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Healthcare Organizations Mature their Cybersecurity Practices

Healthcare Organizations Mature their Cybersecurity Practices | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cyberattacks in the healthcare industry show no signs of abating. In 2018, digital criminals breached 15 million healthcare records. Alarmingly, in the first half of 2019 alone, 32 million healthcare records were compromised as a result of multiple security incidents.

 

Among those was the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) breach, an event which affected 24 million patient records when an unauthorized user accessed systems that contained sensitive information.

 

The breach ultimately led AMCA to file for bankruptcy, and it affected over 20 AMCA customers like Quest and LabCorp.

 

Despite the growth in cyberattacks in the healthcare industry, healthcare organizations continue to underinvest in cybersecurity. Compared to other industries like the financial industry, which invests 15% of revenue on cybersecurity initiatives, the healthcare industry invests only 4-7% of revenue.

 

Healthcare organizations under-invest in cybersecurity, even though the industry incurs the highest per capita cost of a breach. According to the IBM 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost per breached record in healthcare is $429.

 

Although the financial industry has the second-highest average cost per breached record at $210 per breached record, healthcare incurs more than double the cost than finance.

 

To mitigate breaches to confidential patient information, HIPAA was instituted to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of protected health information, so it came with attendant fines for non-compliance.

 

To improve their cybersecurity posture and avoid fines, many healthcare organizations have taken steps to ensure that they comply with HIPAA and that they pass the HIPAA audits.

 

Recognizing the need to improve their security posture, many mature healthcare organizations have adopted industry-standard frameworks like NIST and CIS. Also, many healthcare organizations recognize their need to achieve compliance with other regulatory standards like PCI and SOX.

 

Yet the spate of breaches in healthcare demonstrates that achieving compliance does not guarantee a secure environment, especially when healthcare organizations focus on passing audits at a point in time.

 

While healthcare organizations marshal resources to ensure they pass audits, the organization returns to business as usual, leading to a less secure posture over time.

 

As a result, mere compliance with security standards has had a limited impact on the security posture of healthcare organizations.

 

Achieving and maintaining compliance with these various, complex, ever-changing standards and regulations can be burdensome for healthcare organizations.

 

This challenge is only exacerbated by the technical skills gap. Organizations, especially healthcare organizations, continue to be challenged with hiring, retaining and training cybersecurity professionals. Recent statistics show that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally by 2021.

 

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was introduced to ameliorate the challenges healthcare organizations face in trying to achieve compliance with the various, complex and evolving standards and frameworks.

 

HITRUST CSF incorporates existing standards and regulatory policies like HIPAA, PCI, NIST, ISO into an overarching comprehensive framework that remains sufficiently prescriptive in how control requirements can be scaled and tailored for healthcare organizations of varying types and sizes.

 

However, attempting to attest to the HITRUST CSF using manual methods negates the benefits of the HITRUST CSF, as this greatly increases the chances of error.

 

In addition to the extra time and effort that is required to track compliance manually, which is only compounded around audit time, information that is manually collated into a report is hard for an auditor to verify.

 

As a result, Tripwire partnered with HITRUST to help healthcare organizations automate HITRUST CSF compliance. Tripwire is one of only two cybersecurity providers to have partnered with HITRUST for the automated reinforcement of CSF compliance.

 

Tripwire has the industry’s largest platform and policy coverage, including legacy systems.

 

It has a proven track record of helping organizations achieve and maintain compliance with HIPAA, PCI and SOX as well as adhere to security frameworks like NIST and CIS.

 

Now, Tripwire can help organizations automatically achieve and maintain compliance with HITRUST CSF as well as prove compliance with out-of-box, HITRUST-certified reports. This helps them:

  • Quickly achieve and maintain compliance, including audit-ready proof of compliance
  • Accurately align with the HITRUST CSF with Tripwire’s HITRUST-certified mapping
  • Keep up with new HITRUST CSF versions while strengthening your cybersecurity posture
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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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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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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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What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules?

What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What are the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules?

 

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules establish national standards for electronic transactions and code sets to maintain the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). These standards are often referred to as electronic data interchange or EDI standards.

The regulations, detailed in 45 CFR 160, 45 CFR 162, and 45 CFR 164, aim to make health care systems more efficient and effective by streamlining paperwork associated with billing, verifying patient eligibility, and payment transactions.

HIPAA Administrative Simplification Standards

HIPAA regulation includes four standards covering transactions, identifiers, code sets, and operating rules. The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules illustrate how switching from paper to electronic transactions reduces paperwork burden and increases payment speed for health care organizations. Additionally, information can be exchanged faster and claim statuses can be checked more easily.

HIPAA covered entities (which include health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses) and HIPAA business associates must adopt these standards for transactions that involve the electronic exchange of health care data. Such transactions may include claims and checking claim status. Other such transactions may involve encounter information, eligibility, enrollment and disenrollment, referrals, authorizations, premium payments, coordination of benefits, and payment and remittance advice.

Unique identifiers, such as a Health Plan Identifier, Employer Identification Number, or National Provider Identifier, are required for all HIPAA transactions.

Code sets are standard codes that all HIPAA covered entities must adopt. These codes have been developed for diagnoses, procedures, diagnostic tests, treatments, and equipment and supplies. HIPAA details several code sets including NDC national drug codes; CDT codes for dental procedures; CPT codes for procedures; the HCPCS health care common procedure coding system; and the code set for the international classification of diseases (ICD-10).

Updates to the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules were updated after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 to include new operating rules specifying the information that must be included for all HIPAA transactions.

HIPAA covered entities must follow national standards, which were set to protect patients’ privacy (HIPAA Privacy Rule) and improve PHI security (HIPAA Security Rule), in addition to the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules. The Final Omnibus Rule, which was enacted in 2013, now includes HITECH Act standards in its HIPAA regulations; the standards added new requirements for breach notifications in the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services both administers and enforces the HIPAA Administrative Simplification, whereas the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights typically enforces the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notifications Rules.

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification Regulations apply to all HIPAA covered entities and HIPAA business associates, not only those that work with Medicare or Medicaid.

Addressing the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules with Compliancy Group

Compliancy Group allows health care professionals and vendors across the industry to address the full extent of their HIPAA regulatory requirements, including HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules, with our HIPAA compliance solution, The Guard. The Guard is a web-based HIPAA compliance app that allows users to confidently address their HIPAA compliance so they can get back to running their business.

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5 Ways Attackers Are Targeting the Healthcare Industry

5 Ways Attackers Are Targeting the Healthcare Industry | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is one of the largest industries in the United States and potentially the most vulnerable. The healthcare sector is twice as likely to be the target of a cyberattack as other sectors, resulting in countless breaches and millions of compromised patients per year. Advancements in the techniques and technology of hackers and identity thieves could escalate these vulnerabilities into a major crisis if the healthcare industry doesn’t adapt.

Cybersecurity in Healthcare

In 2015, over 113 million patients in the healthcare industry were the victims of an information breach, resulting in lost patient revenue and identity theft. The high volume of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations may be an indicator; the average organization receives 32,000 cyberattacks on a daily basis, a much higher rate than other industries experience. A lack of cybersecurity infrastructure and the high value of personal information makes these organizations likely targets for cybercriminals.

The healthcare industry’s increasing reliance on electronic medical records and internet-connected medical devices means the problem of data breaches could increase in the coming years. In 2017, the estimated total losses from cyberattacks amounted to $1.2 billion, and this number is expected to grow as the attack surface of the healthcare industry increases. The same way consumers and patients have their own resources to protect against identity theft, healthcare organizations need their own systems in place to protect against cyber threats. The following list covers the biggest threats to the industry going forward.

1. DATA BREACHES

The healthcare industry has the highest rates of data breaches out of any sector. Of the 551 data breaches in 2017, 60% were in the healthcare industry. In some cases, hackers have broken into healthcare databases undetected and maintained access for weeks before they were discovered.

The most common types of data breaches are hacking and malware-based attacks. Hackers can sell healthcare data and medical records for over 100 times more than personal data from non-healthcare industries. But not all data breaches are cybersecurity-related; a data leak can also occur through an employee or a lost laptop.

To thwart data breaches, healthcare organizations should ensure that data is encrypted at every point between the patient and an organization’s data storage. Trainings for healthcare staff on data security can also help reduce the number of accidental disclosures.

2. RANSOMWARE

Ransomware attacks tripled in 2017, and the healthcare industry receives more of these attacks than any other industry. A ransomware virus disables a computer or server until a ransom is paid to the hacker. Hospitals use their IT systems for critical patient care, making ransomware potentially life-threatening if it causes a delay in critical care processes.

In 2016, a ransomware attack rendered the hospital network of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center inoperable until the administration paid out $17,000 to the attackers. An analysis of the attack showed that the hackers had gained access to an outdated server without using hospital staff as an entry point. Attacks like this demonstrate the importance of a two-part approach to cybersecurity that involves staff training and rigorous network security protocols.

3. SOCIAL ENGINEERING

Hackers looking to exploit a healthcare network’s security system often target hospital staff and other human victims in order to gain access. This type of attack happens through social engineering as a means of subverting even the most rigorous security systems. Phishing attacks, the most common social engineering approach, use a manipulative email to trick a victim into clicking a link or entering their password information. These emails will often download malicious software directly to the system, granting the attacker unlimited access.

Unlike other security threats, social engineering approaches can be combated only through education. Trainings for staff and administrators on identifying a phishing email and avoiding malicious links. Many organizations employ a strategy known as “red teaming,” where trained cybersecurity professionals play the role of attackers and test the organization’s preparedness.

4. DISTRIBUTED DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACKS

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are purely disruptive and are a popular tactic for hacktivists who want to shut down a network out of protest, malice or anarchism. These attacks create a coordinated assault from several hundred to several thousand computers, which overwhelm a network or server to the point of inoperability.

In 2014, Boston Children’s Hospital was embroiled in a controversial custody case involving a 14-year-old patient. The sensitive nature of the case spurred the hacktivist group Anonymous to conduct a successful DDoS attack, which resulted in over $300,000 in damage and lost productivity over a one-week period. Healthcare is often connected closely with politics, and it’s likely that DDoS attacks could occur more frequently in the future. Protecting against these attacks requires close coordination with service providers to ensure that critical networks can remain operational under a DDoS onslaught.

5. INSIDER THREATS

A healthcare organization’s cybersecurity system is only as strong as its weakest link. Even the most rigorous cybersecurity network can be bypassed by an insider, making this type of attack one of the most difficult to prevent. Many disgruntled or criminally motivated employees have compromised healthcare organizations by installing entry points to a hospital’s network from the inside.

Insider threats aren’t necessarily malicious. The increasing number of personal devices in hospitals poses an additional insider threat to these organizations. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are allowed at 81% of healthcare organizations, but only half of these organizations have plans in place to secure these devices. Personal devices are often unencrypted and may be carrying malicious viruses or “worms” that can compromise connected networks.

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. Healthcare organizations must be ready to invest in ongoing security protocols to remain ahead of the most common attacks. Complete security might be impossible, but a reduction in service interruptions and lost data could help healthcare organizations exponentially going forward.

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Healthcare Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond

Healthcare Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is moving from products and services to solutions. Just a few years ago, medical institutions relied on special equipment and hardware to deliver evidence-based care. Today is the time of medical platforms, big data, and healthcare analytics. Healthcare institutions are focused on real-time results. The next decade will be focused on preventive care, and here new healthcare technology trends will come into play.

Artificial intelligence

The modern healthcare industry has already introduсed AI-based technologies like robotics and machine learning to the world. For example, IBM Watson is an AI-based system that’s making a difference in several areas of healthcare. The IBM Watson Care Manager was produced to enhance care management, accelerate drug discovery, match patients with clinical trials, and fulfill other tasks. Systems like this can help medical institutions save a big deal of time and money in the future.

 

It’s likely that in 2019 and beyond, AI will become even more advanced and will be able to carry out a wider range of tasks without human monitoring. Here are some predictions of AI trends in healthcare:

Early diagnosis

This healthcare technology trend can accurately and quickly process a lot more data than the human brain. So AI tools can reduce human errors in diagnosis and treatment and allow doctors to work with more patients. For example, image recognition technology will help to diagnose some diseases that cause changes to appearance (diabetes, optical deviations, and dermatological diseases). It’s also likely that in future people will be able to diagnose themselves. DIY medical diagnosis apps will probably ask some questions, process a patient’s care history, and then show possible diagnoses based on the current symptoms. But as this technology isn’t advanced yet, patients should be careful with DIY medical apps and self-medication.

Medical research and drug discovery

The future of drug discovery and medical research lies in deep learning technology. Deep learning is a field of machine learning that’s able to model the way neurons interact with each other in the brain. This allows medical systems to process large sets of data to quickly identify drug candidates with a high probability of success. A Pharma IQ report says that about 94 percent of pharma specialists believe that AI technologies will have a noticeable impact on drug discovery over the next two years. Even today, pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Celgene, and GSK are working on drug discovery in collaboration with AI platforms, predicting AI to be the primary drug discovery tool in the future.

Better workflow management and accounting

There are a lot of routine and tiresome tasks that medical workers have to do apart from caring for patients. AI can reduce staff overload by automating monotonous tasks such as accounting, scheduling, managing electronic health records, and paperwork.

IoMT

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) includes various devices connected to each other via the internet. Nowadays, this technology trend in healthcare is used for remote monitoring of patients’ well-being by means of wearables. For example, ECG monitors, mobile apps, fitness trackers, and smart sensors can measure blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, glucose level, and more and set reminders for patients. One recently introduced IoMT wearable device, the Apple Watch Series 4, is able to measure heart rate, count calories burned, and even detect a fall and call emergency numbers. The FDA has recently approved a pill with sensors called Abilify MyCite that can digitally track if a patient has taken it.

IoMT technology is still evolving and is forecasted to reach about 30 billion devices worldwide by 2021 according to Frost & Sullivan.

  • IoMT will contribute sensors and systems in the healthcare industry to capture data and deliver it accurately.
  • IoMT technology can reduce the costs of healthcare solutions by allowing doctors to examine patients remotely.
  • IoMT can help doctors gather analytics to predict health trends.

 

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The Future of Diabetes Management

The Future of Diabetes Management | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
One in eleven persons has to cope with diabetes worldwide on a daily basis 

According to the latest estimates of the WHO, 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide – and the number is growing steadily. It means that one person in eleven has to manage the chronic condition on a daily basis, which might lead to stroke, blindness, heart attack, kidney failure or amputation. There are two types of diabetes: when the body does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) and when the organism cannot utilize the generated insulin (type 2 diabetes). While the latter can be prevented with conscious lifestyle choices, the former is a mystery to the medical community. But if someone has diabetes, that means having a constant companion.

In both cases, the treatment of the symptoms requires constant blood glucose control, which usually requires a kind of insulin intake at regular intervals, as well as blood pressure control and/or foot care. It is a truly technologically dependent condition: you need to monitor your blood glucose level, your blood pressure, your weight, follow a meal plan, test your blood every now and then. Luckily, there are so many digital health innovations for diabetes patients out there that diabetes management has been improving for years steadily – and it will significantly change in the coming years.

But technology in itself is insufficient: you need people to utilize it – and diabetes patients do. It is one of the largest and most motivated communities both online and offline, sharing their experiences on social media and other platforms. I believe one of the most amazing development is due to the diabetes community: the #wearenotwaiting movement advocated the absolutely efficient DIY artificial pancreas for so long and so successfully that the FDA approved it! Democratized healthcare at its finest!

1) Digital Contact Lenses

Although Google stopped developing its augmented reality glass, Google Glass, they did not give up on combining vision and technology. The search engine giant and Novartis signed an agreement in order to cooperate on the development of the digital contact lens patented in 2014. According to the plans, through the lens, you can get more information from the digital world plus it can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit.

Google and Novartis said the lens would contain a tiny and ultra slim microchip that would be embedded in one of its thin concave sides. Through its equally tiny antenna, it would send data about the glucose measurements from the user’s tears to his or her paired smartphone via installed software. Originally, the companies promised to put the digital contact lens around 2020 on the market, but Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez in 2015 said that the contact lens would be on track to begin testing that year – and backtracked later.

Since then, there has been no news about the state of progress. However, in March 2017 Novartis Chairman Joerg Reinhardt talked down the chances of the project bringing visible results in the next couple of years, which is not very promising. [It’s] a long-term project, not something where we were expecting a breakthrough in the first couple of years. We certainly haven’t seen such a breakthrough. We don’t expect anything incredible in the next three to four years, Reinhardt said.

2) Gamification

Isn’t it more fun to make the diabetes monster happy than to boringly measure blood glucose level? There are already companies leveraging on your inner child. There are amazing applications for smartphones that can help you manage diabetes efficiently. MySugr, an Austrian company, released several applications that can add a little bit of gamification to the traditional diabetes management apps.

The company also developed the mySugr Junior App designed for kids to learn how to manage diabetes properly. It also enables parents to keep control over the therapy when they are not around the kid. The app looks like a game in which the children get points for every entry and the goal is to score a particular amount of points every single day.

3) Patient empowerment with big data

I have been quantifying my health for decades, I have even done so before the start of the wearable revolution: in an excel spreadsheet. But it’s not just l’art pour l’art data collection, I want to know everything about my organism in order to live longer and healthier in full mental, physiological and psychological capacity. So I am always happy to see inventions aiming to do the same.

Doug Kanter collected data about himself for a full year – blood sugar readings, insulin doses, meals, sporting activity etc. His company, Databetes was born out of his own experiences with diabetes. It helps patients better manage their condition by providing a good way for logging and measuring data, as well as a revolutionary concept to analyze the big data behind one person’s disease. Patients can support each other through social media channels and become coaches for each other. Look at sixuntilme.com for best practice examples.

4) Artificial pancreas

The bionic or artificial pancreas basically replicates what a healthy version of the organ does on its own, and it enables diabetes patients to live an easier life in a sustainable way. The device can measure blood glucose levels constantly and decide upon the insulin delivery itself. Engineers from Boston University have developed a bionic pancreas system that uses continuous glucose monitoring along with subcutaneous delivery of both rapid-acting insulin and glucagon as directed by a computer algorithm. However, it was not in commercial use.

As there was no single device on the medical market, which was able to monitor blood sugar and supply insulin automatically, creative persons invented a DIY version from existing technologies. Aas I mentioned above, a grass-root (social media) movement called #wearenotwaiting grew out of the initiative, who campaigned for the introduction of such artificial pancreas on the market for years persistently. One of the leading figures of the movement, Dana Lewis told me how an artificial pancreas eases everyday life. She has been using the device for almost two years by the time the US Food and Drug Administration finally approved it.

5) Food scanners

Currently, we have absolutely no idea, what we are eating – not to speak about what we should. Food scanners promised they will be able to tell how many grams of sugar a piece of fruit contains, or what the alcohol percentage of a drink is. Canadian TellSpec announced its aim is to develop a hand–held food scanner that can inform users about specific ingredients and macronutrients, but the market launch is unfortunately in delay. The Israeli company SCiO  uses a technology similar to TellSpec’s but is designed to identify the molecular content of foods, medicines, and even plants. The company says that in milliseconds the ingredients and molecular make–up of the foodstuff will appear on the user’s smartphone. However, their promises have yet to be fulfilled, as the scanner, they introduced on the market does not exactly deliver what the demo did.

The Nima gluten-sensor (already on the market!) was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2015. It is a portable, nicely designed gadget, which is able to tell you from a small food sample within two minutes, whether the food on your plate contains gluten. The firm also hopes to apply its technology to detect other food allergens, including peanuts and dairy.

6) Pocket-sized gadgets

When you live with diabetes, you get used to carting around with plenty of things such as meters, test strips, lancing devices. Therefore a pocket-sized gadget combining many meters and strips can mean change in life quality. The personalized, pocket-sized, all-in-one glucose meter called Dario can offer you that comfort. Moreover, it comes with a robust real-time mobile app to manage diabetes quickly, efficiently and accurately.

For over 25 years, Medtronic has been helping people with diabetes with its complex insulin pumps. With its latest, personalized, hybrid closed-loop system it seems to get a step closer to build its own artificial pancreas. In 2016, Medtronic announced its partnership with IBM Watson. The company introduced a demo for a new app at CES 2016 that will eventually give patients detail information about the rate of insulin delivered, the constantly fluctuating glucose level and carbohydrate intake information, alongside with information from wearable trackers or calendar details.

7) Wireless blood glucose monitor

Glucose monitors usually work like this: you prick your finger, you apply the drop of blood to the glucose strip, and soon you will get the results. For someone, who requires glucose monitoring more than 3-4 times per day, it is a troublesome process.

The medical company Abbott released a FreeStyle Libre wireless monitor especially for them. It is the first of a new class of glucose monitoring devices that use “flash” technology. The user has to wear a sensor on the upper arm, which measures glucose in the body water known as “interstitial fluid”. The FreeStyle Libre is very accurate, as it can do the measurement every minute!

8) Digital tattoos

Doctors have been searching for ways how to spare patients from the pain and trouble of blood glucose monitoring for years. Beyond wireless monitors, researchers have created an electronic skin patchthat senses excess glucose in sweat and automatically administers drugs by heating up microneedles that penetrate the skin. The prototype was developed by Dae-Hyeong Kim, assistant professor at Seoul National University and researchers at MC10, the company experimenting with all kinds of microchips and biostamps that can measure numerous vital signs simultaneously.

I hope that the technology will spread around soon and it will bring the era of wireless diabetes management to every patient.

So there are more and more technologies that can help people manage diabetes properly besides potentially future therapies such as new drugs or islet cell transplantation but it’s really time to manage diabetes in a gamified and comfortable way and I believe that the best gadgets and the best technological solutions are just yet to come.

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Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution

Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If you’re thinking fruit, you’re way off. If you’re thinking device or computer, then you’re on the right track!

Healthcare is in a state of metamorphosis, with a full-on medical revolution unfolding before our eyes. According to global entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, this revolution is being driven by exponential technologies: artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics and stem cells. What does this mean? Well, in the next 10 years, some mind-boggling feats of human innovation are going to completely transform the medical field. They include:

  1. Artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous health scans that provide the best diagnostics equally to the poorest people in Kenya and the wealthiest people in East Hampton.
  2. Large-scale genome sequencing that allows us to understand the root causes of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases—and what to do about it.
  3. Robotic surgeons that carry out a perfect operation (every time) for pennies on the dollar.
  4. Growing major organs like a heart, liver, lung or kidney instead of waiting for a donor to die.

Diamandis is so committed to this revolution that he has expanded his global XPRIZE competition to the healthcare industry. His competition will encourage the brightest minds in the medical field to develop a Tricorder device that will accurately diagnose 13 health conditions and capture five real-time health vital signs, independent of a healthcare worker or facility and in a way that provides a compelling human experience. This will be made possible through talking to the device, coughing on it or doing a skin prick and the results will be more accurate than if done by a board-certified doctor!

How will this impact the way healthcare providers market themselves? Patients—who are now responsible for an expanded share of medical costs—are searching online for valuable and relevant information. Those medical providers who can quickly and effectively market, promote and publicize these innovative technologies will be that much ahead of the game than their competitors.

It’s amazing to think that the same device that will be promoting these new technologies is the same device that might one day save your life.

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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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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 Relevant CTI Can Be

How Relevant CTI Can Be | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration and it refers to any type of technology that allows computer and phone central functionalities to be interconnected resulting in an added value service portfolio.

 

In the beginning of the telephony era, you were not given the chance of dialing; you would simply “signal” a call center and a human operator would ask you what you required. Then once you stated you wanted to call someone, that human operator would establish a point-to-point connection between your terminal equipment (phone) and the destinations.

 

The funny thing is that nowadays, when you ask your smartphone’s personal assistant to call someone, the process as perceived by us humans is, in fact, the same, and we like it better than having to dial the number or look for the contact.

 

Phone Centrals have become Computers instead of the long-gone PBX backbones, nevertheless the integration of such computers (which perform the role of phone centers) with terminal equipment’s which are in fact computers (like smartphones) and computer software like CRM and ERP Servers or Cloud-based App Services has made the CTI concept more relevant by the day.

 
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Net Benefits of Telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers

Net Benefits of Telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Practice EHR discusses net benefits of telemedicine for Urgent Care Centers.

 

Telemedicine is becoming the new norm for giving and receiving care. Today’s patients are more connected than ever before and 64 percent of Americans report they would seek care via telemedicine, according to an American Well telehealth survey.

 

In its early stages, telemedicine seemed like another on-demand solution taking patients away from urgent care centers (UCCs). Today, urgent cares are realizing the benefits of integrating telemedicine into their operations, such as better flexibility, accessibility and in some cases, better patient satisfaction and outcomes.

 

Fortunately, telemedicine also has financial advantages. Telemedicine empowers UCCs to provide a convenient and cost-effective service for patients, while at the same time improving revenue. Have you considered telemedicine for your urgent care? Read on to learn more about the financial benefits of telemedicine:

Net-Benefits of Telemedicine

1. Increase the number of patients you see each day.

Telemedicine helps you work more efficiently and see more patients in less time. A virtual visit takes less time than an in-person visit, allowing your urgent care to increase the number of patients seen in a day, without having to extend office hours. For example, a clinic with three providers that completes two virtual visits per day, at an average reimbursement of $50, will earn $109,500 in additional revenue in just one year.

 

For UCCs who do feel the need to provide extended office hours, telemedicine is a feasible and cost-effective solution when you have a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) with integrated telemedicine capabilities. Consider virtual extended hours, where a patient can be seen via a virtual visit conducted by a remote on-call physician. This idea eliminates in-person visits during extended hours, which keeps costs low, drives revenue for your clinic and at the same time provides better accessibility for patients who may be in need during those off-hours

.

2. Better allocate your resources.

Today, consumers have more options than ever before when it comes to their care. Long wait times can result in low patient satisfaction and fewer patients. If your clinic is experiencing long wait times, consider how you can incorporate telemedicine for services that don’t require an in-person visit, like for the flu or an emergency medication refill. Providing virtual visits for these scenarios is a much more efficient and cost-effective way for your patients and your clinic.

 

Telemedicine can also help multi-location UCCs balance their patient volumes and wait times, without having to spend money on additional resources. The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine cited an example of an urgent care that decreased patient wait times and increased patient satisfaction by equipping facilities with telemedicine capabilities in two locations. In other words, UCCs can leverage providers in lower-traffic locations to conduct virtual visits immediately and remotely for patients who are waiting to be seen at the busier location.

 

3. Reach more patients.

In addition to load balancing, telemedicine can easily enable UCCs to reach a larger pool of patients to generate more revenue. Urgent cares who use telemedicine can expand their services to reach patients across one state or multiple, instead of being limited to patients who only live within a 3-5 mile radius.

 

4. Achieve competitive advantage.

Research from Accenture indicates patients want a better healthcare experience and they are leveraging technology, such as telemedicine, to do so. However, the same research also suggests patient demands for virtual care options are outpacing what’s currently available. This provides a significant opportunity for urgent cares. UCCs were the catalysts for convenient, on-demand healthcare; those who continue to evolve with their patients will successfully differentiate themselves in today’s competitive healthcare market.

 

To continue to lead in the on-demand market, urgent care centers will need to adopt technology, like telemedicine to meet patient expectations. The good news is telemedicine is a smart investment that can result in improved efficiency, patient care, cost-savings, revenue and more. Incorporating telemedicine into your UCC isn’t difficult, and there are affordable, telemedicine solutions on the market today. UCCs that incorporate telemedicine, have a lot to gain and very little to lose.

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How to integrate your Phone System with Google Apps through CTI?

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

With VoIP (voice over internet protocol), companies are now able to access cheaper, more accessible phone systems all over the world. While VoIP phones have become common, particularly in North America and Europe, there is still a broad growth trend in Asian, African, and Latin American markets. Asian Pacific Markets expect an estimated 14% growth over the next five years, a significant increase considering the dense technological saturation in the area, caused primarily by escalating high-speed communications networks.

 

In markets where there isn’t such an extreme jump in internet infrastructure, there are also significant gains in the adoption of IP phone technology. In Africa, VoIP growth is stunning (80% in South Africa, for example). Because governments own traditional phone infrastructure in Africa, and also because of the challenges expanding utilities to less urban or more isolated areas, mobile VoIP has been replacing traditional phone systems for emerging and growing businesses.

 

Given contemporary global markets and the push toward global expansion, even companies that have long-established traditional phone infrastructure are adopting VoIP systems for their call centers and sales teams. Global calls are more than just person-to-person voice; they now include video, conferencing, and text, whether in Asia, Europe, or North America.

 

With VoIP phone systems, businesses can integrate their phones to their computers and smoothly connect all aspects of sales and service. SMEs and larger enterprises can all benefit from merging data and communications functions; with IP phones, users gain key communication features, all the while letting their VoIP service providers handle IT, updates, and data hosting. Businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from efficiently merging voice and data functions and gaining innovative communication features, while their VoIP service provider takes care of the technology.

 

CTI (computer telephony integration) software lets users integrate their phones with their CRM or ERP platforms to provide more efficient, cheaper, and easier customer communications.

 

With sales, agents can contact more potential clients, improve customer/agent interaction, and create a more collaborative sales team performance. With service, CTI software gives customers options of self-service or live agents, gives automatic call routing, reduces handle times, and gives management the opportunity to review call center performance.

 

It follows by implication that it’s important for businesses to find the best VoIP phone system and CRM for their needs. Some companies need a comprehensive system that works seamlessly across a host of different silos, whereas other businesses need customizable specifics for one element (IT, for example). Businesses must understand their budgets, dominant departments, as well as the need for scalability, and make decisions accordingly.

 
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Optimize Your Sales Team's Productivity with 10 Cisco IP Phones

Optimize Your Sales Team's Productivity with 10 Cisco IP Phones | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Ten Cisco IP Phone Options for Your Sales Team

1) The Cisco 8865. Sales organizations seeking the latest in cutting-edge HD video communications will find the 8865 to their liking. Designed to function flawlessly in shared work environments, the 8865 offers a comprehensive collection of VoIP features. Key characteristics of 8865 include the following:

  • A 5-inch widescreen VGA color display
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video for a superb visual experience
  • Superb video and VoIP clarity
  • An optional key expansion module that facilitates dialing
  • Flexible deployment options

Additionally, the 8865 is compatible with a variety of USB headsets, including models made by third-party vendors. This advantage enables companies with offshore call centers to easily and affordably replace headsets through local suppliers.

 

2) The Cisco 8845. The 8845 was designed for optimum user productivity. In addition to offering basic calling features such as transfer, conference, and hold/resume, the 8845 allows sales reps to employ its multi-call-per-line feature to handle multiple calls for each directory number. The most pertinent features for sales and customer service agents are as follows:

  • A 5-inch high-resolution widescreen backlit color display
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video
  • Five programmable lines
  • Outstanding audio acoustics
  • One-touch access to applications

In addition to these key features, the 8845 is known for its integrated digital camera and outstanding encryption of voice and video communications.

 

3) The Cisco 7945G. Like 8845, the Cisco 7945G possesses an adaptable, dynamic design that facilitates organizational growth. Regular, unobtrusive software updates help to ensure that sales and customer service representatives maintain a competitive edge in efficiency and productivity. Key characteristics of the 7945G include the following:

  • A 5-inch graphical TFT color display with backlight and 16-bit color depth
  • High-quality 720p two-way HD video for a superb visual experience
  • Five programmable lines
  • Wideband support, including speakerphone, handset, and headset
  • One-touch access to applications

The 7945G is also known for its integrated support for over 30 languages, making it an excellent choice for organizations with employees in multiple countries.

 

4) The Cisco SPA303G. The SPA303G IP phone was constructed with utility and affordability in mind. It is the perfect option for organizations that do not require a large color display or other sophisticated features present on recently designed IP phones. Key characteristics of the SPA303G include the following:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Three voice lines
  • Caller ID
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Automatic redial of the most recent number called

Two final points to consider are the SPA303G’s simple installation process and secure remote provisioning tools. Software upgrades are easy to make and do not interfere with regular business, giving sales and customer service managers peace of mind.

 

5) The Cisco SPA504G. The SPA504G IP phone possesses the same robust collection of features as the 303G. However, the SPA504G also includes an additional voice line, Power over Ethernet (PoE) support, and other upgrades that make it a more attractive option for sales professionals who field a lot of calls. Key characteristics of the SPA504G include the following:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Four voice lines
  • Illuminated buttons to signify on/off for audio mute, headset, and speakerphone
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Support of optional features such as Cisco XML and VoiceView Express

 

6) The Cisco SPA514G. With its dual gigabit ethernet switched ports and secure remote provisioning, the SPA514G is a logical choice for call centers with single or multiple locations. Key specifications include:

  • A backlit monochrome LCD screen (128 x 64 pixels)
  • Four voice lines
  • Supports Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • A menu-operated user interface
  • Automatic redial of the most recent number called

Like other models in Cisco’s SPA line, the SPA514G is known for its ease of installation and simple station moves, making it a favorite among sales managers and IT staff alike.

 

7) The Cisco 7940G. Designed with the needs of transaction-type employees in mind, the Cisco 7940G is a model for call center managers to consider. Additional benefits for call center agents include categorization of incoming messages for users and customizable network configuration preferences. The 7940G boasts a robust collection of capabilities, including the following:

  • The ability for hands-free changes, facilitating moves to any new network location without system administration
  • The availability of a variety of user accessibility methods, including soft keys, buttons, or direct access
  • More than 24 unique ringer sounds and volume settings
  • A dedicated headset port that allows the handset to remain in its cradle
  • Easy access to a variety of information, including stock market updates, weather, and other web-based news

In addition to these advantages, the 7940G features an ADA-compliant dial pad and HAC handset, facilitating compliance with industry regulations. The 7940G also has a foot stand that can be adjusted up to 60 degrees for optimum viewing and comfort.

 

8) Cisco 7912G. The 7912G offers outstanding value to companies facing tight budgetary constraints. A snapshot of the basic features of the 7912G is as follows:

  • Single voice line support
  • A monochrome, pixel-based display that displays the caller’s name and number
  • Call forwarding and call waiting
  • On-hook dialing
  • Four speed-dials

Because the 7912G is an older model phone, it is no longer available for purchase directly through Cisco, but may be purchased through online resellers.

 

9) The Cisco CP-8831-K9. The CP-8831-K9 is distinct from the other Cisco phones on this list because it is designed specifically for conference calls. The CP-8831-K9 provides an acoustically pleasing experience for a large group of sales representatives and call center agents. Boasting the following five strengths, the CP-8831-K9 is particularly beneficial to companies that regularly hold audio conference calls with customer groups or vendors:

  • High-definition audio performance
  • 360-degree coverage
  • Scalability to optimize conference calls in rooms and offices of every size
  • Flexibility and convenience through a mobile control panel
  • Expandability through the use of wired or wireless extension microphones

The CP-8831-K9 also includes a number of subtly impressive features such as echo suppression, noise reduction, and silence suppression. The inclusion of these premium features makes the CP-8831-K9 an excellent choice for sales organizations that require a dependable conference phone.

 

10) The Cisco 8800 Key Module. While this module is not a telephone in and of itself, it deserves inclusion in this list because of its progressive ability to transform Cisco’s 8851, 8861, and 8865 telephones. In addition to greatly enhancing productivity for phone users, the 8800 key module offers busy sales representatives one-button access to the colleagues with whom they communicate with the greatest frequency. Notable features of the 8800 key module include the following:

  • 18 programmable LED lines per module
  • A backlit, high-resolution 4.3-inch color display for easy viewing
  • Users can choose between Power over Ethernet (PoE) or a local power cube
  • A power save plus option to help companies save money and conserve energy.
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Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks

Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When equipped with both a wearable thermometer and an app, healthcare experts can use mHealth monitoring to quickly predict flu outbreaks.

 

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that a wearable thermometer integrated with an online educational tool can predict influenza outbreaks.

 

When developers from Boston Children’s Hospital integrated iThermometer with a digital app called Thermia and provided these tools to children in China, they were able to predict seasonal flu outbreaks a month before the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of the People's Republic of China.

 

"Delays in clinically reported data and lack of data availability contribute to the challenges of identifying outbreaks rapidly," says John Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's and director of the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the Boston Children's Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA). “As a result, we have more and more opportunities to use real-time, low-cost digital solutions like Thermia to improve disease surveillance."

 

Officials said this was the first time that an mHealth wearable in addition to an online tool preemptively identified an outbreak.

 

Thermia receives a child's temperature reading directly through the iThermonitor, an FDA-approved, patch-like wearable thermometer that is worn under the arm. When iThermonitor detects a fever, parents can access Thermia via the web or a mobile app and answer online questions about the child's current symptoms and medical history.

 

The team analyzed 45,000 data points from China's Thermia users between 2014 and 2016. They discovered outbreaks of "influenza-like illnesses” and detected them in real-time.

 

"The fact that we were able to predict influenza outbreaks faster than China's national surveillance programs really shows the capacity for everyday, wearable digital health devices to track the spread of disease at the population level," said the study's lead author, Yulin Hswen, a research fellow at  Boston Children's Computational Epidemiology Group and a Doctoral candidate at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

While the results are a promising development for mHealth and preventative care, the team believes the next step is taking this data and using it to expand usage and policy.

 

"Collectively we are still coming to terms with the data deluge from wearable devices, but it is imperative that we begin to generate value from this data," says the study's senior author, Jared Hawkins, PhD, director of informatics at IDHA. "From a public health perspective -- as we have shown with this latest study -- there is enormous potential for tapping this data for research, surveillance and influencing policy.”

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