practice will become obsolete, but there’s plenty of lessons to be learned.

 

Take a look at reasons these companies are so successful and, when possible, find ways to provide the same level of care. Gain a competitive advantage by offering the convenience patients want with the personal touch only a dedicated provider can give.

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CTI for Connectwise: How does it work on your Phone System?

CTI for Connectwise: How does it work on your Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

SMEs and large enterprises have found that IP (internet protocol) phone systems are cheaper, easier to use, streamlined, and scalable. In other words, they give users more features and better quality while reducing the costs of traditional phone systems.

 

IP phones allow users to be mobile: users have location flexible as well as access to different modes of communication. Agents can log in to the system, talk to clients, and video-conference inside or outside of the office.

 

Given increases in IP access and reductions in cost, companies are still incorporating IP phone systems and will likely continue this expansion for the foreseeable future. According to current research, the VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service market, which was valued at 83 billion dollars in 2015, is expected to surpass 140 billion dollars by 2021.

 

A CTI (computer telephony integration) application is a crucial part of the IP phone revolution of the twenty-first century. By allowing agents and users to combine their phones with their customer support software, companies can further streamline call center processes and maximize productivity.

 

CTI integration helps businesses with high volume manage telephone calls through one system, which can lead to greater productivity and customer satisfaction. CTI software can offer a host of different features, customized to businesses’ needs, to create a more sophisticated and efficient call center process.

 

CTIs can let agents make calls directly from their desktop computers, laptops, or mobile devices, which can free agents from the office and let them go mobile. CTIs give companies features such as intelligent call routing, which automatically routes calls to where they need to go. The speed of access has been shown to increase customer satisfaction; companies using CTI in conjunction with their 800-number service make sure customers get through faster and more effectively.

 

Moreover, CTIs incorporate features that streamline call times and provide client analytics, caller identification, and data recording. Broadly, CTIs allows call centers and other phone users up-to-date technology that allows seamless integration between phone services and computer features. In customer-service oriented businesses, such value-added services allow a company’s call center to be more efficient, skilled, and customer friendly than its competitors.

 

What is ConnectWise CTI and how can its features help agents be more productive?

 

ConnectWise has been helping companies manage IT for over thirty years. Today, its current CRM helps companies manage their sales pipeline, manage client-agent interactions, and integrate sales, data, and services into one system. In addition to sales, the CRM can automate functions in service and support to streamline processes and enable much better customer interaction.

 

ConnectWise CRM focuses on the centralization of information and real-time operational visibility. ConnectWise offers a host of project management systems, as well as dashboards for numerous third-party integrations. As such, ConnectWise CRM can function as companies’ dominant software system or be an add-on that serves as a technology platform on top of businesses’ other computing programs.

 

Geared toward IT service businesses and other technology companies, ConnectWise CRM focuses on ticket management, time tracking, billing and invoicing, inventory management, technician dispatch, and project management. The software offers high levels of customization and scalability for companies of all sizes.

 

As a call center management CRM, ConnectWise offers instant chat for simultaneous customer management, customizable prioritization, and dynamic mobility. Users can integrate websites and emails with chat, while managers can analyze team performance. The CRM’s elegant dashboard allows agents to manage a high-volume flow of calls efficiently and easily. ConnectWise CTI applications link the CRM to businesses’ VoIP phone systems. By using ConnectWise CTI software, VoIP phone services can join with the CRM’s host of specific programs in IT, sales, and services technology.

 

Features and benefits for businesses that thoroughly integrate phone systems with ConnectWise CRM:

 

Advanced technological infrastructure: ConnectWise CTI integration allows for native integration from CRM to phone service, with software created specifically for the ConnectWise CRM platform. ConnectWise CRM’s cloud-based service would allow a new call center or system to be up and running in hours or days, not months. Cloud-based integration maximizes space and minimizes on-premise infrastructure. Moreover, cloud-based CTI connection makes businesses more scalable. In this way, businesses can increase their volume of agents without adding on-site infrastructure and can do so quickly and easily.

 

Integrated Dashboard: ConnectWise phone integration lets users manage all aspects of calls from the screen. At a glance, users can see call histories and addresses. They can make, receive, and transfer calls directly through the system, which speeds up calls and allows agents to reach clients more quickly.  The dashboard is intuitive and easy-to-use, while also being customizable to fit companies’ or users’ specific needs.

 

Minimized data entry: With ConnectWise CTI, businesses can minimize data entry by logging key information about the call automatically. The CRM can log the interaction and include data that can be collected automatically, such as duration, caller, related leads or contacts. The function frees agents so they only have to enter non-automatic information. It also includes space for these notes.

 

Increased call capacity: With phone integration, users are able to minimize time wasted by searching for hyperlinks or typing in numbers. With a click to dial feature, agents can dial a phone number with one click when the number is on a web page, in an inbox, or a document. Furthermore, users can add a prospective client as a contact right from the popup, again reducing repetitive data entry.

 

Caller ID and Routing: Using ConnectWise integration, calls can be routed for higher efficiency. For example, calls can be accessed and routed by caller location, previous interactions between business and client, geographical field, language used, current agent availability, or a host of other factors. These factors optimize caller-agent relationships; by putting the most appropriate agent on the call, the CRM saves time and provides a better customer experience. Additionally, caller ID gives agents instant access to client information. Instead of having to search for customer profiles, users can have automatic access to clients’ locations, previous interactions, and professional details.

 

Task follow-ups: CTI integration makes collaboration and follow-up easier between colleagues. Because the system works in real-time and connects calls to data, involved team members can see what agents have done or what they plan to do. As such, tasks can be categorized and allocated automatically. The CRM can create events and plan callbacks so that there is always a potential next step for agent/client interaction already on the schedule.

 

Call analytics: With CTI integration, data becomes instantaneously shareable across teams and automatically synced. In this way, multiple agents can have access to real-time updates and new data. Moreover, ConnectWise CRM helps manage, organize, and analyze data. It can record and store customer configuration data in a centralized, accessible location, thus allowing agents and managers immediate access to a host of useful data, including contact databases, inventories, previous sales, and other crucial elements.

 

VoIP phone systems are the most efficient and cost-effect system to use in contemporary call centers and IT service departments. A badly integrated CRM, however, can be detrimental to a company in which business thrives on creating and maximizing opportunity. Not only must a company find the right CRM for its business, but it must also effectively coordinate its desktop services with its phone system. ConnectWise CTI phone integration works to allow users to have as much information as possible, get the right calls to the right person quickly, and create the best possible customer service interaction.

 

ConnectWise CTI applications allow VoIP phone systems to be seamlessly integrated with the ConnectWise CRM. With ConnectWise CTI phone integration, users can manage timelines, dial from their computers with one click, access significant data on potential clients and repeat customers, collaborate with other agents, and create a better customer service experience. Moreover, the cloud-based CRM is cost efficient, scalable and lacks the baggy infrastructure of on-premises servers. With ConnectWise CRM integrated into businesses’ phone systems, businesses can take the focus off of managing their system and instead, focus on their products.

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Telemedicine and Smart Cities

Telemedicine and Smart Cities | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

You can put the word "smart" in front of just about anything these days — including an entire city. But what does it actually mean?

 

The concept of smart cities is incredibly exciting. Cities have always been social, cultural and productive centers of society. But the city of the future will help us work and play even smarter, commute more quickly, and make use of more advanced and affordable products and public services. That includes health care.

As the world explores what smart cities are capable of, we're seeing more ways they'll impact the telemedicine industry and vice versa. Let's take a closer look.

 

A Holistic View of a City's Health 

 

Conducting a more proactive monitoring of public health is probably the most important part of a smart city's data-driven telemedicine system. Thanks to electronic health records, location technologies, and cheap and rugged remote sensors, public health officials have an easier time than ever studying disease patterns and profiles, tracking public health worries and outbreaks, communicating with the public about new issues and seasonal disease cycles, understanding and making changes to how people move about a city, and much more.

 

This brings us to one of the best features of smart cities: smart hospitals. A number of facilities across the U.S. are using more advanced devices and data-gathering systems to better understand changes, even in real-time, that concern citizens on a daily basis. These insights can cover any number of factors associated with city living, including air and water quality, the effects of weather and climate on health and even the relative stress and happiness in one city compared with another.

 

Better Access to Health Care Even in Rural Areas 

 

It's a long-running pattern, but residents of cities generally enjoy better access to health services and medical specialists. As a result, residents of rural areas, and those who live a little farther from city centers are more likely to suffer from chronic health problems and to have greater restrictions on their physical activities. Cities are known for their smog and pollution, but they offset some of the harm thanks to convenient access to health infrastructure.

 

Making cities even smarter seems at first glance like it might make health care inequality even worse. But it may actually do the opposite. Cities have more choices than rural areas when it comes to health care, but residents still face wait times and lines, often for issues that didn't require a visit in the first place.

 

To that end, we can expect that telemedicine will cut down on congestion in cities, plus make it far easier for rural residents to communicate with doctors and specialists with the same ease as rural citizens. With telemedicine and remote video consultations, distance from a metropolitan area is less likely to decide the quality of one's health care or their life.

 

More Efficient Public Institutions 

 

In the U.S. and elsewhere, it's a fact of life that countries must feed, clothe and shelter prison inmates and residents of correctional facilities. This portion of the population is frequently written off or forgotten about, but these are citizens too, and they deserve as quick and competent a response as anybody when they find themselves in poor health. 

 

Telemedicine can provide a vital function by making it easy for cities to see to inmates' health needs. New York City alone is home to around 55,000 residents of its correctional system, which means the already limited availability of specialist doctors isn't always able to answer the call. Instead, telemedicine makes it simpler for specialists to check in with patients when they can't be there in person while cutting down on the time and expense of transporting these individuals to appointments. 

 

Walkability and Self-Service Health Care 

 

Futuristic cities have long been depicted with swarms of flying cars, but that dream is still a little way off. In the meantime, we're busying ourselves rethinking our urban layouts, including making a push to install bike lanes and generally make our cities more walkable and more amenable to cleaner, healthier living. 

 

Smart technologies like internet-connected cars, plus city infrastructure that can talk to them, will make it easier than ever for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate intersections safely and quickly. Couple this with the fact that insurance companies increasingly turn to wearables to keep customers honest about -- and committed to -- healthy lifestyles. These wearables lend themselves to telehealth in a number of ways, from making remote data sharing simple, to automatically alerting emergency responders, for example, if an elderly resident falls in his or her apartment, or in a park, and can't signal for help themselves.

 

The truth is, we're only beginning to appreciate what's possible with telemedicine and smart cities. As more medical device manufacturers move into making devices for a connected world, while still maintaining the quality set in place by ISO 13485, it’s easy to see how the relationship between telemedicine and smart cities is just starting. 

 

The potential here is part of the reason why we will collectively activate some 36 billion internet-connected devices by the year 2021.  

 

By that time, we'll have even more robust industrial standards for helping public and private data systems work better together, and we'll have an even more thorough understanding of how the advancement of technology can improve how we live and how we pursue health care services. 

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Andrea Shaji's curator insight, November 18, 2019 7:18 PM
More advanced cities are the ones being benefited the most. 
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Future Scope of Computer Telephone Integration - Future of CTI

Future Scope of Computer Telephone Integration - Future of CTI | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For all intents and purposes, it does seem like the future of CTI is today. The technology has come a long way since the simple screen population technology.

 

In fact, back in 1996, an article by Guy Matthews predicted three CTI technologies that would shape how the masses communicate in the future: internet phones, faxback, and international callback. All of which are now readily available – or even basic – with today’s CTI technology.

 

So, what lies in the future of CTI? Has technology reached its peak? What should we look forward to when it comes to CTI integration?

The Future of CTI in the Clouds

Cloud computing has paved the way for the mass adoption of CTI, as well as other technologies. It has made powerful systems, platforms, and applications available to practically all kinds of businesses. Through scalable service offerings, small- and medium-sized businesses can use technologies, such as CTI, to compete on the same level as companies with more technical expertise and thicker wallets.

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That’s the beauty of cloud computing – and, in the world of IT, it is huge. Projections made by technology research company Gartner Inc. peg the worldwide market for public cloud services to be worth around $204 billion in 2016. Alongside this, the cloud application services (SaaS) industry is worth billions of dollars too, with a projected 20% yearly growth. The SaaS industry is seen to grow to $132.57 billion by 2020.
 

These numbers reflect the future of CTI. As the cloud computing industry grows, cloud-based CTI services become more accessible, at low leveled off rates. Because of this, the CTI market will lean further towards cloud-based services. You just won’t be able to deny the key selling points: cost-effectiveness, scalability, and accessibility.

CTI “Mobilization”

The future of CTI is also mobile. According to a study made by the Emergence Capital Partners (ECP), there are more than 300 mobile enterprise app companies in operation. These companies focus on key segments that include communications, task management, and events and contact management. This falls right in the turf of CTI integration and unified communications.

 

To date, there is an increased demand for a better communications platform, one that consolidates your interactions with your contacts, clients or prospects, whether it’s through voice, email, chat or SMS. This platform makes such information available across your desktop and mobile devices.

 

A future where mobile access is already a requisite part of CTI integration is a future where business booms. According to research firm Forrester, companies that encourage the use of mobile applications grow faster than those that don’t. After all, agents and employees who are not tied down to one place tend to become more accessible, reliable and productive.

Social Media Integration

Social media is part of the future of CTI too. Through CTI integration with business applications, such as CRM, communications on social media can be accessed through a singular platform. There is no need to switch platforms to respond to social media interactions.

 

What should be noted, however, is the increasing use of social media to interact with businesses. Companies miss out if they neglect interactions within this channel.

 

There is still a need to make social media communications easier and simpler for your agents and sales team. The future of CTI – where businesses get the full advantages of optimizing their marketing, sales and support processes – demands social media integration that is unified and efficient across all devices, regardless of agent location.

Improved Security

As with all technological advancements, communications technology deals with attempts to exploit its vulnerabilities on a regular basis. This is ‘business as usual’ in technology. However, with the massive amount of data that comes with CTI integration, the future of CTI has to be more secure. In fact, according to a 2016 survey by Society for Information Management (SIM), 36% of IT heads rank security as their number one concern

 

Improved security when it comes to CTI integration has to cover all the bases, from cloud-based data to on-site and third-party hosted information. Ultimately, this impacts how you do business and how you are perceived by your target market.

Better User Experience

Applications integrated with your CTI system upgrade fast and regularly. This improves the scope of technology. In many cases, upgrades also introduce new ways for you and your team to accomplish tasks and goals. This increased efficiency requires that you adapt to upgraded technology fast.

 

Improving the user experience through simplified and intuitive interfaces is a way to hasten your team’s learning curve. Improved interfaces are actually crucial since your CTI system is integral to your business’ day-to-day. The faster the learning, the quicker you can get back to efficient work.

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5 Barriers to Telemedicine Adoption and How to Overcome Them

5 Barriers to Telemedicine Adoption and How to Overcome Them | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine is one of the most notable advancements making waves in the digital transformation of healthcare. Telemedicine poses wins for healthcare organizations seeking to improve patient access while controlling costs, as well as healthcare consumers looking for more convenient ways to engage with providers.

 

With 71 percent of providers reporting the use of telehealthand telemedicine tools, it’s clear that the industry is sold on the benefits of virtualized care. Telemedicine market projectionssuggest that the industry will reach roughly $20 billion by 2025.

 

The patient and provider benefits of telemedicine are manifold—including reduced readmissions through remote patient monitoring, reduced costs via virtual access to specialists, and improved patient engagement—but barriers to adoption still linger. Here are five key challenges giving healthcare executives pause when it comes to telemedicine adoption and recommendations on how to successfully navigate those hurdles.

 

1) Understanding what comprises telemedicine. Due to varying state and federal definitions, as well as variance between Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payer guidelines on what constitutes telemedicine, confusion still exists regarding what services will and won’t be reimbursed. Establishing a keen understanding of what virtual services qualify and how those services are reimbursed for each payer is vital. This will lay the foundation for quantifying the potential revenue impact of adoption.

 

2) Concerns around the cost to implement. Costs associated with telemedicine program adoption can include a myriad of factors, from video conferencing adoption to remote patient monitoring expansion. To mitigate the potential for expense sprawl, executives should identify key, phase-one telemedicine service offerings. Weigh earnings potential against anticipated program implementation and support costs to justify those telemedicine coverage areas.

 

3) Added data vulnerability. With healthcare security breaches on the rise, executive teams remain cautious of any patient data exposure risk. Many view virtual care delivery as an additional layer of potential threat. As with other IT implementations, thorough security protocols and routine audits should be put in place to guard against the real-time exposure of protected health information (PHI).

 

4) Potential for fraud and abuse. Telemedicine agreements can be subject to federal kickback laws, particularly in situations involving referrals for additional services. Providers must remain up-to-date on the regulations governing telemedicine services to ensure regulatory compliance and proper eligibility for reimbursement.

 

5) Patient awareness of and trust in virtual care offerings. Even with the proper broadband and internet resources in place to support patient adoption of telemedicine, providers may encounter patient reluctance to engage virtually. Healthcare organizations must cultivate trust by educating patients on offerings and what they can anticipate during virtual visits. Providers should also address security concerns with patients.

 

To ensure that engagement in telemedicine is a long-term trend as opposed to a short-term fad, healthcare providers will have to address and overcome these challenges. By implementing a telemedicine strategy that addresses these challenges head-on, providers can overcome barriers and rise to meet growing consumer demand for more convenient provider engagement options. As more healthcare organizations pivot to embrace new digital health platforms, telemedicine adoption, specifically, is quickly emerging as a key differentiator in an increasingly competitive landscape.

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How to integrate HubSpot with CTI through your Phone System?

How to integrate HubSpot with CTI through your Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For sales reps or call center managers looking to combine the power of a CRM with a phone system, Computer telephony integration (CTI) is the answer. For many, that integration involves HubSpot. HubSpot CRM integrations apply the full depth of business intelligence to every consumer interaction, turning raw data into bottom-line ROI.

 

Why bother with computer telephony integration (CTI)?

 

Whether or not consumers realize it, call center representatives tend to know a fair amount about them by the time they say: “Hello”. That’s the power of CTI—pushing high-value, real-time data to employees engaged in human-to-human interactions with customers. That knowledge can solve problems more efficiently and offer subtle customer relationship support to retain more clients.

 

CTI can even aid call center representatives before the conversation begins. Pre-routing data gathering gleans information from consumers that sends calls to the most qualified representative. For consumers, this means an overall smoother experience. It lowers the chances of pogo-sticking from representative to representative while searching for the right person or department.

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For employees, pre-routing saves time. With entry-level questions already asked and answered, representatives can dive into the core issue immediately. (Consumers are grateful for quicker solutions as well.) Lowering the amount of live call time frees representatives to handle more consumers each day. The benefit to employers? Less call center staff.

 

While customers and call-center representatives may never interact more than once, CTI avoids the perception of communicating with a stranger. On a personal level, CRM data may contain notes that help representatives navigate a heated conversation with a demanding client. On a professional level, notes from previous calls—from contact history to technical solutions—can get representatives up to speed immediately.

 

Unique advantages of HubSpot CTI

 

HubSpot’s CRM tackles the so-called “tasks salespeople hate.” HubSpot’s promise is less time on spreadsheets and in Microsoft Outlook and more time interacting with customers. It’s about streamlined, centralized communication to support disparate teams of sales and customer service representatives working with clients. It’s also free in its basic format.

 

Combining HubSpot’s CRM with its automated inbound marketing tools—a prime source of HubSpot revenue—reflects the power of HubSpot integrations, even within their walled garden. The potential to transition internal HubSpot connections into a system-wide HubSpot CTI integration offers a glimpse at the potential of a start-to-finish sales and marketing platform.

 

For call center representatives, HubSpot phone integration empowers staff with more than basic consumer data. It can include notes and history related to sales staff interactions, or even knowledge about which marketing materials potential consumers have received or opened.

 

HubSpot reports that every phone call costs a company up to $15. This frequently puts companies in a bind: They want to satisfy consumers’ need to reach out quickly but avoid an inundation of calls that offer little sales potential. The knee-jerk reaction, according to HubSpot, is often to make phone numbers harder to find. But that solution serves company, not consumer, goals.

 

This is where data plays a critical role. HubSpot CTI can help prioritize and route calls according to various rules defined by CRM data. Avoiding the all-or-nothing approach when it comes to calls can make ROI more predictable for call centers and prioritize the time and energy of sales staff.

 

Post-call analysis can help refine an initial set of inputs from HubSpot CTI integration to develop an ongoing process of refinement. Because marketing and sales data live in the same location, call centers can also become a source of data for other agents at a company by pushing call analysis out to sales teams or marketing departments. Does a marketing department exist that wouldn’t want to learn about the correlation between specific marketing materials and sales?

 

How to Integrate HubSpot with a phone system

 

The process varies dependent on the phone system involved. These examples reflect the capacity and process for HubSpot CTI with major phone systems:

How CTI works with HubSpot

 

Identifying a caller’s number allows an integrated system to connect the phone number to a record in the HubSpot CRM. Once the CRM record and phone number are connected, HubSpot can deliver various datasets to the call center representative before the conversation even starts.

 

This data can include everything from the caller’s title to the history of interaction. For large call centers with divided responsibilities, this ensures the caller reaches the right representative first time round. That may mean reaching the person with the right technical skill set, or the ideal employee to manage a critical relationship with a high-value client.

 

Because representatives don’t need to seek out any of this information, they can maintain their focus on solving the consumer problem—or completing the sale.

 

What to Integrate for HubSpot-linked phone systems

 

There are several HubSpot integrations available. Some, like Auto-Dialer and Power Dialer, build efficiencies into standard call center activity (and useful efficiencies for sales staff making periodic follow-up calls). For example, HubSpot CTI integration allows employees to place a call by clicking a number directly in the CRM—no wasted time dialing, misdialing, or redialing numbers.

 

For new callers, HubSpot integrations allow the creation of new accounts, contacts, and leads. Inevitably, consumers change numbers and add or change points of contact. The ability to create or update accounts means none of this information is lost, and system-wide data stays consistent. For needs that go beyond the work of call center staff, HubSpot provides the ability to create a task for other team members quickly and easily.

 

Recording calls, call tracking, and call analytics offer a valuable post-mortem on client interactions that can help refine processes and reallocate resources.

 

Technical components of HubSpot CTI

 

While the exact nature of the applicable technical setup varies from provider to provider, all organizations must answer questions that affect implementation:

  1. Is the phone system managed in-house? In-house managed systems, common at large organizations, shift the technical burden to internal IT teams. A managed, cloud-based system migrates the bulk of the technical implementation to the phone system provider.
  2. Is the current phone system capable of HubSpot integration? The key integration feature is a VoIP system (rather than a traditional PBX landline system). VoIP is essential to connect CRM data with a phone system. Confirming the capability for HubSpot integration with the service manager or in-house technical team is an appropriate starting point.
  3. Which numbers will be included? Not every company phone will need HubSpot CTI. Identifying the subset of numbers that can extract value from CTI limits technical implementation to core components of the marketing and sales process.
  4. Who will have access to what? CTI integrations connect many data points, but not everyone needs access to all the data. (Certainly, not everyone needs editing access to all data.) Establishing a hierarchy of access that gets the right data to the right people at the right time is a fundamental step toward extracting value from a CTI investment. This should also include who has access to reports and the responsibility for implementing improvements based on call data.
  5. Where will calls be routed? Small call centers may receive all inquiries; large centers may develop specialties to handle certain clients or issues. Mapping a routing framework before implementation can avoid later headaches due to haphazard routing.
  6. Who will train and support call center staff? Every new system or integration has a learning curve. HubSpot CTI is no different. Even if staff are already familiar with a phone system and HubSpot as separate technologies, training to highlight the virtues of the integrated system will get more value from the linked platforms.

 

Ready, Set, Integrate

 

Acquiring consumer data is no longer a business challenge. If anything, the primary focus has become managing vast troves of data. Siloed information fails to take advantage of key integrations that can arm employees with the data they need to serve consumers more efficiently and close more sales.

CTI provides an opportunity to connect call center data with a CRM. For the many companies that rely on HubSpot, this integration can connect every dot throughout the customer journey. Understanding the technical capabilities and process for implementation provides a framework for connecting HubSpot with an existing or upgraded VoIP phone system.

 
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Cryptomining Malware Can Affect HIPAA Obligations

Cryptomining Malware Can Affect HIPAA Obligations | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The well-established security firm Check Point recently ranked cryptomining as the leading cyber-threat in healthcare – ahead of ransomware. Cryptomining malware, also known as cryptocurrency mining malware, refers to software programs and malware components developed to take over a computer’s resources and use them for cryptocurrency mining, without a user’s authorization. This hijacking of computer resources can result in a shutdown and even total systems failure.  Cryptomining is not specifically addressed by the HIPAA security rule. However, the threat of cryptomining malware should make covered entities and business associates evaluate their Security Rule compliance efforts, and, if necessary, implementing additional cybersecurity measures as needed to protect against this unique and powerful threat.

 

Under the HIPAA Security Rule, covered entities and business associates must implement administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information (ePHI). Cryptomining malware can compromise this confidentiality, availability, and integrity. To understand the nature of the threat posed by cryptomining malware, it is useful to first understand some basic concepts.


These include cryptocurrencycryptography, and cryptomining.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is digital money that can be purchased, transferred, and/or sold. Cryptocurrency exists solely on the Internet. This form of currency is not backed by anything tangible (such as gold), nor is it backed or managed by any bank or government. Cryptocurrency transactions, or trades, are changed and verified by a decentralized (not affiliated with anyone single entity) network of computers.

What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is a method of protecting information by encrypting it into an unreadable format known as ciphertext. Ciphertext can be converted to regular text through the process of decryption. Cryptography encrypts and protects the data used to help identify and track cryptocurrency transactions.

What is Cryptomining? 

Cryptocurrency miners engage in cryptomining to earn more cryptocurrency (often referred to as “coins” or “Bitcoins”). 

Here is how the mining process works:

Miners compete with other cryptominers to solve complicated mathematical problems. Solving the problems enables the miner to authorize a transaction and to chain together (blockchain) blocks of transactions. Once a transaction is included in a block, it is secure and complete.

For his or her mining activities, the miner receives a small amount of cryptocurrency of his or her own, The more currency a miner “mines,” the more currency a miner ends up owning. Cryptocurrency can then be sold for actual cash. 

So, you may now be thinking, …..

“What Does Any of This Have to do with HIPAA Health Care?”

Crpyotmining malware is surreptitiously installed on a user’s computer. Once it is installed, the  cryptomining malware turns the affected computer, in effect, into a mining operation – one through which the miners solve their math problems and “earn” their coins and cash.

Here’s the problem: Cryptomining has an enormous appetite for computer power.  As the malware is enabling the mining, the mining process consumes significant computing power, bandwidth, and even electricity.  Particularly persistent forms of malware consume resources even after a user has logged off.   

Eventually, a device or a network may simply become unable to mining malware’s energy requirements, causing the device or network to crash.

Since any Internet-connected device can be infected with cryptomining malware, those devices used by covered entities or business associates that are missing essential security features – which features include, but are not limited to, antivirus software, firewalls, updates and patches for operating systems – can, upon a malware attack, shut down or experience total system failure.  ePHI data thus becomes compromised. As in, lost, rendered inaccessible, or damaged beyond repair. The HIPAA Security rule thus becomes implicated, and, if an organization is found to have implemented ineffective security safeguards, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) can audit and fine that organization.

Compliancy Group Simplifies HIPAA Compliance

Covered entities and business associates can address their HIPAA cybersecurity compliance obligations under the Security Rule by working with Compliancy Group.

Our ongoing support and web-based compliance app, The Guard™, gives healthcare organizations the tools to address HIPAA cybersecurity issues so they can get back to confidently running their business. 

Find out how Compliancy Group has helped thousands of organizations like yours Achieve, Illustrate, and MaintainTM  their HIPAA compliance!

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How Does a Cloud Phone System Work?

How Does a Cloud Phone System Work? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What Is a Cloud-Based Phone System?

A cloud-based system is a phone system that uses your internet connection instead of traditional phone wires or cellular services.

How Is a Cloud Phone System Different From Traditional Phone Systems?

Traditional business phone systems consist of three components. The telephones, the PBX software and hardware that controls calls and handles other features like voicemail, and a physical connection to the telephone network through PRI lines.

 

That’s a lot of software and hardware for a business to pay for, install, and maintain.

 

Cloud phone systems (also called VoIP) make all of that unnecessary. Your provider takes care of the software and hardware. All you need is a connection to the internet and an endpoint which can be a traditional desk phone, software in your browser, or an app on your mobile phone.

 

You get out of the business of running a phone system, but get to enjoy all of the features of an enterprise-class solution. How cool is that?

What Is the Call Quality Like?

Call quality was a big problem in the early days of VoIP, but now that high-speed broadband connections are ubiquitous, call quality is usually exactly the same as a traditional land-line.

 

Of course, you need to test any solution you consider to make sure it plays well with your broadband and devices. Look for a solution that doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract.

What About My Cell Phone?

Your cloud phone service should be as portable as the internet connection you use.

 

Some providers even offer an app to make using your cell phone easier. This makes it easy for your employees to answer work calls on their cell phones without anyone knowing the difference.

Can a Cloud System Grow As My Business Grows?

Absolutely. Many businesses start small, with a few employees or even just one owner. They then grow to employee hundreds or thousands.

 

With a traditional system, you would need the help of a full IT team to add additional lines or extensions. You would need to rewire the copper wires on-site if you want to add any upgrades.

 

With a cloud-based system, an administrator just needs to use the admin panel. From there, he or she can add anything they’d like. No on-site maintenance needed.

 

Not to mention the fact that it can make a smaller business look even larger and more professional.

How Secure Is It?

There are always security risks in a phone system. With a cloud system, there are far more security measures.

 

Data encryption, network security, HIPAA-compliance measures, secure voice, and video, and more all work together to make sure your calls are safe.

No Maintenance, Really?

With a cloud-based system, you don’t have to worry about any maintenance. Any time there is an update (bug fixes, net features), they are added to the software.

 

Then, as those updates are released, your business phones will automatically update. You can focus on the parts of your business that really matter, not on your phone upgrades.

How Much Will a Cloud-Based System Cost?

A cloud-based system is surprisingly affordable. The biggest cost to think about is the internet connection. But, if you already have that, then you only need to think about the setup and the monthly bill.

 

Prices vary based on features, so it’s smart to shop around. One word of caution, however. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Make sure you add features, quality, flexibility, and support into the equation during your evaluation.

 

You can absolutely find an affordable solution that will meet your needs.

 

When you do the math, a full year of a cloud system will cost far less than half the prices of a typical system.

 

How Difficult Is the Setup?

Every solution is different, so keep setup in mind when you look at your options. With Phone.com, you simply fill in a few details about your needs and business, log into the control panel, add the ap to your mobile phone and begin making calls right away.

Choosing the Right System

Depending on your business size, needs, and budget, there are several provider options.

 

Phone.com is a solid option for almost any business size looking to get the right phone system installed.

 

In addition to all the usual perks that come from a cloud-based phone system, phone.com users also get extra features like call blocking, call screening, hold music and more.

 

Thanks to these tools callers believe they are dialing into a large and professional organization (even if you’re just getting started).

Cloud-Based Systems Are The New Age Phones

Businesses are walking away from traditional phone systems and it’s easy to see why. A cloud phone system offers a maintenance-free solution to voice service worries.

 

Everything is hosted off-site, on secure networks, and to top it off, it’s easy on your pockets.

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Bedside Manners Via Telehealth – Understanding How Your Screenside Manners Matter

Bedside Manners Via Telehealth – Understanding How Your Screenside Manners Matter | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Using telehealth technology still requires good bedside manners - just call it your screen side or website manners. So what do providers need to know that is different between an in-person encounter compared to a telehealth encounter? 

 

The space involved with making that first impression via telehealth is significantly smaller than meeting in-person in a clinical setting.  Besides being two-dimensional, your space is limited to the size and quality of the monitor projecting your image on the other end of the connection. 

 

You only get one chance to make a first impression – so make it good.

 

Important factors to consider to help develop and maintain a positive patient-provider relationship:

 

Prior to encounter – being prepared is always the best practice.

  • Equipment – understand how to use and test; know who to contact to troubleshoot; ensure good placement of the camera, microphone, and speakers
  • Physical space – clear of distractions; good lighting; private and secure (HIPAA)
  • Provider Appearance – professional; solid, non-distracting (preferably light blue) colors
  • Preparation – review patient history chart/file

 

During the encounter – a little extra explanation can go a long way to foster relationships.

 

  • Confirm connection quality (hear/see) and security of space (HIPAA)
  • Introduce self (and others), organization/location
  • Have patient introduce self and any others in the room
  • Explain the process of taking notes, and only briefly looking away from the camera as necessary, otherwise maintain eye contact
  • Periodically ask the patient if he/she has any questions or anything to say
  • Reiterate any instructions or follow-up procedures for a patient prior to disconnecting

 

Developing your screen-side manners in today’s telehealth world is just as essential as developing good bedside manners. 

 

Patients still need to feel they are being heard and understood by their provider whether in-person or via video connection. The tasks that happen during an in-person visit, (e.g., jotting down notes, or looking at an image), are seen directly by the patient.

 

These same actions may not be as visible via video, and require some explanation to keep the patient engaged. The patient still needs your full attention.

 

Empathy is no less important in telemedicine. Being prepared, clearly communicating, and focusing on your patient will help foster a positive patient-provider relationship.

 

 You can still make meaningful eye contact via telehealth, but the trick is looking directly at the actual camera, and not the projected image of the patient on your screen.

 

Body language can speak louder than words, but telehealth creates a situation where not all body language is actually visible. 

 

While a thoughtful hand to the chin while thinking maybe commonplace, on video the same action might communicate disinterest. 

 

Controlling reactionary movements is vital for telehealth. While standing bedside, a simple action like shifting weight from one leg to another has minimal visual impact compared to being on video and then seeming to shift out of the view of the camera.

 

Similar to developing a good bedside manner, a good screen-side manner takes practice.  Telehealth is unique in that you can record yourself and review the video before ever connecting with a patient.

 

By examining your recording, you can get a better understanding of the patient’s perspective of the telehealth connection. This process allows you to make adjustments that might not happen otherwise, creating the best patient encounter possible.

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Top 10 Applications of Computer Telephony Integration

Top 10 Applications of Computer Telephony Integration | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

There are countless of CTI (computer telephony integration) applications that make implementing the technology one of the best things you can do for your business.

 

1. Pop-up Screen/ Screen Popping


CTI integration allows you to implement a pop-up screen interface for your agents. Through this, you get a feel of the immense possibilities when communication integrates with information.

 

The screen popping CTI application opens up a dashboard whenever your agent interacts with a caller. This shows relevant information about the caller, as you’ve configured it in the system and depending on the applications and software you’ve integrated with your CTI.

 

You can display and log call origin, IVR selection, authentication status, as well as the caller’s issues, purchase history and support history, among other data.

 

2. Speed Dialing


CTI’s speed dialing system is perfect when your team has to meet outbound call objectives.

 

Speed dialers can be configured to continuously make calls, bypassing wrong numbers and busy signals. Agents are patched in only when a person answers the other end of the line.

 

This often comes with a report on call volume, wait times and other call metrics. Increase the productivity of your sales team through CTI’s speed dialing.

 

3. Phone Flexibility/ Phone Control


How you make yourself accessible to your clients, prospects, and the team is flexible through CTI’s phone control or phone flexibility application.

 

You can easily configure the system to “find you” when you’re not logged into the system. Use your mobile devices or laptop to connect.

 

This can set you and your team apart from the competition. Accessibility can be your edge when it comes to sealing deals and starting co-beneficial business relationships.

 

4. Call Routing


CTI’s intelligent call routing lets you become more responsive to your callers. Route calls according to their IVR selection, demographics, call history, agent specialization, and availability, among other factors.

 

This can mean faster call processing, happier (or less frustrated) callers, and more efficient call agents.

 

5. Call Transfers


Call transfers are also better implemented through CTI. This isn’t just about transferring calls from person to person.

 

CTI’s call transfer application allows for seamless agent transitions, wherein data about the caller is transferred too.

 

This unburdens the caller from having to repeat their information. It cuts call processing time, which is especially important in compound support calls.

 

6. IP Telephony and Conferencing


Collaboration has improved by leaps and bounds because of IP telephony, particularly through its low-cost IP-based broadband multimedia telecommunications.

 

A direct result of this is the more rampant use of conferencing applications.

 

In the past, sales presentations had to be done in person. Inside salespeople, then, were not as effective as those in the field.

 

Today, the location has become irrelevant. IP telephony and conferencing applications bridge the gap – connecting agents with prospects and customers as if they’re meeting face-to-face.

 

How effective your team is in utilizing this application depends on their skills, and the available sales information and supporting tools.

 

The technology is already there – fully developed – for you to integrate and optimize your sales processes.

 

Other IP telephony and conferencing applications include team collaboration, multi-location meetings, and remote training sessions.

 

7. IVR (Interactive Voice Response)


Your IVR application is perhaps your first-line interaction with your audience. It is your first try at making a good impression. Configure your CTI’s IVR application correctly and optimally, and you get efficient, personalized and data-driven interactions – not to mention, happier customers and prospects.

 

Your IVR application uses keypad and voice DTMF tones to communicate with your servers. Through IVR selections, callers can reach specific persons or departments.

 

They can also do basic account processes, such as status inquiries and password updates, among other tasks.

 

An optimally configured IVR can cut down call processing time, reduce call traffic and make a good first impression.

 

8. Advanced Call Reporting Functions


One of the best things about CTI is that you can put together data into reports that help you see the big picture. Analyze the many aspects of your business, such as call traffic, inbound and outbound sales calls, and support requests.

 

Through CTI’s advanced call reporting functions, you can parse through historical data to gain insight on how effective your team or call agents are.

 

See where there are support gaps and do something about it. You can also assess real-time data when you want to zoom in on your agent’s interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

 

9. Voice Recording Integration


Voice recording integration plays an important role in contact centers where the quality and integrity of interactions are crucial. Voice recording applications allow you to record and archive voice calls in order to improve your team’s effectiveness, reduce liabilities and comply with industry standards (such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard/ PCI DSS).

 

Record calls and accesses these later on for future assessment. Or, you can also conduct real-time monitoring across mixed telephony environments.

 

Through Voice Recording Integration, you don’t just have textual data as the basis for agent training, reporting and assessment.

 

You also have voice data that protect you from liabilities and support the initiatives and changes you implement for your operations.

 

10. Call Center Functions


Because the development of CTI into what it is now was partly in response to the needs of the call center industry, it’s not a big surprise that call center functions are some of CTI’s top applications.

 

Automatic caller authentication, whisper coaching, call barging and warm transfer (among so many more call center functions) are key functions that drive the adoption of CTI technology.

 
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Telemedicine and HIPAA 

Telemedicine and HIPAA  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The digital age has presented numerous benefits for a variety of economic sectors with the health industry among the biggest winners.

 

From faster communication between patients and health professionals to better service delivery, health organizations have seen improvements in a variety of daily operations.

 

Sadly, the digital age is a double-edged sword, and as more health organizations use the latest technology, there is the looming threat of poor data security.

 

Threats such as the WannaCry ransomware attacks, which have wreaked havoc on the economy to date, are a constant reminder that data security should be a priority for organizations looking to leverage advancements in technology.

 

For instance, while telemedicine promises improved service delivery, it introduces a security complexity.

 

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations have been a cornerstone for setting and raising the security standards in healthcare, and telemedicine might actually make it easier for health organizations to remain compliant.

 

At the same time, a lot has to be done to improve the security loopholes presented by such technologies.

 

Here are how HIPAA and Telemedicine fit with each other and the things that need to be done for better data security.

The Constant Threat Of A Data Breach

Data collected by health organizations can be a gold mine for most threat actors. Some of the Protected Health Information (PHI) data include personal addresses, names, medical history, identification numbers, and even credit card numbers.

 

In the wrong hands, these data can be used for identity theft, for buying medical supplies fraudulently, or even holding health data at ransom as in the case of WannaCry attacks.

 

The sad truth is that ePHI will be at the disposal of threat actors unless the right security controls are put into place.

 

First, unless internal organization systems are strong enough, it can be easy for hackers to gain access to networks or even user accounts. In some cases, they may only need to access a low-level user account before escalating their privileges.

 

Second, when it comes to third party business stakeholders, failing to pick security-concerned partners will easily lead to data breaches.

 

Lastly, insider threats continue to be a risk. If access control isn’t a staple of a health organization’s security system, it can be easy for a disgruntled employee to offer this data out to threat actors. All these are concerns that can be handled by HIPAA compliance, and embracing telemedicine with HIPAA compliance at the back of your mind is a step in the right direction.

How Telemedicine Has Revolutionized The Health Sector

In a nutshell, telemedicine has made the transfer of medical data at a distant quite easy. Diagnoses, medical history, lab tests, and prescriptions can be transferred more easily and cheaper than normal. It also saves the costs of having to transfer patients from their homes to hospitals for diagnoses that could easily be done via video calls.

The HIPAA Rules That Affect Telemedicine

The HIPAA guidelines cover more than the patients and doctors communicating ePHI at a distance. It deals with the communications channels and any third party involved in the communication process. Ideally, for telemedicine to be compliant with HIPAA, the parties involved need to comply with these security rules:

 

  • Ensure that only the authorized parties gain access to ePHI
  • The channels of communication used to communicate ePHI at a distance ought to be secure enough to the standards of HIPAA.
  • There needs to be a system in place for monitoring the different communications containing ePHI to prevent the chances of accidental or malicious data breaches.

 

As long as physicians have effective safeguards in place for addressing access control, the first bullet point should be easy to comply with.

 

As for the second point, insecure channels such as email, Skype, and SMS are eliminated from ever being used. Lastly, the onus is upon those in charge of the ePHI technology to ensure that there are systems in place that can help monitor communication and facilitate the deletion of unused data if the need arises.

 

Both of the last points also look to address issues relating to where ePHI is stored.

Why Conventional Communication Channels Might Not Suffice

If the ePHI created by a physician (covered entity) is stored by a third party, the third-party and the covered entity have to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

 

The BAA ought to include details about the methods the third party will use to secure the data and procedures for auditing the data’s security in accordance with the HIPAA guidelines.

 

Since the copies of ePHI are bound to remain in the servers of conventional communication firms, such as Google, Verizon, and Skype, the covered entities ought to have a BAA with such bodies to remain compliant with HIPAA.

 

Sadly, Verizon, Google, and Skype might not enter into such BAAs, meaning that the covered entities will remain liable for fines for any breaches that occur from the lack of HIPAA compliance by these third-party entities.

 

The covered entities, telemedicine providers, might also fail HIPAA audits.

Aligning Compliance And Telemedicine

The ideal messaging solution should be secure. It should also offer the same communication speed as Skype, SMS, or email, while also complying with the HIPAA security rule.

 

This means that only authorized users should be allowed to access ePHI, the communication channel should be secure, and it should be fairly easy to monitor the activity on the channel.

 

The channels of communication should also be user-friendly enough for both patients and physicians to use during interactions.

 

Each authorized user can gain access to the channel through a centrally-issued username and password, which allows them to communicate with other users within the private communication network of the covered entity.

 

The channel should allow all types of communications, including images, documents, and videos.

 

These media should be encrypted both while in transit and at rest. As for monitoring the communication, the messages should be monitored through a cloud-based platform to ensure secure messaging policies are adhered to according to HIPAA rules.

Telemedicine Makes HIPAA Compliance Easier

While this might seem hard to believe, telemedicine might actually make compliance to HIPAA easier for health entities. Unlike convention medical services that had to introduce HIPAA compliance as an afterthought, telemedicine can be crafted with HIPAA compliance at the center of it all.

 

As such, any applications and technologies used in the communication of ePHI at a distance can leverage the latest technological advancements and data security practices.

 

These can include multiple data encryption methodologies and even comprehensive system testing.

 

Any partnerships with third-party vendors will also be based on whether they can have a sustainable BAA with them or not.

 

Telemedicine presents too big an opportunity to be ignored. Even better, the HIPAA guidelines can act as a baseline for security standards for health organizations looking to embrace telemedicine.

 

Since it is easy to be compliant, keen organizations can enjoy its perks without fearing costly fines.

 
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Top 10 Phone Systems That Work Best With Salesforce

Top 10 Phone Systems That Work Best With Salesforce | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Computer telephony integration (CTI) has transformed communications. This powerful technology — which enables computers to interact with telephone systems — lets companies engage with their customers, improve collaboration and automate call handling tasks.

 

There is an abundance of CTI technologies out there. One of these is Salesforce, which offers a fully integrated, cloud-based telephony solution for businesses. Here are ten phone systems that integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

1. Avaya

Avaya has been at the forefront of telephony technology for years. Salesforce-Avaya integration, however, lets marketers make personalized calls and capture valuable call data. Now, they can automate many of the tasks associated with telephone marketing — like call dialing and data entry — and seamlessly move customers through the sales lifecycle.

 

Combining Avaya and Salesforce provides businesses with multiple ways to connect with their clients. They can integrate social network profiles, for example, or send out an email during a phone call. Companies use these platforms to reduce IT and staff overheads, streamline their sales processes and communicate more efficiently with their customers.

2. Asterisk

Marketers who integrate Asterisk with Salesforce automate their entire workflow. This technology allows teams to engage with their clients, follow up on lucrative leads, and facilitate conference calls. With Salesforce, businesses have everything they need on one screen, including customer information and upsell opportunities.

 

An Asterisk-Salesforce integration eliminates the need for data entry. Calls are logged through the Salesforce CTI platform automatically, and marketers access valuable analytics — call volume reports, customer wait times, average call length, etc. — with just a click of a button.

3. Cisco PBX

Cisco PBX phone systems have revolutionized telephony communications for many small businesses. Now, Cisco PBX CTI integration provides businesses with unparalleled insights into their customers. The result? More effective telemarketing, better customer engagement, and greater revenue growth.

 

Companies who combine Cisco PBX with Salesforce capture interactions and create tasks that automate sales processes. There’s no more data entry — Salesforce logs call durations, notes, customer information, etc. — and call analytics generate real-time metrics that help brands fine-tune their marketing campaigns. What’s more, Cisco PBX-Salesforce saves all of this information in the cloud, which provides brands with peace of mind.

4. Nextiva

Nextiva is an award-winning cloud-based phone service provider. Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM system, with more than 100,000 business customers. Nextiva-Salesforce integration enhances the entire caller experience and provides marketers with powerful business intelligence.

 

The combination of these two technologies lets brands recognize incoming callers, log notes, review call histories, add sales gamification, and more. Accurate analytics lets marketers target customers at every point during the sales cycle, too, from the first contact through to the final purchase. Sales teams access all of this valuable data from one centralized, easy-to-use dashboard.

5. RingCentral

RingCentral specializes in cutting-edge call solutions, with a suite of tools that enhance business messaging, video conferencing and team collaboration. RingCentral-Salesforce integration, however, takes telephony to the next level. This technology powers small, medium, and large firms that want to boost productivity and reduce the costs associated with call handling.

 

With RingCentral and Salesforce, brands manage complex data flows and target valuable customer segments through their telemarketing. This platform keeps everything in one place: call recordings, call histories, contact information, metrics, and gamification. A unified dashboard combines call logs and data for better quality assurance and compliance, too.

6. 3CX

3cx is a software-based IP phone system that powers Salesforce. When talk teams fuse these two technologies, they deliver better customer service and drive business growth. 3cx-Salesforce integration lets agents identify incoming calls and route them to the correct department, which saves both time and money.

 

Businesses get real-time call insights, which fuel marketing campaigns and provides them with valuable business intelligence. They can personalize call experiences, too, something that increases customer engagement and moves callers through the sales funnel. Personalization provides brands with a hefty return on their investment: companies reach more prospects in a quicker timeframe.

7. Elastix

Elastix innovates communications by blending email, instant messaging, IP and PBX. Agents get more out of their marketing and sales campaigns, however, when they integrate this solution with Salesforce — cloud-based CRM software that bridges the gap between companies and their customers.

 

Elastix and Salesforce integration sends sales into the stratosphere and produces shorter lead response times. Agents can also convert more prospects into paying customers, which accelerates revenue. These two technologies are powerful tools for customer service, too. Company representatives resolve customer problems quickly by accessing call logs and leaving notes for staff in other departments.

8. 8×8

8×8 is a tech brand that produces VoIP PBX systems for small and medium companies. Combining these products with a Salesforce Dialer, though, could consolidate sales and marketing efforts and provide a stable, reliable CTI platform that improves lead conversion.

 

With 8×8-Salesforce integration, marketers and customer service staff can view customer information — contact details, previous interactions, likes, interests, etc. — before, during and after a phone call, which provides agents with opportunities to upsell and cross-sell products and services. They can also check call histories to solve pain points and provide solutions to common problems. There’s no need for data entry, either: Salesforce logs information automatically.

9. Panasonic PBX

Salesforce integration for Panasonic PBX optimizes connectivity and lets businesses engage with prospects through a simple dialer. Companies can record, log, and track calls — all from a simple user interface — and then maximize call performance. The combination of these two technologies provides businesses with other benefits, too.

 

Talk teams can route calls from a toll-free number and send out SMS messages during or after a phone call. Then there’s call analytics, which helps companies pinpoint trends and patterns among their customer base.

 

Panasonic PBX has been a leader in business telephony for more than 25 years. But brands can expect even better results when they integrate this telephone system with Salesforce.

10. Microsoft Lync

When Microsoft Lync and Salesforce join forces, businesses can leverage the latest telephony technology. With click-to-dial, for example, marketers can click on any phone number on any web page and communicate with customers and clients. The click-to-dial feature also works on spreadsheets and emails.

 

Managers can access critical call analytics, too. These metrics help companies reduce call handling times and identify sales staff who generate the most revenue. All of this information is available on a single dashboard, making it easy to spot the latest telemarketing insights.

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HIPAA Compliant Laptops

HIPAA Compliant Laptops | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
HIPAA Compliant Laptops

HIPAA regulations require healthcare organizations and individual care providers to take measures to keep patient data secure. Failure to do so can result in fines if an organization suffers a breach of unsecured PHI. 

 

The HIPAA Security Rule requires that mobile devices be rendered secure. Security Rule requirements needed for HIPAA-Compliant laptops are discussed below.

What is a Security Risk Assessment?

The HIPAA Security Rule requires that covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with a HIPAA-related transaction), and business associates implement security safeguards.

 

These security safeguards must protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information (ePHI). ePHI is any protected health information that is created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format.

 

The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities and business associates to perform a security risk assessment (also known as a Security Risk Analysis). 


Performing a security risk analysis is the first step in identifying and implementing these safeguards. Performing this assessment is also required to have a HIPAA-compliant laptop.

 

A security risk analysis consists of conducting an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI. 

What are the Elements of a Security Risk Analysis?

The security risk analysis includes six elements:

  • Collecting Data
  • Identifying and Documenting Potential Threats and Vulnerabilities
  • Assessing Current Security Measures
  • Determining the Likelihood of Threat Occurrence
  • Determining the Potential Impact of Threat Occurrence
  • Determining the Level of Risk to ePHI

What is the Relationship Between the Security Risk Assessment and HIPAA-Compliant Laptops?

A risk assessment encompasses a company’s entire IT infrastructure; company policies; administrative processes; physical security controls, and all systems, devices, and equipment that are capable of storing, transmitting or touching ePHI. 

 

These devices include laptops. To have HIPAA-compliant laptops, organizations must conduct a risk assessment, which will provide companies with vital information as to how laptop security measures can be improved or implemented.

 

What Safeguards Must be Implemented to have HIPAA-Compliant Laptops?

In order for covered entities to have HIPAA-compliant laptops, covered entities must:

  • Consider the use of encryption for transmitting ePHI, particularly over the Internet. 
    • If a risk assessment has determined that lack of encryption presents a risk, encryption should be implemented.
    • A covered entity violates HIPAA if it allows transmission of ePHI over an open network, such as via HHS messages.
    • Encrypt data in motion, if it has been determined that ePHI transmission, if not encrypted, would be at significant risk of being accessed by unauthorized entities.
    • Implement access controls to ensure users are authenticated. 
      • Organizations should implement multi-layered security controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized data access.
      • Put protections in place to ensure data cannot be altered or destroyed
      • Put controls in place to allow devices to be audited.
        • Organizations must have the capability to examine access (and attempted access) to ePHI, and any other activity performed on the device that has the potential to affect data security.
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Why Cyber-Security Is Important For Your Dental Practice

Why Cyber-Security Is Important For Your Dental Practice | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

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

 

Due to the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-threats, it’s more important than ever to keep your computer systems secure. However, if you’re unsure how to protect your data, you certainly aren’t alone.

 

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

 

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

 

PROTECTING YOUR DATA REQUIRES MORE THAN AN ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

WHAT CAN THREATS & ADVANCEMENTS BE EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE?

 

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

 

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

 

Using a certified EHR or Electronic Health Records system will help keep your patients’ information safe, certified EHRs are tested by the government to make sure it is of the highest security standards.

 

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

 

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

 

Luckily, you’ll have the opportunity to protect these smart devices with cyber-security technologies that are more advanced and effective than ever.

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HIPAA and Medical Record Copy Fees

HIPAA and Medical Record Copy Fees | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Patients often request copies of their medical records. Traditionally, state law governed the subject of medical record copy fees.

 

State laws typically permit providers to charge a per-page copy fee, of up to a certain dollar value, or to charge a flat fee of up to a certain amount for the entire medical record. Many covered entities simply charge the maximum amount that state law allows. 

Such state laws (and the healthcare providers acting in accordance with them), however, cannot do an end-run around the HIPAA right of access rules, the latter of which provide that medical record copy fees must be reasonable.

 

Medical record copy fees that are flat fees, untethered to the actual costs of reproduction, may be considered excessive under the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s right of access provisions. When the two laws are in conflict, HIPAA, the federal law, prevails.    

The HIPAA Privacy Rule’s Right of Access and Medical Record Copy Fees

This point – that HIPAA preempts contrary state law – has been reiterated under guidance provided by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Civil Rights. This guidance specifies that HIPAA, through its right of access provisions, limits the amounts that a covered entity may charge a patient requesting access to his or her medical records.

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule Right of Access, medical record copy fees must be reasonable and cost-based.

This means that providers may only charge for the following:

  • Labor for copying the PHI requested by the individual, whether in paper or electronic form.  

           i)Labor for copying includes only labor for creating and delivering the electronic or paper copy in the form and format requested or agreed upon by the individual, once the PHI that is responsive to the request has been identified, retrieved or collected, compiled and/or collated, and is ready to be copied.

 

Labor for copying does not include:

  • Costs associated with reviewing the request for access; 
  • Searching for and retrieving the PHI, which includes locating and reviewing the PHI in the medical or other records, 
  • Segregating or otherwise preparing the PHI that is responsive to the request for copying.
  • Supplies for creating the paper copy (e.g.,  paper, toner) or electronic media (e.g., CD or USB drive) if the individual requests that the electronic copy is provided on portable media.  
    • However, a covered entity may not require an individual to purchase portable media; individuals have the right to have their  PHI e-mailed or mailed to them upon request.
    • Labor to prepare an explanation or summary of the PHI, if the individual in advance both chooses to receive an explanation or summary and agrees to the fee that may be charged

 

In sum, costs associated with updates to or maintenance of systems and data, capital for data storage and maintenance, and labor associated with ensuring compliance with HIPAA (and other applicable law) in fulfilling an access request (e.g., verification, ensuring only information about the correct individual is included, etc.) and other costs not included above, even if authorized by State law, are not permitted for purposes of calculating the fees that can be charged to individuals.

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6 Communication Tips to Regain Patient Trust After a Medical Record Breach

6 Communication Tips to Regain Patient Trust After a Medical Record Breach | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Even with a perfect cybersecurity strategy and implementation, including performing all required steps to be HIPAA compliant, your medical practice could still be hacked by cybercriminals. 

Doctor’s offices and other businesses who collect private customer information (payment information, addresses, personal health details, and more) to deliver services are regularly targeted by cybercriminals.

 

In the third quarter of 2018, the Protenus Breach Barometer reported 117 health data breaches with 4.4 million patient records compromised.

 

It’s important to note that doctors and other healthcare providers aren’t the only businesses that need to comply with HIPAA regulations. Other businesses that work with protected health information (PHI) must also comply with HIPAA privacy requirements. These include businesses such as billing companies, lawyers, and financial consultation services to mention a few.  Such companies are usually contracted by covered entities and are known as business associates.

 

A critical and often overlooked aspect of a cybersecurity strategy is knowing what to do if you do experience a data breach and, secondly, what you can do to regain the trust of your patients. It is best to be prepared and have a strategy for how you will address the incident. An incident response plan provides the steps a business will take if a hacker successfully penetrates their defense, resulting in a medical records breach. 

 

Beyond the legally required steps that covered entities must take, taking the necessary steps to rebuild trust with customers is an equally important component of recovering from a data breach. 

Trust: A Key Component for Any Successful Business

People do business with companies they trust. A successful data breach of PHI can cause patients to lose trust in your practice. Once trust is lost, customers often will take their business elsewhere. 

A survey by SAP found that “abuse of customer data could cause 80% of consumers to abandon your brand.”

A HIPAA data security breach is a serious matter than can seriously impact any covered entity’s bottom line and longevity.

Report the Breach to Authorities and Explain What Happened to Your Patients

For any covered entity this step is mandatory because it is legally required. For an overview of notification procedures, read How do I report an unsecured Protected Health Information (PHI) Breach?

Any company that experiences a security breach should explain to their customers what happened. This is near-universal advice given for how to handle a breach. Covered entities need to contact affected individuals via First Class Mail or email (if they have permission). 

 

Email is faster and will give affected individuals a better chance to protect themselves from identity theft and other financial harm in a timely manner. 

 

Beyond simply alerting individuals, explaining what happened helps to rebuild trust. Research indicates that honesty and openness is good business. In a study on brand recalls and the effect on customer loyalty by The Relational Capital Group, a link between honesty and continued loyalty was evidenced in two noteworthy findings:

 

  • 91% of consumers agreed that companies make mistakes that lead to product recalls.
    • 87% agreed with the statement that they are “more likely to purchase and remain loyal to a company or brand that handles a product recall honorably and responsibly, even though they clearly made mistakes that led to a safety or quality problem.

Have Your Facts Correct

While it is important to contact your patients quickly, a mistake many companies make is to respond too quickly. Move quickly, but thoroughly to investigate the facts of the matter so that you do not over or under-report the number of affected individuals or other details. 

Communicate in Plain Language

The healthcare industry uses a lot of jargon and acronyms. Minimize jargon when explaining the data breach to your patients. All communications must be simple, clear, and concise. 

Your patients have had their personal information stolen. Now is not the time to use language to “obfuscate” (or in other words, “hide”) what happened and what they should do next. 

Empathize

Healthcare communication often lacks personality and is clinical. When delivering post-op instructions to a patient, it is important to impart the information in a direct, non-emotional manner. 

In a data breach, that is typically not the right approach. Tailor your message for your audience and be sympathetic to the additional aggravation the breach of their personal data has caused in their lives. 

Share Security Tips and Advice

For covered entities, this is required. For any other business, it is good advice. In your notification to affected individuals, include suggested steps to help them secure their information, such as paying extra attention to fraudulent charges on credit cards, changing passwords, etc. 

Get Your Employees Involved

Providing thorough, ongoing information security training for employees is essential. Not all PHI breaches are via cybercriminal hacking attacks. Human error and carelessness can also result in costly HIPAA violations. 

Cybersecurity should be an evolving program, requiring continuous tweaking and updating which includes regularly reminding employees of how important a security culture is and training them on the correct procedures.

Medical Record Data Breaches: A Matter of When, Not If

Many companies and cybersecurity professionals believe that hacks are inevitable. Whether because of ingenious hackers, employee errors, a missed patch, or any of a multitude of other reasons, a PHI data breach could happen to you.

Creating a cybersecurity plan in accordance with HIPAA compliance regulations will keep your office as secure as possible. Following the steps and suggested tips in this post will help you keep or regain your patients’ trust if your network is hacked and a PHI breach occurs. 

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HIPAA Cyber Security Practices

HIPAA Cyber Security Practices | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates safeguards to be in place to secure protected health information (PHI). PHI is any individually identifying health information such as name, date of birth, financial information, and medical history.

 

The incidents of healthcare organization hacks has increased exponentially over the last few years. As the most targeted sector of the U.S. economy, implementing HIPAA cyber security practices is essential to protecting PHI.   

Server Hack Lasting 9 Years Compromised PHI of 2.9 Million 

Virginia based, Dominion National, was the victim of a server hack that took 9 years to detect.

 

Dominion National is an insurer, health plan administrator, and administrator of dental and health benefits. 2.9 million patients were affected by the breach, with exposed information including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, email addresses, taxpayer ID numbers, bank account information, group numbers, subscriber numbers, and member ID numbers. However, exposed information varied by person. 

 

As required by law, affected individuals received breach notification letters and two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. To prevent future incidents Dominion National has implemented enhanced alerting and monitoring software. 

 

Mike Davis, Dominion National President, stated “we recognize the frustration and concern that this news may cause, and rest assured we are doing everything we can to protect your information moving forward. We are committed to making sure you get the tools and assistance you need to help protect your information.”

How to Prevent a Server Hack

Healthcare servers hold a wealth of patient information and are continually targets for hackers. To ensure that the data held in a server is protected, there must be systems in place to prevent access from unauthorized individuals. 

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identifies ten practices organizations should implement to increase their cybersecurity:

  1. Email protection systems
  2. Endpoint protection systems
  3. Access management
  4. Data protection and loss prevention
  5. Asset management
  6. Network management
  7. Vulnerability management
  8. Incident response
  9. Medical device security
  10. Cyber security policies

 

An organization that incorporates these ten practices into their security practices will limit their risk of exposure.

Need Help with HIPAA Cyber Security?

Compliancy Group gives healthcare providers and vendors working in healthcare the tools to confidently address their HIPAA compliance in a simplified manner. Our cloud-based HIPAA compliance software, the GuardTM, gives healthcare professionals everything they need to demonstrate their “good faith effort” towards HIPAA compliance.

 

To address HIPAA cyber security requirements, Compliancy Group works with IT and MSP security partners from across the country, who can be contracted to handle your HIPAA cyber security protection.

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How do I report an unsecured Protected Health Information (PHI) Breach?

How do I report an unsecured Protected Health Information (PHI) Breach? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Have you had a HIPAA Breach?  Here's how you report it.

If you are a covered entity and have experienced the loss or theft or accidental disclosure of unsecured or unencrypted Protected Health Information (PHI), you have most likely had a HIPAA Breach. As a covered entity you must undergo specific breach notification procedures as per HIPAA law,  if you discover a breach of unsecured protected health information.  You may need to invoke your incident response plan and involve your attorney depending on the size and nature of the breach.

Step 1- Notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Your obligations for breach notification to the secretary differ based on whether the breach affects 500 or more individuals or fewer than 500 individuals. If you are unsure how many individuals are affected at the time of submission, provide an estimate.  If the breach affects 500 or more individuals, you need to report the breach to the Secretary no later than 60 days of discovering the breach.

Once HHS receives your breach notification, your information along with some information of the breach will be published on the HHS Breach Portal, also known as the "Wall of Shame".  The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will then open an investigation.

Step 2- Providing additional information after a breach has been reported

If you discover additional information, submit updates as necessary. If only one option is available in a submission category you should pick the best option, and may provide additional details in the free text portion of the submission.

If you discover additional information that supplements, modifies, or clarifies a previously submitted notice to the Secretary, you may submit an additional form by checking the appropriate box to indicate that it is an addendum to the initial report, using the transaction number provided after submitting the initial breach report.

Step 3- Notify the affected individuals

  1. It is your responsibility to notify each individual of the breach of their PHI, either by notifying them via first class mail, or if they have given permission, you may notify them via email. This notice must include a description of the breach, including the information involved in the breach, steps the individual can take to protect themselves and a summary of the steps you are taking to investigate the breach and what you are doing to prevent future breaches. 

 

What if I don’t have the contact information for Affected Individuals?

 

  1. If contact information for 10 or more individuals is incorrect, you must provide a public notice or media notification in the residential area of those affected individuals, providing them with an 800 number they can call to find out if their information was included in the breach. This number must remain active for a minimum of 90 days.  These individual notices may be substituted by providing notice on your website for a minimum of 90 days or by issuing a media statement notifying the public of the breach.

 

If the Breach Affects 500 or More Individuals:

 

3. If a breach of unsecured protected health information affects 500 or more individuals, you must notify the Secretary of HHS of the breach without unreasonable delay and in no case later than 60 calendar days from the discovery of the breach.  You must submit the notice electronically by clicking on the link below and completing all the required fields on the breach notification form.  

Step 4- Notify the media and update your website 

If the breach affects 500 or more individuals, you need to report the breach to prominent media outlets in the areas where affected or potentially affected individuals reside.  This helps inform all breach victims of the possibility of the exposure of their protected health information.  

If you do not have up-to-date contact information or addresses of 10 or more affected individuals, then you need to update your website with a notice of the breach.  A link to the breach notice must be prominently visible on your home page.

Step 5- Notify HHS annually of breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals

If a breach of unsecured protected health information affects fewer than 500 individuals, you must notify the Secretary of the breach within 60 days of the end of the calendar year in which the breach was discovered. (You are not required to wait until the end of the calendar year to report breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals; you may report such breaches at the time they are discovered.) You may report all your breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals on one date, but you must complete a separate notice for each breach incident. The covered entity must submit the notice electronically by clicking on the link below and completing all of the fields of the breach notification form.

 

Other considerations

  • Be aware that your state may have more stringent breach notification procedures compared to the Federal Government. 
  • Be cognizant of the timeline of breach notification; delays in notification can cause fines and penalties to be levied.
  • Business Associates are also subject to the Breach Notification Rule. Business Associates must inform covered entities within 60 days of discovering the breach.  Business Associates must comply with requirements specified in their Business Associate Agreement with the covered entity.
  • Contact HHS OCR with questions toll-free at: 1-800-368-1019, TDD: 1-800-537-7697 or send an email to OCRPrivacy@hhs.gov
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New HIPAA Regulations in 2019

New HIPAA Regulations in 2019 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

While there were expected to be some 2018 HIPAA updates, the wheels of change move slowly. OCR has been considering HIPAA updates in 2018 although it is likely to take until the middle of 2019 before any proposed HIPAA updates in 2018 are signed into law. Further, the Trump Administration’s policy of two regulations out for every new one introduced means any new HIPAA regulations in 2019 are likely to be limited. First, there will need to be some easing of existing HIPAA requirements.

 

HIPAA updates in 2018 that were under consideration were changes to how substance abuse and mental health information records are protected. As part of efforts to tackle the opioid crisis, the HHS was considering changes to both HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2 regulations that serve to protect the privacy of  substance abuse disorder patients who seek treatment at federally assisted programs to improve the level of care that can be provided. Other potential changes to HIPAA regulations in 2018 included the removal of aspects of HIPAA that impede the ability of doctors and hospitals to coordinate to deliver better care at a lower cost.

 

These are the most likely areas for HIPAA 2019 changes: Aspects of HIPAA Rules that are proving unnecessarily burdensome for HIPAA covered entities and provide little benefit to patients and health plan members, and those that can help with the transition to value-based healthcare.

How are New HIPAA Regulations Introduced?

The process of making HIPAA updates is slow, as the lack of HIPAA changes in 2018. It has now been 5 years since there was a major update to HIPAA Rules and many believe changes are now long overdue. Before any regulations are changed, the Department of Health and Human Services will usually seek feedback on aspects of HIPAA regulations which are proving problematic or, due to changes in technologies or practices, are no longer as important as when they were signed into law.

 

After considering the comments and feedback, the HHS then submits a notice of proposed rulemaking followed by a comment period. Comments received from healthcare industry stakeholders are considered before a final rule change occurs. HIPAA-covered entities are then given a grace period to make the necessary changes before compliance with the new HIPAA regulations becomes mandatory and enforceable.

New HIPAA Regulations in 2019

OCR issued a request for information in December 2018 asking HIPAA covered entities for feedback on aspects of HIPAA Rules that were overly burdensome or obstruct the provision of healthcare, and areas where HIPAA updates could be made to improve care coordination and data sharing.

 

The period for comments closed on February 11, 2019 and OCR is now considering the responses received. A notice of proposed rulemaking will follow after careful consideration of all comments and feedback, although no timescale has been provided on when the NPRM will be issued. It is reasonable to assume however, that there will be some at least some new HIPAA regulations in 2019.

OCR was specifically looking at making changes to aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule that impede the transformation to value-based healthcare and areas where current Privacy Rule requirements limit or discourage coordinated care.

 

Under consideration are changes to HIPAA restrictions on disclosures of PHI that require authorizations from patients. Those requirements may be loosened as they are considered by many to hamper the transformation to value-based healthcare.

 

OCR is considering whether the Privacy Rule should be changed to make the sharing of patient data with other providers mandatory rather than simply allowing data sharing. Both the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have voiced their concern about this aspect of the proposed new HIPAA regulations and are against the change. Both organizations are also against any shortening of the timescale for responding to patient requests for copies of their medical records.

 

OCR is also considering HIPAA changes in 2019 that will help with the fight against the current opioid crisis in the United States. HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan has stated that there have been some complaints about aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule that are stopping patients and their families from getting the help they need. There is some debate about whether new HIPAA regulations or changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule is the right way forward or whether further guidance from OCR would be a better solution.

 

One likely area where HIPAA will be updated is the requirement for healthcare providers to make a good faith effort to obtain individuals’ written acknowledgment of receipt of providers’ Notice of Privacy Practices. That requirement is expected to be dropped in the next round of HIPAA changes.

 

What is certain is new HIPAA regulations are around the corner, but whether there will be any 2019 HIPAA changes remains to be seen. It may take until 2020 for any changes to HIPAA regulations to be rolled out.

Changes to HIPAA Enforcement in 2019

Halfway through 2018, OCR had only agreed three settlements with HIPAA covered entities to resolve HIPAA violations and its enforcement actions were at a fraction of the level in the previous two years. It was starting to look like OCR was easing up on its enforcement of HIPAA Rules. However, OCR picked up pace in the second half of the year and closed 2018 on 10 settlements and one civil monetary penalty – One more penalty than in 2018.

 

2018 ended up being a record year for HIPAA enforcement. The final total for fines and settlements was $28,683,400, which beat the previous record set in 2016 by 22%.

At HIMSS 2019, Roger Severino gave no indications that HIPAA enforcement in 2019 would be eased. Fines and settlements are likely to continue at the same level or even increase.

 

Severino did provide an update on the specific areas of HIPAA compliance that the OCR would be focused on in 2019. OCR is planning to ramp up enforcement of patient access rights. The details have yet to be ironed out, but denying patients access to their medical records, failures to provide copies of medical records in a reasonable time frame, and overcharging are all likely to be scrutinized and could result in financial penalties.

 

OCR will also be continuing to focus on particularly egregious cases of noncompliance – HIPAA-covered entities that have disregarded the duty of care to patients with respect to safeguarding their protected health information. OCR will come down heavy on entities that have a culture of noncompliance and when little to no effort has been put into complying with the HIPAA Rules.

 

The failure to conduct comprehensive risk analyses, poor risk management practices, lack of HIPAA policies and procedures, no business associate agreements, impermissible PHI disclosures, and a lack of safeguards typically attract financial penalties. OCR is also concerned about the volume of email data breaches. Phishing is a major problem area in healthcare and failures to address email security risks are likely to attract OCR’s attention in 2019.

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