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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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Rural Health Professions Training: Teaching Medical Students the Benefits of Telemedicine

Rural Health Professions Training: Teaching Medical Students the Benefits of Telemedicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For medical students with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, weeks of suspense will end on March 15. Otherwise known as Match Day, it’s the day the students will learn where they will go for their residency training, in their chosen medical field, after they graduate from medical school in May.

 

Sarah Joy Ring, who has completed the College of Medicine – Tucson’s Rural Health Professions Program and a 16-week Rural Health Distinction Track, is hoping for a residency focused on both pediatrics and emergency medicine, potentially in a rural location.  Her “capstone” paper, an in-depth research project that all Distinction Track students are expected to complete, carries the impressive title of “A Survey of Rural Emergency Medicine and the Discrepancy of Care for Pediatric Patients that Present to Rural Emergency Departments.”

 

During her training, she had opportunities to see how important telemedicine can be in rural communities.

 

“I was at sites that had telemedicine capabilities and spent some time chatting with the physicians about them. "I can specifically remember two experiences, one while on my family medicine rotation in Tuba City (in northern Arizona, where students learn about American Indian healthcare) and one during my RHPP summer in Flagstaff” (also in northern Arizona).

“Tuba City experiences a significant shortage of mental health providers in general, and specifically for children and adolescents," Sarah says.

“As such, they found using telemedicine helpful to connect the children of that region with services that they would otherwise struggle to receive, due to having to travel large distances to receive help, which incurs financial and time burdens for families.

“Moreover, a point that I found particularly enlightening when learning about this service, was with regard to what it means to live in a small population where it is quite likely you know most people living in the region," Sarah says.

“The physicians found that because of this, many adolescents experiencing difficulties often felt uncomfortable sharing with people who lived in the region, out of fear that they may tell someone, or that they were themselves a relative or family friend, which can be a common experience. Having someone to share with who lived out of the region and was not specifically invested in the region and an integral member of the community made many of these adolescents more comfortable with disclosing their experiences.  

“I also worked on writing about how telemedicine can be used to augment pediatric services in rural emergency departments for part of my "capstone" project and found some very positive results from multiple studies. For critically ill patients, one study found that in particular, telemedicine consults improved the access to critical care specialists, resulting in a reduced frequency of physician-related medication errors. Moreover, another study found that parent satisfaction was higher with telemedicine consults than with phone consults, which is a particularly important outcome when caring for pediatric patients and their family. Many of these same findings also translated to the pre-hospital environment, where ambulances that utilized telemedicine resulted in better assessments, more interventions in the pre-hospital environment, and improved outcomes for pediatric patients in pre-hospital care. 

“Overall," Sarah says, I think that we will continue to find that telemedicine is an excellent resource for rural providers that allows patients to have clinically significant access to additional resources and care that would otherwise be difficult or unavailable to the region."

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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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Women and Nonbinary People in Information Security

Women and Nonbinary People in Information Security | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

I’ve got great news for you! My interview series continues.

Last week, I spoke with Nicola Whiting, cyber hygiene specialist, and Titania Chief Strategy Officer.

 

This time, I had the privilege of speaking with defensive security expert Liz Bell. We talked about the 90s internet, blue teaming, sexism and transphobia in tech as well as what pen testing can teach you about defensive security.

 

Kim Crawley: Please tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.

Liz Bell: I work for a cybersecurity defense company that provides network monitoring and response tools for customers in the finance, government, and energy sectors. I work on the internal monitoring team, which means I help keep our own networks safe. Before that, I worked in penetration testing punctuated with some time in academia doing research on applying machine learning techniques to attacking ciphers, and before that, I was a software engineer. I’ve been interested in security since I was little, though. Being lucky enough to have grown up with the web, I just caught the tail end of the BBS era, and so I got to see security start to become something people actually took seriously. Being curious, my general instinct was to find ways to circumvent limitations. Now I get to spot people trying to do those same things.

 

KC: It sounds like you’ve been online since the 90s. I’ve been online since 1994. Is there anything about the 90s internet that you miss these days?

LB: There are a few things that I’m kind of nostalgic about like MSN chat rooms, hearing my phone sing the internet song to the gateway, downloading Win32 viruses from Napster and Limewire, earning badges and posting angsty poetry on Bolt.com, but I think the main thing I miss is the openness and generosity of the web back then. These days, it feels like, if you’re fortunate, you have a series of walled gardens, and if you’re not, you’re facing a never-ending stream of racist/homophobic/transphobic content and intrusive adtech.

 

KC: You mentioned P2P malware, which is still a problem these days. How do you think online cybersecurity challenges are different now compared to back then?

LB: I think a major difference between then and now, if not the main difference, is money. Once we started being able to shop and bank online, users became a good target for scammers, extortionists and other organized crime groups. Not to mention the environment is now extremely different; a lot of people now have a lot of their lives stored in phones, tablets, and laptops, and some of those also end up connecting to corporate or industrial networks. For organizations, this means that just defining what your network perimeter is can sometimes be impossible.

As far as national security is concerned, the public at large has become much more aware of the scale of state-level activities on communication networks, much more than when the ECHELON disclosures happened, as far as I can tell. I think that has also led to something of a change in what people’s threat model looks like.

 

KC: Echelon! I knew someone who worked at Lawrence Livermore back in the day, apparently on that particular project.

LB: That’s awesome! I work with a lot of former IC and .mil people who I understand have probably been involved in a lot of things that would make for extremely interesting conversations, but alas, I’m not cleared.

 

KC: How has your penetration testing experience helped you with your blue teamwork?

LB: It’s a big help. Understanding the different kinds of techniques and tools used by adversaries to compromise accounts, intercept traffic or steal data means I have more of an ability to spot patterns or suspicious outliers in our sensor data. Likewise, seeing how blue teams operate makes me better at doing the offensive work or, at least, doing it in a way that’s less likely to get me caught! I’m increasingly a proponent of getting the red team and blue team members to trade sides occasionally or work together to have a better understanding of how the other side operates.

 

KC: Has sexism ever been a challenge in your career?

LB: Honestly, I don’t know. When I first started, I hadn’t transitioned yet, and so I was perceived as an (effeminate, not assertive) man, and so presumably I benefited from that when it came to getting my career started. At a previous employer, after transitioning, I was the only female penetration tester in the office, the only woman I knew of working in a technical role, and the only out queer person, and I started getting more complaints about my performance. I ultimately ended up leaving, and it definitely became harder to find work afterward, but then again, what I was looking for was pretty specific. I’m lucky enough to have been hired by a woman and be managed by a woman, in my current role, even though the team is still largely white cisgender straight men.

 

KC: Well, you’re not the first transgender woman I’ve interviewed in this series. I’m happy to see more transgender people in cybersecurity.

LB: I actually applied to the place I’m working at now because a good friend of mine, who’s also trans, worked there. It was an incredible privilege to go from this extremely homogenous environment to getting to work professionally in information security with another queer trans woman.

 

KC: Is there anything you miss about your pen testing days?

LB: I do miss the “let’s be evil” feeling, sometimes and the interaction with external clients from all kinds of different industries. My job now has maybe a little less variety, but I get to stick with projects longer, and being an investigator definitely makes up for not getting to pretend to be a criminal anymore!

 

KC: I have spoken to Defensive Security Handbook authors Ian Brotherston and Amanda Berlin, who believe that defensive security is underrated in our field. Do you agree?

LB: I think that offensive security gets a lot of the glamor, but penetration testing is really only a small piece of what keeps users safe. Blue team folks definitely don’t get nearly enough credit or support; offensive security people need to only find one problem, but defensive security practitioners can’t make a single mistake.

 

KC: Do you think a lot of organizations overlook defensive security?

LB: In my experience, a lot of organizations tend to maybe focus on the wrong things: or rather, they optimize for meeting regulatory requirements. Rules say they need a firewall and quarterly penetration tests, so they buy a firewall and contract the tests out. Security should be baked in everywhere; into the software development lifecycle, the monitoring and maintenance of the corporate network, training of new employees and continuous training of your existing staff and even how the organization interacts with suppliers. The line between ‘defensive information security’ and ‘physical security’ gets fuzzy, and I don’t know if many organizations prioritize either at sufficiently many levels of the stack.

 

KC: I’ve learned a lot from you. Do you have anything else you’d like to add before we go, Liz?

LB: I think it might be worth mentioning that machine learning is increasingly something people are exploring in both the defensive and offensive information security space, and in order to both defend against robot hackers and defeat Skynet, or build either, it helps to have that blended blue and red team exposure. Otherwise, thank you so much for your work here boosting not-male voices!

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Do Start Ups Need a CRM and Phone System for Sales?

Do Start Ups Need a CRM and Phone System for Sales? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If anything, this seems like a needless question – especially for start-ups. A CRM and phone system is an advantage. If you’re a start-up, it is what you want on your side.

 

Just consider these numbers. According to Nucleus Research, when you invest a dollar in CRM, you get an average of $8.71 back. Plus, for each salesperson using CRM, you can increase your revenue by 41%.

 

So, even if your sales team is made up of only two or so people – or if it’s just you – a reliable CRM for small business is what you need to forge ahead and catch up with your competitors.

 

Still need convincing? Well, consider these signs that you need to set up a CRM and phone system for your business:

  • You fail to follow-up and eventually lose leads and opportunities.
  • You don’t remember where to pick things up with a prospect you previously called.
  • You feel like you have an unmanageable number of prospects – you can no longer keep track.
  • You start receiving negative feedback from your customers.

Advantages of CRM for Small Business

Get your start-up off the ground. Make the most of CRM for small business and enjoy advantages that improve your customer/prospect’s experience and your sales team’s efficiency and effectiveness. A comprehensive and reliable CRM makes a world of difference for your business so don’t miss out.

 

Information When You Need It
The right information, used at the right time, can get you a step closer to sealing the deal. It can also bridge communication gaps and make the overall client experience a little better.

 

The data that you have on your prospect or client comes into play at all stages of your sales cycle. Through CRM’s pop-up interface, you know a person’s location and call history even during the initial point of contact. It comes in handy when following up. You know what you’ve previously talked about. You have information that helps you personalize the conversation.

 

You might say that the non-techie approach here is to have a notebook prepared or perhaps use sticky notes as reminder. But can you imagine the amount of information you need to keep organized with just five prospects in a month? Without CRM, it won’t be long before you lose track of things and opportunities fall through the cracks.

 

Enhanced Communication
CRM helps you stay on top of your conversations with your prospects and clients. You get information that helps you personalize phone calls and presentations. You can also automate follow-ups according to user actions, schedules and events. And, when you do call to follow up, you know where exactly to pick things up from.

 

Better Service
According to the Global Customer Service Study, three out of four customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. And, the best way to guarantee better customer service and experience is through CRM for small business.

 

Key here is to remember that what you have with your clients – and what you want to have with your prospects – is a relationship. You need to be up to speed on previous conversations, call and purchase history, issues and resolutions and more.

 

The human memory is limited. You need CRM for small business to stay on top of your prospect/ client engagements.

 

Task Automation
Important tasks, such as follow-ups and lead scoring, can be automated through CRM. This keeps you and your small team focused on more crucial matters, such as making sales calls and customizing sales presentations, among others.

 

Better Team Coordination
You are not going to be around 24/7 to deal with your prospects and clients. Somewhere along the line, your team steps in to help out. With CRM for small business, access to your contacts’ information is available to everyone, anywhere. You can lessen your lead leakage by being consistently available to your prospects and clients.

 

Improved Data Analyses and Reporting
In time, you would have amassed a good amount of data from your leads and clients. Understand this data and use it to assess where you are as a business, what markets you’re missing out on and key performance analytics that need improvement. A good CRM system provides you with reporting and data analyses that push you to improve and move forward as a business.

Why Should You Get CRM For Small Business Today

Regardless of your business size, you need a reliable CRM system. But why get one now?

 

Look at it this way: prospects and customers are at the core of a successful business. When you implement a CRM system at your start-up stage, you are making this focus clear.

 

What’s great about the CRM options that you have now is their scalability. You can get cloud-based CRM services, such as Salesforce, with the exact features, number of users and capacity that you need. Should you require more, you can add at any time.

 

You are organized right away and your customers will know this. You are able to manage leads, quotes and invoicing professionally. You can issue information, such as receivables, paid invoices and more, ASAP as required by your clients.

 

As such, you won’t have to worry about migration costs. What you used at limited capacity can easily be extended to suit bigger requirements. And, you will always have the latest version. Upgrades for cloud-based CRM come with the service, which is another thing you won’t have to worry about.

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Popular Small Business Phone Systems

Popular Small Business Phone Systems | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Before you sign with a phone service provider, you’ll want to have a strong foundation of understanding about phone systems for small businesses. Go beyond simply knowing what features you want the small business phone system to have. Know the various types of systems out there. From phone systems that rely on traditional phone lines to make calls, to those that use broadband or fiber internet connections.

 

As far as features go, if you’re putting budget into a serious business phone system, you should be expecting to receive multiple lines, voicemail, conference calling capabilities and an auto attendant at the very least in return.

 

Among the choices you’ll be facing for your small business phone system is whether to get a multi-line system, a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, or a cloud-based phone system. Let’s take a look at the most popular small business phone systems options and how to determine what will work best for your small business:

Multi-line Phone Systems

These more old-school phone systems are also known as key service units (KSU). These systems use an electro-mechanical switching device that controls the routing and operation of a traditional analog telephone system. These systems are time-tested ways for you to keep the phones ringing for anywhere between five and 40 employees.

 

When considering how many lines your business needs wired into the office, it’s important to find a balance between not having more lines than you really need while also giving your business room to grow. If you have a business with less than 10 people, it’s also possible to take advantage of a KSU-less system in which the phone contains all the technology. This means the system doesn’t have to be permanently wired into the office space.

 

Private Branch Exchange Systems

Private Branch Exchange Systems (PBX) are essentially private phone networks for your office that give you more advanced features and options. At Fastmetrics, the system is actually cloud-based. PBX features can include call holding, routing to extensions, and conference calling.

 

These phone systems are different from KSU systems in that the call routing does not occur through the phone unit or building’s wiring but is centralized. These systems, designed for companies needing to cater to more than 40 employees, used to be run on monstrous devices that took up an entire closet. Now, they can comfortably fit on a shelf.

Voice Over Internet Protocol Phone Systems

If you go with a VoIP phone system, it will run on your broadband internet connection rather than through your phone lines. When this technology first came out, it was very rough and reliability was an issue, especially as your phone system’s effectiveness was tied to your high-speed internet connection.

Nowadays, a VoIP system offers a vast number of advantages: from the ease of installation and scalability to pricing and advanced features. Among these features is a VoIP system’s ability to integrate with your customer relationship management software (CRM), which can then automatically log interactions.

 

VoIP systems also boast the ability to host a virtual receptionist or auto attendant to handle calls, as well as all the other bells and whistles that come with a full phone system, such as conference calls, call waiting, and voicemail. These same VoIP features are also offered by Fastmetrics’ cloud PBX solution. VoIP adoption by businesses is growing rapidly. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a projected 50 percent growth due to increased demand by small offices and home offices.

Cloud Phone Systems

The key to a cloud-based phone system is that it removes the telephone infrastructure from your office. This system will be run by a third-party company and can be hosted through either a PBX or by a VoIP system. This setup is perfect for your business if you’re on a tight or fixed budget and don’t have the IT staff necessary to operate and maintain PBX hardware or troubleshoot your VoIP system.

 

FREE with a new cloud-based phone system plan, Fastmetrics customers receive their choice of new Yealink or Polycom phones with business voice services. Get in touch with Fastmetrics touch to learn more.

 

Of course, by having a third-party company managing the system, you are dependent on its reliability as a company and you do lose a certain amount of control. At Fastmetrics, users have a much higher level of control over the standard cloud phone system, in terms of setup and customization. Nonetheless, a cloud phone system is often the most cost-effective solution for a small business and the easiest to deal with regarding scalability.

7 Small Business Phone System Feature Considerations

A lot of features that come with small business phone systems are designed to make your life as a business owner easier and help your employees to be more effective and efficient.

 

Here are a few small business phone systems essentials:

 

  • Voicemail transcriptions: This feature, which sometimes is called voicemail-to-email or voicemail-to-text, transcribes a message left in the phone system, making it easier to respond to.
  • Voicemail: Though voicemail isn’t used much in social calls anymore, people still expect to be able to leave a message inquiring about a product with a company. Though more cumbersome than other forms of communication, voicemail remains an essential feature for small business phone systems.
  • Call forwarding: This allows your employees to transfer a customer to the right department or person.
  • Call queuing: If your company faces heavy phone traffic and you have limited employees available to answer the phone, this is an essential feature to ensure that you don’t miss clients’ calls.
  • Call recording: This is a particularly important feature for businesses that review customer service employee interactions on a regular basis, as it gives you an opportunity to see how your employees are interfacing with clients.
  • Interactive voice response: This allows you to create a series of menus for your business that a caller can navigate to help them reach the representative best prepared to help them.
  • Conference calling: With more people working on the road or from their home, bringing everyone together in one place can sometimes feel impossible. However, with conference calling, you’re able to pull in everyone around the table (so to speak) and hash out ideas.

 

These are just a few of the most essential features you’ll want to consider having for your small business’s phone system. Other options include ring groups, directory assistance, internet faxing, call reports, call monitoring, and missed call notifications. Most phone service providers charge extra for extended phone system features but at Fastmetrics, many of these features are included for no additional cost.

Final Thoughts: Choosing Between the Most Popular Small Business Phone Systems

By having a firm grasp on all the options for small business phone systems from those hardwired into your building, to those cloud systems hosted by a third party, you’ll be able to confidently approach a phone service provider and not be overwhelmed by the options, features, and details of what they’re trying to sell you. This is important because you’ll want to settle on a phone system for your small business where you aren’t paying for a lot of lines and features you don’t need, but are still giving your company room to grow.

 

Have more questions about phone systems for small businesses? Get in touch with the Fastmetrics team.

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4 most important healthcare trends in 2018 

4 most important healthcare trends in 2018  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

To say that it has been a tumultuous year for the healthcare industry is an understatement. Federal policy changes and recent transactions involving large insurers, health systems and retailers will affect providers, payers and patients alike.

 

While there are many new and emerging trends we need to pay close attention to in 2018, here are what I think are the four most significant issues that will command our attention in the year ahead.

 

1. Inconsistent healthcare policy will continue to dominate the headlines

 The federal debacle with so-called healthcare reform this year has been a case study in confusion, inefficiency and lack of focus. Every week seemed to bring a new twist in the direction of healthcare policy, especially in regards to the ACA, with almost no consistency to the legislative thought process. In many ways, the whole focus of ACA repeal and replace efforts was misguided — you can't take something apart without some ideas for a replacement. The federal government's lack of direction on healthcare policy has created chaos among all industry players.

 

Given the healthcare provisions in the proposed tax bill and potential future action with the ACA, there are serious implications for states across the country. The confusion surrounding Medicaid and other joint federal-state partnerships has discombobulated state budgets, and it is patients who will ultimately face the harshest consequences if states are forced to slash funding for healthcare.

 

For the foreseeable future, we're going to continue to see inconsistency in government policies and funding. This is especially dangerous for hospitals in underserved communities that rely almost exclusively on Medicaid and Medicare funding. Unless they are supported in some way, many of these providers will sink deeper into debt.

 

2. In order to keep pace with newly formed organizations and partnerships, hospitals and health systems need to innovate

 

The CVS-Aetna deal did not come as a surprise to industry leaders who have been keeping their ears to the ground and have paid attention to recent trends. But nevertheless, this merger is a major shake-up that cannot be ignored. Google, Amazon and IBM Watson are all looking to stake out a piece of the healthcare field, and deals such as  Optum's purchase of DaVita Medical Group underscore the ever-evolving nature of the ways people access and pay for care and services. Providers should not view this movement as a threat that must be stopped. Instead, we should spur innovation on our end. We can't sit still. That's why, in Northwell Health's case, we have been forging new partnerships and pursuing ventures that will enable the organization to compete more effectively in this rapidly changing environment. 

 

It will be especially intriguing to see what market segments CVS and Aetna pursue after the merger is finalized. Undoubtedly, they will offer prescriptions, preventive care and other primary services to supplement CVS' "Minute Clinics," but it remains to be seen what other health services will be provided as part of this new collaboration. Regardless of what new competitors enter the healthcare market, the seriously ill, elderly patients with chronic conditions and those who have suffered traumatic injuries will still be relying on hospitals to take care of them. It's highly unlikely that any of the new players will be providing inpatient care. As we all know, the bulk of healthcare funding is spent on long-term care for people at the end of life. The Amazons and Googles of the world are not targeting that population.

 

Recognizing that traditional healthcare providers do need to adapt to this era of consumerism, among my strategies are to continue expanding our ambulatory network, facilitating innovative partnerships, enhancing efforts in prevention, maximizing our use of artificial or augmented intelligence, and improving our already robust telemedicine program.

 

In the end, I believe competition is good. Market disruptions give all of us headaches, but they are ultimately beneficial because they force us to do better and be more efficient, productive and creative

 

3. Unless we continue to improve the customer experience, customers will go elsewhere for care

 

The more competitive the market becomes, the more work we as providers must do to continually improve the patient experience and develop customer loyalty. This can partly be done through improving communication and curating a more retail-focused experience.

 

This is unbelievably important, as patients now have more access and choice for their healthcare than ever before. This is not limited to the in-person experience, but also how hospitals and health systems communicate with patients to help them get information and make appointments. Online and mobile platforms are already important for engaging customers, and they will only grow more essential in 2018.

 

Online engagement is not only for younger patients. It's a medium that has become increasingly more effective than print or broadcast advertising for reaching older patients. Equally important is creating an experience that connects families with providers. We deliver more than 40,000 babies every year in our health system. Those are 40,000 families with whom we could be creating life-long bonds. Pursuing initiatives to maintain a connection with mothers and families is essential.

 

Over the past five or six years, we've seen major changes in the way innovative organizations in all industries treat their customers. For far too long in our industry, there was a pervasive attitude of, "We're hospitals, or we're physicians, people will always come because we’re here in the community," but those days are over. Consumers don't want to be told when to come or what to do – they want to access care and services on their terms, not ours. We are in the consumer service business, and our patients are educated and knowledgeable. They value easy access, a pleasant experience and quality care, so it's our job to adapt quickly to meet their needs and expectations. 

 

4. Strategies about "healthcare" must now encompass behavioral and mental health

 

As social stigmas surrounding mental health begin to break down and more people feel comfortable confronting behavioral health issues, it is the responsibility of providers to design their systems in a way that addresses the needs of these individuals. This is especially important at a time when opioid abuse has become one of this nation's most-challenging public health crises.

 

The problem goes beyond drug and alcohol abuse. For instance, studies have shown that younger generations' increased use of technology, particularly mobile devices, can lead to increased rates of anxiety, depression or loneliness. We as providers must consider these trends and tailor services accordingly, as more and more patients turn to us seeking care for issues that are destroying lives and breaking up families. All of us need to do a better job developing and training staff to meet this demand, especially when it comes to screening those who are trying to hide their addictions to opioids. It entails not only psychiatrists but nurses, social workers, case managers and other clinicians.

 

Regardless of the issues we face in this ever-evolving industry, we as providers must not resist change. We must continually adapt — those that don't will get left behind.

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Does mobile technology help in improving mental health?

Does mobile technology help in improving mental health? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As part of a recent study on mobile technology, when a user told Cortana that he/she wanted to commit suicide, the program redirected the user to a web search page while Siri replied with information from a National suicide hotline. S-Voice offered some human touch and responded “I want you to be OK, please talk to me,” but didn’t offer any other outside help.

To questions with respect to depression, these programs only responded with “I’m sorry to hear that” and “It breaks my heart to hear that.”

 

In this study conducted by Northwestern University, Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco, researchers surveyed the responses of Google Now, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Samsung’s S Voice to assess questions related to mental health issues or abuse. The results were incomplete and inconsistent responses from these conversational agents. Though most of the people rely on Smartphones to access their health data or information about medical conditions, addressing mental health issues through mobile technology hasn’t made much headway.

 

This study in itself is enough to suggest that tech companies as well as the healthcare sector need to ramp-up their efforts to research about mobile tools for addressing mental health issues. Researchers from the University of Manchester and Lancaster University said that “Previous research has indicated that interventions delivered in this format are acceptable for people with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). However, a comprehensive systematic review is needed to investigate the acceptability of online and mobile phone-delivered interventions for SMI in depth”.

Mobile apps are increasingly being used to track social interaction, moods, human behavior and speech & voice levels to help people suffering from mental issues. These apps can help to reduce instance of negative behavior and can be used as an alternative treatment method for people affected by depression and anxiety. Naturally, experts believe that these apps should be backed by clinical evidence to ensure effectiveness before release to consumers.

 

During the trial of a cognitive behavioral therapy app, Catch It, conducted by the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, the University of Liverpool’s Computer Services and the University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Science, researchers found a significant reduction in negative behavior amongst 285 participants in six weeks.

One of the report’s authors, Professor Peter Kinderman, said “This type of therapy cannot remove problems, but it can help people deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle,”

 

What concerns experts is the limited attention span of patients when using mobile technology to treat mental health issues. The key to improving these patients condition is to keep them engaged throughout the process and, a mobile tool might lack in that area due to the absence of human interaction. To be completely effective, patients would need to use these tools regularly on their own. Unfortunately, technology makes us impatient and shortens our attention spans. Moreover, Users of mobile health apps discontinue its usage after sometime of download confirming the low engagement level of most of the health apps.

 

To successfully treat mental health issues, the Healthcare sector would need to come out with engaging mobile solutions that make patients come back again and again for improved way of thinking to alter their behavioral patterns. While a human touch would still be required, because essentially mental health issues occur as a result of human relationships only, Smartphone apps can serve as a mode to gather passive data for mental health professionals who are unable to track their patients’ behavior.

One way or other, mobile technology is expected to play a significant role in the mental health segment.

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Barbara Lond's curator insight, 22 December 2017, 20:41
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The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs

The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
Tiptoeing around humans with machine parts
People imagine cyborgs usually as mean creatures combining some human and superhuman features in a robotic body. Movie characters such as the Terminator, Darth Vader or the Borgs in Star Trek come to mind. But you do not have to go as far as Star Wars to get in contact with cyborg-like features or characteristics. According to the usual definition, a cyborg combines organic and mechanic body parts. Yet, some scientists stretch this understanding. They include people with cochlear implants, cardiac pacemakers or even contact lenses. In a way, it is valid: the human body is augmented with technology, and the two works together to improve human capabilities.
 
As technological innovations in the field of medicine and healthcare multiply day by day, it will be more and more usual to augment our bodies with the help of machines. It makes us faster, stronger or more sensitive to the environment. This means that the boundaries of “human-ness” are stretched raising serious ethical questions. Here, I introduce you real-life cyborgs, who show us the current boundaries of the coexistence of man and machine in one person. And they might also mark the way how to find a balance between the two.
1) Neil Harbisson

With an antenna implanted into his head, he looks like a giant ant led from behind by a piece of bread on a stick. Coupled with his light mop haircut he looks like the main character would in a Wes Anderson sci-fi if he ever directed one. Harbisson is actually an artist born with achromatopsia or extreme colorblindness meaning he could only see in black-and-white. At first, he received his specialized electronic eye, his “eyeborg” to be able to render perceived colors as sounds on the musical scale. He is capable of experiencing colors beyond the scope of normal human perception: Amy Winehouse is red and pink, while ringtones are green.

Harbisson has been living as a cyborg for more than 10 years already. He believes that humans have a duty to use technology to transcend themselves and that it will happen in the future. It will start with a third eye on the back of the head or an implanted sensor indicating whether there is a car behind you.

2) Dr. Kevin Warwick

He has been known as “Captain Cyborg” and teaches at the University of Reading as a cybernetics professor. Warwick has experimented with different electronic implants since 1998 such as installing a microchip in his arm which lets him operate lights, heaters or computers remotely. As dedicated as he is, Warwick also gave an implant to his wife, so that when someone grasped her hand the man was able to experience the same sensation in his. It is jaw-dropping and awkwardly scary at the same time.

He is the founder of Project Cyborg using himself as the guinea pig on a mission to become the world’s most complete cyborg. Beyond his work on himself, he is involved in AI research. He faced serious criticism in 2014 over claims that the “supercomputer” called Eugene Goostman passed the “milestone” Turing-test for Artificial Intelligence.

3) Jesse Sullivan

Sullivan worked as an electrical linesman when in May 2001, he suffered a life-threatening accident: he was electrocuted so severely that both of his arms needed to be amputated. This, however, led to him to become the world’s first “Bionic Man”. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago offered him to replace his arms with robotic prosthetics, which opportunity he gladly took. He was fitted with a bionic limb connected through a nerve-muscle grafting.

He has control over his limb with his mind: when he thinks about lifting an arm, for example, certain muscles in his chest contract instead of muscles in his original arm, and the prosthetic replacement interprets this contraction as an instruction to move in a certain way. Moreover, he can also feel temperature as well as how much pressure his grip applies.

4) Nigel Ackland

He worked as a precious metals smelter until his accident at his workplace involving an industrial blender. This led to a severe crush injury of his right forearm. He underwent six months of operations and infections before deciding to have a below elbow amputation.

Over the years, he tried several prosthetic types, but finally, he received a bebionic3 hand. With its help, he can independently move to grip even delicate objects. He controls the arm through muscle movements in his remaining forearm. The range of movement is truly extraordinary. He can independently move each of his five fingers to grip delicate objects, or even pour a liquid into a glass.

5) Jerry Jalava

The Finnish programmer had a terrible motorcycle accident when he lost his left ring finger. It was just a week after he bought his new motorbike that he accidentally hit a deer. Right after it happened, he lit a cigarette when he realized that he misses the upper half of his finger.

Then he decided against a traditional prosthesis and rather went for something “useful”: a 2GB USB port was embedded into his prosthetic. It doesn’t upload any information directly into his brain though. He is the perfect example of how you don’t need to be a robotics mastermind to become a cyborg…

6) Cameron Clapp

Until his life-changing accident, Cameron lived the life of the “California teens”: he loved to surf, skateboard and hang with friends. He was 15 when he wandered over to some railroad tracks near their house and passed out after drinking with his brother moved by the 9/11 tragedy what happened around that time. When a train passed, he, unfortunately, lost both of his legs plus an arm.

He got fitted with a couple of prosthetic legs controlled by his brain with the help of a microprocessor. Since then, he has become an athlete and an amputee activist. His advice to struggling patients? “Surround yourself with good people… good doctors, therapists, family, and friends. Set reachable goals, work hard and maintain a good attitude.”

7) Professor Steve Mann

The Canadian tech-crazy professor designed a headset that is outfitted with a number of small computers and through it, he can record and play video and audio. He was one of the, if not the first, cyborgs in the world. Mann definitely experimented first with wearable computing in high school in the 70s. At MIT he literally bristled with equipment, wearing 80 pounds of computing equipment to class.

Mann was allegedly also the victim of the world’s “first cybernetic hate crime” in 2012: he was at a McDonald’s restaurant in Paris with his family when three different McDonald’s employees attempted to forcibly remove his “Digital Eye Glass” from his head.

8) Claudia Mitchell

Mitchell is the first woman to have a bionic arm and just as in the majority of the listed cases, her transformation into a cyborg life was also due to an accident. Although she spent four years in the Marine Corps she did not lose her arm during military service but in a motorcycle accident. She lost her left arm completely.

She told several newspapers that she used to peel bananas using both feet and one hand before she received her bionic arm. The robotic limb comes from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just as in the case of Jesse Sullivan and was developed for $3 million. She cried when she first peeled a banana one-handed. 

9) Stelios Arcadio

He is also known as Stelarc. He is a performance artist who believes that the human body is obsolete. To prove this, he has had an artificially-created ear surgically attached to his left arm. In another show, he hooked up electrodes to his body to allow people to control his muscles through the Web.

He has his particular views how humans should look at technology and the symbiosis of the two. In an interview, he said that “we shouldn’t have a Frankensteinian fear of incorporating technology into the body, and we shouldn’t consider our relationship to technology in a Faustian way – that we’re somehow selling our soul because we’re using these forbidden energies. My attitude is that technology is, and always has been, an appendage of the body.”

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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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HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security

HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
HIPAA Physical Security is Just as Important as Cyber-Security

There are many misconceptions when it comes to HIPAA and security controls for covered entities. While security is related to technical measures such as encryption, firewalls, and security risk assessments, it also addresses physical and administrative safeguards that must be in place to protect patient information. In order to comply with HIPAA regulation, healthcare organizations must address each standard and safeguard outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has now released new information further emphasizing the importance of physical safeguards for healthcare organizations across the country. HIPAA not only requires technical controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI) but also proper physical security controls.

 

Physical safeguards are generally seen as the simplest and cheapest forms of protecting PHI, yet many organizations tend to overlook this important element of security. There are even some physical security controls that cost nothing- such as simply locking up portable electronic devices when they are not in use (laptops, portable storage devices, and pen drives).

 

Although this may seem like a very basic form of security, it is one of the most effective ways of preventing theft. To illustrate the importance of HIPAA physical security safeguards, OCR focuses on a 2015 HIPAA settlement with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center that affected 599 patients. This breach and subsequent HIPAA fine were triggered by the theft of an unencrypted laptop from the Tufts Medical School-affiliated teaching hospital.

 

The laptop was stolen from an unlocked treatment room off an inner corridor of the radiology department and contained ePHI. Lahey Hospital was fined $850,000 for failing to implement physical controls–a high price to pay for something that could have been avoided if some simple physical security safeguards were in place.

 

Prior to the Lahey Hospital settlement, QCA Health Plan paid $250,000 to OCR in 2014 for potential HIPAA violations. QCA Health Plan neglected to implement physical safeguards for all workstations to restrict access to ePHI to authorized users only. In this case, an unencrypted laptop was stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) also settled a HIPAA violation with OCR in 2012 for $1.5 million. Again, this incident was related to the theft of an unencrypted laptop, resulting in the exposure of patients’ ePHI.

 

In 2016, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research settled potential HIPAA violations with OCR for $3.9 million. Feinstein Institute failed to physically secure a laptop that was stolen from an employee’s vehicle containing the ePHI of 13,000 patients.

 

In July 2016, the University of Mississippi Medical Center was fined $2,750,000 for a failure to implement HIPAA physical security safeguards. An unencrypted laptop that contained ePHI of approximately 10,000 patients was stolen from its Medical Intensive Care Unit.

Preventing HIPAA Physical Security Breaches

It is up to covered entities and their business associates to decide on the most appropriate physical security safeguards that will protect their patients’ ePHI. One way organizations can implement these physical security controls is by adopting an effective compliance program.

 

Compliance Group gives health care organizations confidence in their HIPAA compliance with The Guard. The Guard is our HIPAA compliance web-app that covers every element of HIPAA compliance.

 

Our Compliance Coaches will guide users through every step of their compliance program with the help of our HIPAA compliance web-app. The Guard is built to address the full extent of HIPAA regulation, including everything needed to implement an effective HIPAA compliance program that will help safeguard your practice from violations and fines.

 

With The Guard, health care professionals will not only address their physical security safeguards but the technical and administrative safeguards as well, along with the other HIPAA requirements.

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Why Cyber Security is Key to Enterprise Risk Management for all Organizations?

Why Cyber Security is Key to Enterprise Risk Management for all Organizations? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Large organizations have always focused on managing risk, but the technological breakthroughs that have enhanced our world in countless ways have also transformed how leading executives engage in enterprise risk management (ERM). The pervasive and ever-expanding threat of cybercrime means that comprehensive strategies for cybersecurity are now absolutely essential for all organizations.

 

After all, a report by Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that cybercrime across the globe will cost more than $6 trillion annually by 2021.

 

The sheer magnitude and pervasiveness of the crisis represent a cybersecurity call to arms, and seemingly no one is immune. By now, the list of data breach victims reads like a who’s who of major corporations, governmental agencies, retailers, restaurant chains, universities, social media sites and more:

 

  • The Department of Homeland Security, IRS, FBI, NSA, DoD
  • Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s
  • Facebook, Reddit, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn
  • Panera, Arby’s, Whole Foods, Wendy’s
  • Target, CVS, Home Depot, Best Buy
  • Delta, British Airways, Orbitz
  • Equifax, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase
  • The Democratic National Committee
  • Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Under Armour
  • UC Berkeley, Penn State, Johns Hopkins

 

If you need another reason to drop everything and prioritize cybersecurity risk management in your organization’s overall ERM strategies and systems, consider the recent NotPetya malware attack. Described by Wired as “The Most Devastating Cyberattack in History,” it disrupted global shipping operations for several weeks and caused more than $10 billion in total damages while temporarily crippling such multinational companies as shipping giant Maersk and FedEx’s European subsidiary, TNT Express. All because hackers were able to infiltrate a networked but unsecured server in the Ukraine that was running software that made it more vulnerable to attack.

 

Despite these and countless other costly incidents and attacks, many organizations have not yet fully incorporated cybersecurity risks into their overall enterprise risk management frameworks.

3 Chief Obstacles to Cyber Security and ERM Preparedness

The ever-expanding list of high-profile attacks and victims could be seen as evidence that, in many instances, “the adversaries are winning,” according to Richard Spires, a former chief information officer at both the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security. Or at least that there is much work to be done to combat the ongoing threat.

 

In a piece titled “The Enterprise Risk Management Approach to Cybersecurity,” Spires poses the question: “In an era of ever more sophisticated cybersecurity tools, how is it that we are actually backsliding as a community?” And he offers three key answers:

 

  1. Complexity: IT (and cybersecurity) systems are by their nature extremely complex and in many cases far-flung, so creating airtight security is incredibly challenging.
  2. Highly Skilled Adversaries: The hackers’ tactics and methods continue to grow more sophisticated. Plus, their risk is low because they are hard to catch. They are smart and, with billions of dollars on the line, more highly motivated than ever.
  3. Lack of IT professionals: Cisco reports that 1 million cybersecurity jobs are currently unfilled on a worldwide basis and that “most large organizations struggle to find, develop and then retain such talent.” The shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals with the right skills, knowledge, and experience is an ongoing “crisis,” according to Forbes.

 

One of the leading efforts to develop protocols that organizations can use to safeguard themselves is sponsored by the U.S. Government — the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework.

 

According to Gartner, more than 50 percent of U.S.-based organizations will use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as a central component of their enterprise risk management strategy by 2020, up from 30 percent in 2015. This voluntary framework consists of “standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risk,” according to NIST, which reports that version 1.1 of the Cybersecurity Framework has been downloaded over 205,000 times since April 2018.

 

Also, the Center for Internet Security (CIS) has produced “a prioritized set of (20) actions to defend against pervasive cyber threats.” CIS says its protocols are intended to provide “a roadmap for conducting rigorous and regular cybersecurity enterprise risk management processes that will significantly lower an organization’s risk of catastrophic loss.”

 

CIS, which claims its best practices could have prevented attacks like the data breach that hit the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, also offers guidelines for the seemingly “overwhelming” challenge of how to build a cybersecurity compliance plan.

5 Helpful Tips for Cyber Security and Enterprise Risk Management

OK, how about some actionable tips for organizations looking to beef up their cybersecurity defenses and risk management profile? Chris Yule, a senior principal consultant for SecureWorks, breaks it down in laymen’s terms in a quick video. Yule’s five tips include:

 

  • Cultivate support of senior management — It is essential for organizations to have strong support for cybersecurity risk management on the senior management team and to tie it to their overall business strategy.

 

  • Limit your attack surface — Often referred to as “hardening” your potential targets and vulnerabilities, this refers to coordinating with IT in reducing your exposure and “locking things down.”

 

  • Increasing visibility/awareness — In addition to building up defenses to reduce risk, organizations must also “tear things down.” This means working to better understand the potential spectrum of risk by conducting comprehensive internal vulnerability scanning, penetration testing and “monitoring your infrastructure for the bad stuff.”

 

  • Build a culture of security among employees — Employees must be committed to cybersecurity and clearly understand their specific responsibilities. “Make sure that everybody’s trained, everybody knows what their role is within the organization to keep things secure,” said Yule.

 

  • Prepare an incident response plan — “You need to be prepared for when things go wrong,” warned Yule. Notice that he says when and not if. “Everybody will get breached at some point regardless of what you do,” said Yule, so it is essential that everybody knows “what the plan is to contain and eradicate that threat when it happens.”

 

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Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution!

Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution! | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cloud solutions are quickly becoming the new norm for the way businesses operate today. Many companies are moving from legacy software systems to online “hosted” alternatives, such as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). The benefits of cloud-based solutions over desktop software are wide-ranging, affecting everything from productivity to data security. Healthcare organizations also need to take the appropriate precautions to ensure that they have a HIPAA compliance cloud.

 

It makes sense to see why so many organizations are adopting cloud-based solutions–improved efficiency, flexibility, cost reduction, mobility, as well as around the clock support are all driving forces behind the growth of cloud services.

 

Yet, HIPAA compliance cloud services also raise some concerns in regards to security and compliance, which go hand-in-hand to help organizations keep their sensitive healthcare data safe. For businesses operating in the healthcare industry, which accounts for approximately one-fifth of the US economy, these concerns escalate due to HIPAA regulatory requirements that mandate the privacy and security of patients’ protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of PHI include names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, medical records, and full facial photos, to name a few.

 

HIPAA applies to covered entities, such as providers and insurance plans, as well as business associates who perform certain functions for, or on behalf of another health care organization that involves receiving, maintaining, or transmitting PHI.

 

For example, a cloud service provider (CSP) who are involved in handling PHI for a covered entity whether it is data storage or a complete software solution such as a hosted electronic medical record system, are still considered a business associate and need to implement a HIPAA compliance cloud.

HIPAA Compliance in the Cloud

In a nutshell, both covered entities and business associates need a HIPAA compliance cloud that allows for the creation of an effective compliance programThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released detailed, five-step guidance on cloud computing that parties must adhere to in order to maintain HIPAA compliant relationships. This HHS guidance on HIPAA compliance cloud services includes:

 

  1. Execute a Business Associate Agreement– A business associate agreement outlines what business associates can and cannot do with the PHI they access, how they will protect that PHI, how they will prevent PHI disclosure, and the appropriate method for reporting a breach of PHI  if one would occur. It also defines liability in the event of a data breach.
  2. Conduct a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment– The covered entity or business associate that works with a cloud service provider must document the cloud computing environment and security solutions put in place by the cloud service provider as part of their risk management policies.
  3. Abide by the HIPAA Privacy Rule– A covered entity must enforce proper safeguards in order to keep PHI safe and information can only be disclosed to a business associate after a business associate agreement has been executed.
  4. Implement HIPAA Security Safeguards– A business associate must comply with all three key security safeguards outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule: Physical, Technical and Administrative.
  5. Adhere to the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule- In the event of a data breach, covered entities and business associates are required to document and investigate the incident. All breaches must be reported to HHS OCR. All affected parties must be notified as well.

 

The only exception to the Breach Notification Rule is if the data was properly encrypted. If, for example, a properly encrypted device containing PHI goes missing, then there is a low probability that the data will be accessible by an unauthorized user. In this case, a breach will not have to be reported under the provisions of the Breach Notification Rule.

 

However, it is crucial that all HIPAA covered entities and business associates read the standards outlined in the regulation to determine the proper level of HIPAA encryption for different modes of data storage and transmission.

 

If a covered entity does not execute a Business Associate Agreement with a third party vendor with whom they share PHI, both organizations are leaving themselves exposed to a significant risk of HIPAA violations.

A HIPAA Compliant Cloud Will Save You Money

Data breaches are very costly–not only due to monetary penalties but also because of the long-lasting reputational damage a breach can have on an organization.

 

HIPAA breach fines can range anywhere from $100 to $50,000 per violation or record, with up to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation. When multiple violations or a large scale data breach occurs, these fines can compound and lead to millions of dollars in HIPAA fines. As if that isn’t bad enough, breaches are publicly listed on the “Wall of Shame,” maintained and enforced by HHS OCR. This list shows all HIPAA breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. Even worse, some HIPAA violations can lead to criminal charges, carrying the potential for jail time.

 

In order to avoid violations and fines, healthcare providers and business associates must comply with HIPAA regulations which means protecting the security and privacy of their patients.

Compliance Group Can Help!

Compliance Group helps healthcare professionals and business associates effectively address their HIPAA compliance with our cloud-based app, The Guard. The Guard allows users to achieve, illustrate, and maintain compliance, addressing everything that the law requires.

 

Users are paired with one of our expert Compliance Coaches. They will guide you through every step of the process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Compliance Group simplifies compliance so you can get back to confidently running your business.

 

And in the event of a data breach or HIPAA audit, our Audit Response Team works with users through the entire documentation and reporting process. At Compliance Group, we go above and beyond to help demonstrate your good faith effort toward HIPAA compliance.

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Telemedicine’s Pivotal Role in Improving Mental Health

Telemedicine’s Pivotal Role in Improving Mental Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Living with a mental illness can be isolating and difficult. The long-standing stigma connected with mental illness, along with limited treatment accessibility, patients’ fear of the potential repercussions of family, friends, and employers finding out about their condition, have kept many individuals from seeking the support they need. Fortunately, these trends are starting to shift in a more positive direction.

 

Although some stigma and shame still surround such illnesses as depression, anxiety, OCD, and bipolar disorder, people are beginning to feel more comfortable about sharing their own strugglesand finding support from others online. Telehealth and an interconnected world are coming together to end stigma, and help people manage their mental health in a more effective way.

 

Perspectives About Behavioral Health Problems Are Improving

Technology has helped us to connect with one another in many positive ways, but this interconnectivity has been a double-edged sword for mental health. Social media and smartphones have led to a 24/7 lifestyle that can exacerbate or even create mental health issues. With that said, technology has also opened up a dialogue that is beginning to change the conversation and do away with the stigma surrounding mental illness.

 

Thanks to those who have shared their experiences online, more people are beginning to realize that mental illness is quite common. Ultimately, this change should mean that more people feel comfortable seeking treatment so they can live a healthy, more productive life.

Services Are Becoming More Accessible

Limited access to treatment has always been an obstacle for people seeking mental health services. Finding a therapist locally can be a challenge, because many mental health professionals may not accept some forms of insurance, or do not treat a patient’s needs. A 2017 Milliman report illustrated the shortage of mental health professionals nationwide, with only 8.9 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people, which leads to many people seeking treatment while waiting months to get help.

 

The American Psychiatric Association fully supports telepsychiatry, now that telehealth has shown it can improve accessibility and enable patients to get the help they need without the struggle. Patients and professionals have found that therapy sessions via video chat and other remote services are as good as “face to face” sessions. Telehealth support is also key for patients with  mental health needs; they can consult with a specialist without having to travel.

 

Telehealth is increasingly being utilized in emergency situations. Patients who are experiencing a mental health emergency can reach out to professionals 24/7 and receive remote monitoring when necessary. This helps to allow patients to maintain their independence while ensuring they have the support they need.

 

More Specialists Are Needed to Pave the Way Toward Change

Now that more people are opening up about their mental health challenges, many others are becoming inspired to take charge of their own mental health. That’s creating an unprecedented demand for behavioral health services in both traditional models and telemedicine. While this signals a positive cultural shift, the healthcare system is not prepared for this growing influx of new patients.

 

There are many mental health resources available to help people cope with common mental illnesses, but what is needed long-term is more mental health specialists. To ensure that every American has access to high-quality behavioral healthcare, we need more people to enter this growing field. According to some estimates, 70,000 mental health specialists in several disciplines will be necessary to meet demand by 2025.

 

The good news? Healthcare organizations are increasingly adapting to new trends to meet patients’ needs. Thanks to new same-day programs and mental health professionals at primary care facilities, patients can now get help in as little as 30 minutes.

 

Should You Pursue a Career in Behavioral Health?

A career in mental health is a great option for people who are committed to helping others.  While becoming a behavioral health professional takes time and extensive education, it can be a satisfying career, and specializing in telemedicine is a great way to help solve the shortage of qualified professionals.

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How Telemedicine Can Help Stroke Victims Faster 

How Telemedicine Can Help Stroke Victims Faster  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In developed countries like the United States, stroke is still the third leading cause of death. In fact, each year stroke occurs in more than 700,000 patients, leaving many with disabilities and unable to resume a normal life.

 

When a stroke occurs, every second counts. The sooner a stroke victim is treated with medication that breaks up blood clots and restores blood flow to the brain, the less chance the patient will suffer permanent damage such as the loss of muscle control, mobility, or the ability to speak.

 

According to the American Stroke Association, ‘time lost is brain lost.’ That’s because every minute that passes before a stroke patient is treated, means the death of millions of brain cells.

 

Unfortunately, less than 30% of stroke victims receive clot-dissolving medication inside a recommended window of an hour or less for maximum effectiveness, according to information from Healthcare delivery network Kaiser Permanente.

 

But the same study reveals how telemedicine – or a telestroke system to be precise – can be a vital tool in getting stroke victims faster treatment – and thereby limiting the debilitating effects of the attack.

 

A Race Against Time

Basically, a telestroke system requires a neurologist and attending nurse to have a high-speed Internet connection and videoconferencing capabilities on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.  The purpose is for the consulting neurologist to be able to talk to the patient or an emergency response team about what symptoms the patient is experiencing, evaluating the patient’s motor skills, viewing a computed tomography (CT) scan, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment.

 

Data gathered from 300 stroke patients being treated in 21 Kaiser emergency rooms in Northern California shows that those who were diagnosed as having a stroke via a telehealth consultation received clot-busting medication intravenously much faster than the 60-minute guidelines from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

 

The Kaiser emergency rooms were equipped with telestroke carts, which included a video camera and access to patients’ electronic scans and test results. When emergency room staff contacted a staff neurologist and a radiologist via a telestroke cart, patients received anti-blood clot medicine in an average of 34 minutes. Eighty-seven percent of stroke patients received the intravenous medication in 60 minutes or less, 73% in 45 minutes or sooner and 41% in 30 minutes or less.

 

A Clear Priority

According to the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association, and the American Telemedicine Association, telestroke services could save thousands of lives each year and cut costs by $1.2 billion over the next decade.

 

The reason is because processes that used to happen sequentially during a stroke alert are now happening at the same time. That allows medical staff to provide evaluation and treatment to stroke patients more quickly, safely, and confidently, to avoid further brain damage.

 

The addition of specialized stroke services helps hospitals improve patient outcomes, decrease patient disability related to stroke, and reduce costs, while keeping patients in the community. Providing expert stroke consults remotely via telemedicine allows prompt care close to home for these patients, making a priority for health care providers nationwide.

 

If you are interested in bridging the gap of care for patients in need, whether they be in remote areas or unable to leave home, telemedicine can help provide quality care to more people in need. Contact TeleMed2U today, at (855) 446-TM2U (8628).

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Empower Patients With StrongBox Payment Portal & Patient Financing Alternatives

Empower Patients With StrongBox Payment Portal & Patient Financing Alternatives | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Customer churn. The phrase refers to the periodic loss of patients and the gaining of new clients. One way to ensure that churn works in your office’s favor is to empower your customers through our online financing portal. StrongBox, a leading platform as a service (PaaS) provider based in Boca Raton, FL, understands that when patients have the freedom to finance their procedures at a time and place of their choosing they are more likely to follow through with timely payments.

 

Why Customer Empowerment Matters
We all live busy lives, and patients are no different. No matter how welcoming and friendly your clinic is, patients are always mindful of their next appointments. One way StrongBox allows your clinic to empower patients is through our online financing portal. Instead of requiring your customers to fill out lengthy forms in the office, they simply need to sign on through our online portal to apply for financing from top lenders. By allowing your patients to choose when they apply, you are showing that you respect their valuable time. Plus, the online platform reduces wait time in your office.

 

A 2016 article in the Journal of Dental Hygiene found that long wait times in office have a measurable “negative effect” on patients’ satisfaction with their dentist and lowers patient return rates.

 

How StrongBox Empowers Your Patients
In addition to our revenue recognition cloud-based platform and our Payment Portal, StrongBox also offers two financing options, Select and Pro, that are accessible at the office or to be completed by the patient when they have the time to complete the less than 5 minute application process. The application process is paperless and offers instant access to an easy to use online financing application form. By partnering with StongBox, your patients will benefit from: 

  • Fixed-rate loans
  • No hidden markups
  • No interest hikes for late payments
  • No impact on credit score
  • Access to top-tier lenders (Discover, OneMain, Ascend)
  • Fast response from lenders
  • Easy application process
  • Hassle-free payments
  • Set monthly payments

 

Small- to medium-sized providers will benefit from our Select financing option. This service gives patients access to 30 lenders simultaneously. Select financing applications are approved at twice the rate as medical credit card applications. Both forms of application take less than five minutes for patients to complete.

 

Larger groups and networks may be best served with our Pro patient financing option. Our cloud-based platform can analyze your patients’ credit characteristics and rank them accordingly. Once approved, your clinic will receive funds within 24 hours.

 

More options for patients means a greater likelihood of compliance with billing, accelerating revenue recognition and reducing collection risk for the provider.  Many patients already experience anxiety over medical bills and non-payment is a healthcare system issue. In fact, a recent survey found that 79 million Americans have trouble paying medical bills and medical debt. Why not turn those worried patients into informed allies. The StrongBox model has a proven track record. Hospitals and clinics that use Pro and Select plans can see their collection rate increase from 15 to 70 percent to best practices 95 percent over the near term.


Learn How Our Online Platform Can Grow Your Business
Once your office begins using our online financing platform and payment portal, you can enjoy the benefits of our prompt customer support and proven return on investment. The freedom delivered by our revenue recognition platform and financing options means that your patients will feel empowered to handle payments on their terms while your team of oral health professionals can spend more time focusing on what you do best — serving patients.

 

If you have questions about StrongBox’s financing services, contact our team online or call our Boca
Raton, FL office at (855) 468-7876.

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Connecting the Dots: Referrals between Medical Care and Community Resources 

Connecting the Dots: Referrals between Medical Care and Community Resources  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Policymakers and providers all agree that addressing patients’ non-medical needs will be critical to improving health, health care, and health care costs, but little progress has been made towards integrating traditionally segmented services. What can and should a health care organization do? Realistically, most health care organizations will not build new lines of social services into their core clinical operations. Instead, leading organizations are connecting the dots by optimizing referrals to existing community resources. Based on phone interviews and site visits with executive leadership, frontline providers, and community partners, we highlight the work of nine innovative health care organizations. Here, we offer practical steps to reflect upon where your organization stands and where it might look to be in a referral model for community resources.

 

Starting point: Does your team have a useful resource library?

Useful is the key word here: we’re not talking about a static laundry list that simply names local community resources on a website or a print out. Useful resource libraries not only catalog existing community resources but also include pertinent details such as eligibility criteria. For example, at one organization we interviewed, health coaches use their electronic resource library to match the patient’s age, income, and residence profile with available community resources. To create the most useful resource library for your organization, we suggest querying your care team about what essential pieces of information would help them effectively and confidently refer patients to community resources.

Importantly, a resource library is only as useful as it is accurate and up-to-date. Organizations will need to identify who will monitor and update the resource library at regular intervals by visiting program websites, calling program contacts, or surveying providers about their experiences with listed community resources. For example, one organization we interviewed created a dedicated committee to appraise over 300 community resources that engage with their providers. Clearly, modifications to the resource library are to be expected, so electronic resource libraries (e.g. in a cloud-based platform or in the EHR) will be more dynamic than binders. Two organizations we interviewed are even using or contracting with companies that have created web-based resource libraries (e.g. Aunt Bertha, NowPow).

Next step: Who is responsible for referring patients?

Remember, the resource library is a tool not the solution. Organizations must lay out what roles will best enable referrals to community resources. Depending on your unique organization, referrals to community resources might be done through an entire team, an individual, or outsourced partners. For example, one larger organization we interviewed developed multidisciplinary teams of nurses and social workers, making specialized referrals and handoffs for particular social service domains (e.g. a housing team, transportation team, and nutrition team). In contrast, another organization used a single, centralized point person to make all referrals into the local community. Alternatively, two organizations we interviewed piloted with external partners (such as Health Leads) whose staff executes the referrals to specific community resources.

In addition to defined roles, organizations must not forget to develop associated workflows. What is the workflow to identify the patients with social service needs? What is the provider’s workflow to connect with whomever will make the community resource referrals? Are there workflows in place to follow-up regarding the referrals made to community resources? While developing these workflows, organizations need to consider what the preferred modes of communication are and which documentation platforms will facilitate the workflows. For example, one organization we interviewed built workflows into their EHR by tailoring the existing social service pathways of the Pathways Hub Model to fit the organization’s particular patient needs, staffing structure, and provider network. By strategically designing roles and workflows that support patient referrals to community resources, your organization shares responsibility for the success of the referral model.

Final move: Are you evaluating the impact?

Evaluating your referral model is crucial not only to intelligently decide what to keep, drop, or adapt but also to assess the impact of your work. All of the organizations we interviewed found it challenging to demonstrate that referrals to community resources directly influenced larger outcomes such as total costs of medical care. More immediately, data points that organizations may want to capture include the number of patients with different types of social service needs and the number of complete and incomplete referrals made to each community resource. For example, one organization we interviewed is tracking their rate of unsuccessful referrals to community resources in order to reveal where gaps in the community persist and subsequently inform advocacy efforts.

Furthermore, evaluating your referral model sets the foundation to build a business case for social service partnerships. A few organizations we interviewed were interested in entering financial arrangements with a curated network of community partners based on quality and other performance metrics, although these were generally still in the early stages of development. As organizations look to harmonize data collection and evaluation efforts, partners will need to agree upon the types of data, preferred reporting formats, and interval of reporting requests. In fact, based on interviews with community partners, we learned that many community partners are motivated to collect and exchange data on shared patients in order to improve their value proposition with grant funders and secure future funding.

Following the lead of innovative organizations, there are valuable opportunities for health care organizations to use a referral model with community resources. Health care organizations that leverage their local communities can more effectively match patients with comprehensive services critical to improving health status. Improving the referral model is a key sPolicymakers and providers all agree that addressing patients’ non-medical needs will be critical to improving health, health care, and health care costs, but little progress has been made towards integrating traditionally segmented services. What can and should a health care organization do? Realistically, most health care organizations will not build new lines of social services into their core clinical operations. Instead, leading organizations are connecting the dots by optimizing referrals to existing community resources. Based on phone interviews and site visits with executive leadership, frontline providers, and community partners, we highlight the work of nine innovative health care organizations. Here, we offer practical steps to reflect upon where your organization stands and where it might look to be in a referral model for community resources.
 
Starting point: Does your team have a useful resource library?
Useful is the key word here: we’re not talking about a static laundry list that simply names local community resources on a website or a print out. Useful resource libraries not only catalog existing community resources but also include pertinent details such as eligibility criteria. For example, at one organization we interviewed, health coaches use their electronic resource library to match the patient’s age, income, and residence profile with available community resources. To create the most useful resource library for your organization, we suggest querying your care team about what essential pieces of information would help them effectively and confidently refer patients to community resources.
Importantly, a resource library is only as useful as it is accurate and up-to-date. Organizations will need to identify who will monitor and update the resource library at regular intervals by visiting program websites, calling program contacts, or surveying providers about their experiences with listed community resources. For example, one organization we interviewed created a dedicated committee to appraise over 300 community resources that engage with their providers. Clearly, modifications to the resource library are to be expected, so electronic resource libraries (e.g. in a cloud-based platform or in the EHR) will be more dynamic than binders. Two organizations we interviewed are even using or contracting with companies that have created web-based resource libraries (e.g. Aunt Bertha, NowPow).
Next step: Who is responsible for referring patients?
Remember, the resource library is a tool not the solution. Organizations must lay out what roles will best enable referrals to community resources. Depending on your unique organization, referrals to community resources might be done through an entire team, an individual, or outsourced partners. For example, one larger organization we interviewed developed multidisciplinary teams of nurses and social workers, making specialized referrals and handoffs for particular social service domains (e.g. a housing team, transportation team, and nutrition team). In contrast, another organization used a single, centralized point person to make all referrals into the local community. Alternatively, two organizations we interviewed piloted with external partners (such as Health Leads) whose staff executes the referrals to specific community resources.
In addition to defined roles, organizations must not forget to develop associated workflows. What is the workflow to identify the patients with social service needs? What is the provider’s workflow to connect with whomever will make the community resource referrals? Are there workflows in place to follow-up regarding the referrals made to community resources? While developing these workflows, organizations need to consider what the preferred modes of communication are and which documentation platforms will facilitate the workflows. For example, one organization we interviewed built workflows into their EHR by tailoring the existing social service pathways of the Pathways Hub Model to fit the organization’s particular patient needs, staffing structure, and provider network. By strategically designing roles and workflows that support patient referrals to community resources, your organization shares responsibility for the success of the referral model.
Final move: Are you evaluating the impact?
Evaluating your referral model is crucial not only to intelligently decide what to keep, drop, or adapt but also to assess the impact of your work. All of the organizations we interviewed found it challenging to demonstrate that referrals to community resources directly influenced larger outcomes such as total costs of medical care. More immediately, data points that organizations may want to capture include the number of patients with different types of social service needs and the number of complete and incomplete referrals made to each community resource. For example, one organization we interviewed is tracking their rate of unsuccessful referrals to community resources in order to reveal where gaps in the community persist and subsequently inform advocacy efforts.
Furthermore, evaluating your referral model sets the foundation to build a business case for social service partnerships. A few organizations we interviewed were interested in entering financial arrangements with a curated network of community partners based on quality and other performance metrics, although these were generally still in the early stages of development. As organizations look to harmonize data collection and evaluation efforts, partners will need to agree upon the types of data, preferred reporting formats, and interval of reporting requests. In fact, based on interviews with community partners, we learned that many community partners are motivated to collect and exchange data on shared patients in order to improve their value proposition with grant funders and secure future funding.
Following the lead of innovative organizations, there are valuable opportunities for health care organizations to use a referral model with community resources. Health care organizations that leverage their local communities can more effectively match patients with comprehensive services critical to improving health status. Improving the referral model is a key step in connecting the dots between medical care and community resources, a small move toward systematically caring for the whole person rather than the discreet set of problems bringing a patient into a given provider’s office.tep in connecting the dots between medical care and community resources, a small move toward systematically caring for the whole person rather than the discreet set of problems bringing a patient into a given provider’s office.

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

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

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Operating Room Advances: 4 Tech Updates that are Revolutionizing the Surgical World

Operating Room Advances: 4 Tech Updates that are Revolutionizing the Surgical World | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In recent years, the medical field has made astounding advances with the help of modern technology. These improvements have saved countless lives and made illnesses that could not be treated a mere few decades ago either curable or manageable. One of the areas of medicine that has most benefited from technological advancement is surgery. Here are just a few of the dozens of technologies that are changing the operating room and making surgeries safer and more successful. 

  
Surgical Robots

One of the most exciting breakthroughs of recent years has been the incorporation of robots into surgical procedures. Beginning with the Da Vinci surgical robot, more and more operating rooms have begun to use robotic systems to execute delicate surgeries. These robots are still controlled by human surgeons, but thanks to their greater degree of stability and ability to work in very small spaces, the robots can perform operations with a higher degree of precision than human hands are capable of achieving. Fully automated surgical robots for simple tasks like suturing incisions have also begun to make their way into the surgical theater. Many even believe that fully-robotic surgeries may one day be possible, albeit under human supervision. 

  
Electrosurgical Technologies 

Far from the comparatively primitive set of hand tools, stitches and sutures that surgeons once had access to, the modern operating room contains a plethora of complex pieces of electrical equipment. Among these pieces of equipment are electrosurgical tool, which use electrical energy to perform tasks such as making incisions of cauterizing wounds. While these technologies are of considerable usefulness, they also produce hazardous by-products in the form of smoke. To facilitate their increased use in surgery, smoke evacuation technologies have also had to be developed. Smoke pencils and other Smoke evacuation devices, in particular, are quickly becoming a standard tool in operating rooms because of their efficacy in eliminating this common environmental hazard.

Virtual Reality Surgical Planning

One side of surgery that most people never get to see is the planning phase, in which surgeons and support staff determine the best methods and approaches for operations on particular patients. This process can be long and labor-intensive, but the use of virtual reality for visualization has improved in considerably in the past couple of years. Surgeons can now use VR technology, coupled with patient imaging scans, to plan the exact route of the surgical process. This kind of planning is faster and, in many cases, more successful than more traditional methods, allowing for lower delay times prior to surgery and a more efficient operation in the actual operating room. 


Precision Brain Biopsy Needles

One of the most delicate biopsy procedures has always been the brain biopsy. Without extreme caution, a biopsy of brain tissue can cause disastrous complications. New so-called "smart needles," however, are making this procedure much safer for patients and much easier for surgeons. These needles incorporate imaging technology that allows surgeons to directly see blood vessels and other tissue. When combined with software that is capable of recognizing blood vessels, these needles can substantially reduce the risk of accidental vessel damage during a brain biopsy. Similar technologies have been created to reduce the risks associated with other internal procedures.

  

The rapid advance of computational and mechanical technologies in the last several years has greatly benefited surgeons and the medical professionals who assist them in the operating room. As these technologies continue to improve and become more accessible to hospitals, they have the potential to improve surgical performance and save many more lives. For these and other high-tech surgical instruments, the future is looking extremely bright.

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

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

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