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Establishing Information Security in Project Management

Establishing Information Security in Project Management | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A person recently asked me if it was possible to implement ISO 27001 using a specific project management software product. They used the tool in the past to define project plans and make project reviews. While I told them this is entirely possible, the truth is one can implement ISO 27001 even without a project plan or any specific tools. But should they?

ISO 27001 and Information Security in Project Management

The point is that many people do not treat the implementation of ISO 27001 as a project. What is worse, the majority see this security standard as just another document kit. They believe information security could be established just by making their employees scan a set of documents. Of course, this is an entirely incorrect concept of ISO 27001. To establish information security within an organization, we need to implement a set of specifically defined procedures.

This is also analogous to establishing information security within project management itself. While most think that ISO 27001 is merely a document or a project plan a manager needs to quickly scan before the project starts, this could not be further from the truth. What we actually need to do is clearly define a guide for the implementation of information security during the entirety of the project management life cycle.

Unfortunately, a lot of people find it difficult to understand what information security in project management entails. But the concept is fairly easy to grasp – protect information related to project management from an information security point of view.

How Can We Establish Information Security in Project Management?

To properly protect information around any project, we need to focus on securing the information that is essential to the management of a specific project (information related to the project itself, business, resources, personal data, etc).

Furthermore, it is extremely important to identify the classification of the information because its value is not always the same. For example, names and surnames are treated as public, while information on employee salaries is considered private.

But even though some information is considered public, we need to protect it regardless. The obvious reason is it could be modified without our permission. For example, an e-commerce website would see a significant decrease in revenue if one was to modify their public information by increasing product prices by $100.

Therefore, one important thing to focus on would be the identification of information in your project, i.e. defining the classification of information and considering that not all information should be treated equally. Now let us take a closer look at how ISO 27001 helps with establishing information security in project management.

Managing Projects in Accordance With ISO 27001

The most important aspect of ISO 27001 is risk management, which is a crucial point if you want to manage projects according to this information security standard. Annex A of ISO 27001 includes a specific control regarding risk management (“A.6.1.5 Information security in project management”) according to which you would need to define the following points:

  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities related to information security (CISO, information security auditors, developers, systems administrators, etc.).
  • Define information security objectives. Reduce the number of incidents and improve confidentiality of external access to the information, etc.
  • Perform risk assessment and risk treatment. For example, risks related to a source code in software development or risks related to the entire IT infrastructure of a company, etc.
  • Develop specific policies for information security of a project. If the project is related to software development, it might be wise to develop a policy related to writing software code in a secure way.

Benefits of Information Security in Project Management

Clearly, there are a lot of risks when it comes to establishing information security in project management. Although these could be hazardous to your project, the good news is you can easily avoid them. You just need to clearly define information security throughout the entire project life cycle. Risk management is the ultimate tool to pinpoint what you need to change in your project to avoid problems and execute it securely.

Some might wonder whether it was possible to execute a project without considering information security. Obviously, one can manage a project without establishing proper infosec, but there will be a much higher probability of failure.

From a professional viewpoint, and since information security should be of the highest importance to any project manager, the main benefit of secure project management is painstakingly clear: avoidance of any potential breaches of information security within a project.

Fortunately, ISO 27001 is specifically designed to establish proper information security while having a specific control regarding the treatment of information security in project management. Therefore, ISO 27001 can be an excellent tool for executing secure projects within your organization.

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8 considerations to fast-track telehealth

8 considerations to fast-track telehealth | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What is your organization’s overarching telehealth strategy?

 

  • Organizations need a well-defined strategy as the demand for telehealth offerings expands. Definition of what will be offered, its fit with your existing care delivery model, how patients interact with practices and adaptation to regulatory changes will be integral parts to this strategy

 

Who is working on your telehealth rollout?

 

  • Establishing and expanding telehealth requires buy-in from all levels of the organization. Clearly defined roles including executive sponsor, physician champions, marketing and IT are needed.

 

How will patients be scheduled for their telehealth visits?

 

  • Patient virtual care includes phone screens, e-visits or video visits. Organizations need to determine how to manage each option given to patients, how to route patients to the appropriate type of care and how to optimize the patient’s access and scheduling experience.

 

What updates will need to be made to your EHR?

 

  • Deploying telehealth means new appointment types, documentation workflows and billing requirements. Organizations will need to incorporate these changes into their build or maintenance cycles and thoroughly test the functionality.

 

How are you incorporating changes in reimbursement models?

 

  • Changes in telehealth billing and reimbursement are occurring rapidly. Organizations will need to adapt revenue cycle workflows and EHRs. Additionally, organizations should be having conversations with their biggest payers on reimbursement changes.

 

What are the hardware and networking requirements to offer telehealth visits?

  • Telehealth requires a great deal of technical and hardware setup and maintenance. Organizations need to plan for and manage bandwidth, system access and third-party applications and device integration.

 

What is your training plan for schedulers and clinicians?

 

  • Staff need to understand how to manage telehealth visit scheduling and care delivery. Training and tip sheets will be needed for staff managing these visits to ensure a smooth patient and provider experience.

 

How will patients know about your telehealth offerings?

  • Promoting and receiving a return on your telehealth investment requires organizations to establish and execute on a telehealth marketing and communications plan.
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Plan a Telehealth Strategy for the Long Run

Plan a Telehealth Strategy for the Long Run | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Background

During early phases of the Covid-19 Pandemic, thousands of physicians and organizations quickly deployed telehealth to avoid disruption to care. 

 

Many who stood up telehealth as a “rapid response” are now pausing to evaluate their long-term goals and tools for telehealth and virtual care, recognizing the need to ensure stability, security and scalability of their technology and services. 

 

Additionally, many physicians and organizations have yet to deploy telehealth, but are quickly realizing it’s essential for competitive positioning, patient safety and digital presence. 

 

Pivot Point Consulting’s “Telehealth Strategic Questions” provides an excellent primer on 8 essential planning factors to launch and expand telehealth services. In this Pivot Point Perspective, we focus on key considerations to assess telehealth vendors and products and find the right partner to meet your specific needs. 

 The (Ever-Changing) Telehealth Landscape

Broadly speaking, there are several types of telehealth — as noted below. Understanding the range of telehealth services, their enabling technologies and related terminology is an essential precursor to make an informed vendor and product selection. 

  • Video Visit: a live, interactive consult between a patient and provider 
  • Teleconsult: a live videoenabled consult between a primary care provider and a specialist assisting in rendering a diagnosis and / or care 
  • Store and forward (asynchronous): transmission of diagnostic images, vital signs and / or video clips along with patient data for later review by a provider for diagnosis and care 
  • eVisits: algorithmdriven online patient assessment to inform or establish diagnosis 
  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM): use of devices to collect and transmit patient data to a home health agency, a diagnostic testing facility or provider for monitoring and interpretation 
  • Mobile health (mHealth): use of phones and other devices to obtain health information, access provider and payor portals, and conduct video visits 

Find the Right Telehealth Vendor and Product

With so many types of telehealth services and so many telehealth vendors (over 300 and counting), strategic success with telehealth requires a thoughtful analysis of your current/future telehealth needs and virtual care goals, as well as deliberate discernment of vendor and products.

 

Contracting with a consulting firm specializing in telehealth and vendor selection to assist in this planning and vendor review can expedite the process and minimize long-term risk and/or product “mis-fit.” 

 

A few of thessential factors to consider when evaluating telehealth solutions are below. This list, while not comprehensive, serves as a starting point for informed decision making. 

Vendor 
  • How established is the vendor in the market? How many years has it been in business, how many clients does it have and does the vendor have a solid reputation and market ratings?  
  • What is the profile of the vendor’s clients? Having a sizable client base akin to your organization brings confidence that the vendor knows your business and workflows. 
  • What is the vendors growth trajectory  before and post COVID-19?  If they have grown significantly in volume over the past few months, can their services team support and sustain that growth?  Conversely, if they have not scaled during this period it’s worth exploring “why.” 
Product 
  • What type of telehealth does it support? As described above, there are several types of telehealth. It’s important to be clear about your immediate and long-term requirements and that your vendor and product can (and has) delivered on them.   
  • Does the product enable good “webside manner”?  The patient and provider visit experience should be equal to or better than in-person care — an easy to use, intuitive and stable product will expedite throughput and keep patients and providers returning to telehealth visits. 
  • Is it as easy as possible for your patients to use? If your need centers on visits for senior and / or home-bound patient population, assess the product from that perspective. Conversely, if you primarily see young and / or mobile-device fluent populations, carefully assess its functionality and ease from various devices. 
  • Can it integrate with your EHR?  For workflow efficiency, integrating the telehealth video platform into the EHR should be a non-negotiable. 
  • Is it supportable, secure and stable? Does the product work seamlessly across all devices and operating systems?  Is it a highly secure platform? What are its bandwidth requirements, and can you and your patients generally meet them? 
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The Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Small Business Phone System

The Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Small Business Phone System | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Upgrading your business’s phone system may seem like an unnecessary expense. After all, the current system still works, you might argue.

 

While it’s true, you might be able to make a few calls here and there, are you at par with your competition? Technology continually evolves, and moving with technology could give you that edge over your competition.

 

To keep up with consumer and employee demands, getting a new small business phone system might be a wise move.

 

In this article, we’ll look at a few telltale signs that your small business phone system needs an upgrade.

Types of Small Business Phone Systems

A phone system is essential for any business worth its name. There are basically three types of phone systems for businesses.

 

The choice of phone system depends on the business type, size of the business, and the budget of the company in question.

Here are the three types of phone systems for businesses.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

Private branch exchange doesn’t use keys on a switchboard like key system units. Instead, it uses programmable switching devices. This automatic switching means it will automatically route incoming calls.

 

Because of this feature, PBX systems can comfortably support over 50 employees. Another excellent feature of PBX systems is that it works even with power interruptions. This is thanks to its integrated UPS support.

 

With UPS, the business can remain active without electricity for a while.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

VoIP is the most advanced system to date, and it’s also the latest. This phone system utilizes the internet to establish communication.

It’s possible to host your own system. The downside to this is that it’s pretty costly. The cost goes further up depending on the number of employees you have.

 

Alternatively, a service provider can host the VoIP system. If you opt for this option, you’ll significantly cut down the cost of installation, and you also don’t have to spend much on maintenance

Telltale Signs That Your Small Business Phone System Need an Upgrade

Your obsolete phone system could cost you a lot of money on repairs and maintenance. Not to mention, you’ll be steadily losing credibility with your customers.

 

Here are a couple of signs that you need to upgrade your phone system.

More People Are Calling Your Business

Your business is doing well, and lots of customers are now on the line. If you can’t accommodate your expanding customer base, you’ll definitely lose them. If your customers get used to the “no service” message or are instantly hung up, then you’re losing credibility.

 

United States companies lose about $62 billion to poor customer interaction. Upgrading your phone system is one way to ensure you aren’t among that total.

Hosting Companies No Longer Support Your Phones

This could be the most overt sign that you desperately need a phone system upgrade. Apart from that, you may find that your business’ phone units are no longer being produced.

 

Sometimes this lack of support may only seem like a temporary hitch before things are up and running again. However, it’s only a matter of time before all support stops.

 

Don’t put your business operations at risk. When you notice phones and other hardware no longer functioning, take the bold step, and upgrade your phone system.

You Need Data Protection

Obsolete phone systems are a breeze to hack and breach. With hackers getting cleverer by the day, not upgrading your phone system is pretty risky business.

 

Data breaches cost companies between $1.25 million and $8.19 million annually. Newer systems are far more secure.

 

Think of it this way. The more your system has been around, the more vulnerabilities hackers have discovered. Sticking around with your older system makes you pretty susceptible to these data breaches.

You Have Remote Employees

When you’ve made significant growth, you’re bound to have a few remote employees. The increase in the number of remote employees is spurred by the advent of cloud setups.

 

Nowadays, small businesses can enjoy plenty of benefits from cloud-based phone systems. These phone systems are especially ideal for expanding businesses because they can comfortably accommodate many remote employees.

 

It also allows you to integrate with other useful internet resources.

Upgrade Your Phone System or Eat Your Competitor’s Dust

Look around; you’ll see companies everywhere upgrading their phone systems. Especially with the start of a new decade, it presents the ideal time for a small business phone system upgrade.

 

To be on par with or ahead of the competition, it’s a great idea to upgrade your phone system. You’ll need the right people to give your phone system a good upgrade without draining your bank.

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Law and Telemedicine in the Time of Covid-19 

Law and Telemedicine in the Time of Covid-19  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The long-awaited promise of telemedicine may finally be realized as a response to Covid-19.

 

For decades, advocates hailed telemedicine as the way forward to improve access and reduce cost, while maintaining high-quality care.

 

There have been steady gains in investment and growth across the country, and an increasing number of studies suggest that for certain services, namely chronic care management and mental health services, telemedicine may be superior to in-person care. Specifically, studies showed better health outcomes through improved medication adherence, integration of medical tests, and reduced hospital readmissions. However, even with these positive steps, it would be a stretch to claim that telemedicine had transformed the US healthcare system and, in large part, that is because of legal barriers that were in place prior to Covid-19.

 

In the Fall of 2019, my colleague at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Christopher Robertson, and I identified three major legal barriers in federal and state laws that were inhibiting telemedicine utilization.

 

We reviewed (1) establishment of a healthcare relationship, (2) state licensure laws, and (3) reimbursement. We focused on these areas because of the legal ambiguities or inconsistencies, which varied across the states. Arguably, these variations could hinder telemedicine operators’ ability to leverage resources across state lines for efficient scalability without necessarily improving quality of care. 

 

Aging Population

 

We proposed that the

growing aging population would be the driver to achieve greater utilization of telemedicine services largely because of changes with reimbursement under Medicare Advantage (MA).

 

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rule that became effective at the start of 2020, which relaxed geographic and originating site requirements to allow reimbursement for telemedicine services received directly in the home, irrespective of whether the MA beneficiary lives in a rural or urban area.

 

In addition, many state Medicaid programs, including Arizona’s AHCCCS, reported plans to expand reimbursement, especially around long-term care services and for home healthcare.

 

We found that older adults, aged 65 or over, represented a large market that was unfamiliar with telemedicine. A 2018 study found 16-times greater telemedicine utilization among adults aged 24-44 and a 2019 survey reported that while half of older adults would be interested in a telemedicine visit, only four percent had one in the last year.

 

These findings highlight major growth opportunities, particularly given telemedicine’s demonstrated ability to effectively manage chronic conditions, where 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77 percent have at least two.

 

We had no idea that COVID-19 would be the watershed event that would bring the long-anticipated discussion of how to expand telemedicine and care for the aging population to the forefront of this pandemic.

 

Legal Barriers

Our recommendations for a more unified approach to telemedicine regulation incorporates core bioethics principles of doctor-patient relationship, competence, patient autonomy, as well as population-wide questions of resource allocation and access. In the time of Covid-19, many lawmakers have embraced some of these principles and allow greater flexibility.

 

Specifically, in how a healthcare relationship may be established outside of a “hands on” visit (see e.g., Maryland’s Governor amended an order to allow formation of a provider-patient relationship to include audio-only calls).

 

In addition, many states relaxed licensure laws and reimbursement under CMS has expanded to include all Medicare beneficiaries (approx. 56 million people). Section 3701 of the CARES Act went even further to encourage telemedicine use by removing cost-sharing exposure under Medicare for any telemedicine services, irrespective if related to COVID-19.

 

Conclusion

 

The threat that Covid-19 poses to the elderly population and a resource-strained healthcare system greatly outweighs some of the former legal barriers to telemedicine expansion. The new economies of scale that have now undoubtedly been achieved have the opportunity to bring the telemedicine promise of - greater access, improved health outcomes, and lower costs – and would benefit from using core bioethics principles as a guide in this new era of virtual care. 

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The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System

The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Here are the 10 benefits of switching to a virtual phone system!

1. Easy Installation And Integration

 

Many businesses hesitate to make major technological changes. Any change takes time, testing, and money. Installing, configuring, and maintaining a VoIP, however, is incredibly easy.

 

In fact, it’s so easy that VoIP is now the number one telephone service choice for businesses in the country. Already 36 percent of businesses are utilizing a VoIP.

 

Even someone who is less technically savvy can install a VoIP on their own. You can either call an expert technician or try it yourself. VoIP phones are pretty much plug-and-play.

 

It’s also very easy to add new users using hosted VoIP software. The web portal will make it easy for you to move, add, and change systems as needed. The simplicity means you also won’t have to worry about maintenance.

 

As a result, you’ll rarely need professional support when making changes.

 

VoIP also makes it easy for you to utilize other systems and technologies. Integrating other Softwares can enhance your operations, boosting efficiency throughout your company. VoIP integrates a wide variety of business systems, allowing you to customize your VoIP as you see fit. 

2. Scalability

One of the top benefits of using an internet business phone system is its scalability.

 

Your virtual phone system will scale along with the needs of your business. A traditional phone system, on the other hand, is usually more difficult to scale. You’ll likely need an IT expert to handle any changes you might need.

 

This scalability will support your company’s efficiency and productivity efforts. You won’t have to waste time or money making company-wide changes to your system.

 

Instead, you can use your small business phone system to add a line the next time you hire a new employee. You can eliminate lines if you’re downsizing, too. Either way, your VoIP will scale along with you.

 

3. Reliability

As your company grows, you’ll need a system you can rely on.

 

Some companies think that if they’re without internet, they’ll end up without a phone system as well. One of the benefits of VoIP is that you can still rely on your system even if the internet does go down. In case of an event like this, you can have your calls forwarded to your mobile phone or another device.

 

That means you won’t have to worry about weather issues or power outages impacting your business operations.

 

4. Effective Communication 

Whether your team is big or small, you’ll need to make sure everyone can communicate. With more people working from home, it’s important to have a system that prioritizes communication.

 

With a virtual phone system, the line will ring at your desk phone a few times before ringing on your mobile device, laptop, or tablet.

 

As a result, you won’t have to worry about missing urgent calls. You’ll save time trying to check your voicemail, too!

 

5. Flexibility

With a mobile business phone system, you don’t need your underlying network as part of a specific technology layout. Instead, you can use your existing ethernet, ATM, WiFi, or SONET as the foundation of the network.

 

Traditional phone networks require a lot of complexity, which can make it difficult for your IT team to make adjustments. The network flexibility with VoIP allows you to create a standardized system. As a result, you can support a number of communication types and require less equipment management.

 

6. Additional Features

There are a number of benefits and additional features that come included with your internet business phone system. For example, VoIP systems allow clients to connect with a variety of devices. This makes it easier for you to keep your company’s productivity levels up.

 

VoIP programs often include:

 

  • Caller ID
  • Virtual numbers
  • Contact lists
  • Voicemail

You can customize these features to improve your company’s operational efficiency.

 

For example, you can have voicemails forwarded to multiple co-workers. You can also use voicemail-to-text transcriptions and send these documents to your email with ease.

 

7. Work From Anywhere Access

Are more of your employees working from home? A work-at-home program can help you save money on office space and decrease utility costs. Before you make that transition, however, it helps to have a VoIP in place.

 

VoIP can ensure your team communicates effectively. Employees can use the voice, fax, and data services through their internet connection.

 

Employees can communicate straight from their home offices or even abroad.

 

As a result, you don’t have to worry about a drop in communication with your team members.

 

8. Simplified Conferences

Traditional phone systems allow you to conference with teams and clients. However, you usually need to pay for an additional service in order to host multiple callers. With a small business phone system, you can simplify this process.

 

VoIP removes the need for dedicated phone lines. Instead, you’ll operate on a converged data network. The features are usually native.

 

With the cost already built-in, you won’t have to worry about paying more for conferencing features.

 

9. Functionality

With a VoIP, you’re not limited to phone calls. You can also host video-conference, allowing you to communicate with co-workers and clients better than before. Video-conferencing will allow you to share meetings, files, documents, and agendas right from your VoIP system.

 

10. Cost-Efficiency

Above all else, switching to a virtual phone system will help your company cut costs. These systems are cheaper than conventional phone systems.

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Telehealth, Video Tech Tools and HIPAA Compliance

Telehealth, Video Tech Tools and HIPAA Compliance | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine has been around for years, but as a healthcare service it has been underutilized. Today, virtual visits for medical care have skyrocketed because of the COVID-19 outbreak and other factors.

 

Telehealth is experiencing a revolutionary moment like never before. By the end of 2020, virtual medical care usage is estimated to reach upwards of 1 billion interactions, according to analysts at Forrester Research. 

 

In addition, some restrictions that were barriers to entry before have been lifted in response to the public health pandemic. And in March 2020, the Trump Administration expanded Medicare's coverage allowing beneficiaries to receive more extensive care through telehealth visits. These are done using video and audio applications. 

 

With the advent of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, technology is healthcare's solution for delivering continuous patient care. Tech tools' enable widespread access, bringing an unprecedented reach to a larger patient population.

 

For medical practitioners, the shift of using video platforms to communicate can come with risk and HIPAA compliance concerns. OCR asks that telehealth sessions be conducted in a private environment.  Sometimes this could be achieved with a simple task such as closing an office door or lowering one's voice.  

 

The Office for Civil Rights has issued an announcement, guiding on which audio and video communication platforms are acceptable and not acceptable for patient interactions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

As stated officially by OCR on its website:

"OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency."

In this blog post, we will highlight some of the video communication platforms that follow OCR's public health emergency guidance. Of course, keep in mind that compliance regulations might change in upcoming months.

Telehealth video calling platforms to use amid the pandemic

Under OCR's notice, covered healthcare providers can use certain platforms for non-public facing video communications with patients, as these platforms are HIPAA compliant and will enter into Business Associate Agreements (BAAs).

Some of these are:

  • Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams
  • Updox
  • VSee
  • Zoom for Healthcare
  • Doxy.me
  • Google G Suite Hangouts Meet
  • Cisco Webex Meetings / Webex Teams
  • Amazon Chime
  • GoToMeeting
  • Spruce Health Care Messenger

Zoom is on this list, but with the recent rise in security attacks from threat actors joining Zoom meetings uninvited, we have seen advice from various  entities to use a different video platform when communicating with patients, until all security and privacy issues with Zoom are fixed. No one wants to deal with Zoom-bombing during an important medical visit. 

It's important to note that these technological tools are third-party providers and they may pose privacy risks. However, using FaceTime, for instance, during the pandemic is not necessarily a compliance violation, depending on a case by case basis. 

What if patient does not have access to video telehealth formats

If the telehealth session is being conducted in good faith during this public health emergency, then OCR permits the use of audio methods like wireless phone, landline phones to conduct the session. If using email or texting, they ask the covered entity to try and utilize safeguards whenever possible, such as secure email or secure texting.  

Avoid using TikTok for telehealth sessions

On the other hand, OCR stated the following public-facing applications are not to be used when providing telehealth services, even during the public health crisis. OCR is not the sole government agency warning about TikTok's security implications. The wildly popular app has come under fire for underage privacy and international security concerns by U.S. lawmakers and security professionals. 

 

Using public-facing communications could be an evidence of bad faith on the part of the provider, which could make the provider liable for OCR enforcement actions. 

Avoid using these platforms for telehealth:

  • Facebook Live
  • Twitch
  • TikTok

Not only that, the guideline explains to avoid using any public-facing technology, meaning the session can be seen by a group. 

 

For privacy protections and peace of mind, OCR advises to turn to HIPAA compliant technology platforms. There are vendors available, who will enter into a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with a covered entity.

 

Check with the vendor to see if that's the case. When in doubt, reach out to third-party HIPAA experts to ensure your following compliance regulations as you transition to doing telehealth. 

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Leone Mane's curator insight, May 25, 2:48 AM

WELCOME TO RX ONLINE PHARMACY

Buy Oxycodone Online HERE at RX Pharmacy Online Store. Patients should buy Oxycodone Online from RX Pharmacy Online store which is the best online store for your pain pills.  Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic medication synthesized from the base. It was developed in 1916 in Germany, as one of several new semi-synthetic opioids with several benefits over the older traditional opiates and opioids; morphine, diacetylmorphine(heroin) and codeine. It was introduced to the pharmaceutical market as Eukodal or Eucodal and Darkon. Its chemical name is derived from codeine – the chemical structures are very similar, differing only in that the hydroxyl group of codeine has been oxidized to a carbonyl group (as in ketones), hence the -one suffix, the 7,8-dihydro-feature (codeine has a double-bond between those two carbons), and the hydroxyl group at carbon-14 (codeine has just hydrogen in its place), hence oxycodone. So buy oxycodone online

 

Tendencies towards the use of the internet pharmacies are observed not only in developed countries such as the USA and Canada but also within the territory of other countries. The advantages of internet shopping cannot be overstated. Every user can order the delivery of medications in a couple of minutes.

 

Tendencies towards the sale of the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are also observed because it helps to save money and time. If a person does not have insurance covering all medical services, it is necessary to pay for the doctor’s consultations and quality medications. Expensive drugs become less demanded and popular under the conditions of the modern pharmaceutical market.

 
 
 
 

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Breach Risk Analysis: A four-step plan

Breach Risk Analysis: A four-step plan | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Data breaches have long been a nuisance for many industries, including healthcare and financial services.

 

In the age of our current public health crisis, HIPAA-covered entities must follow all reasonable safeguards to protect the privacy of their patients who may be infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does offer some accommodations in such cases.

 

Business owners need to be prepared, and should always have a plan in place should a worse-case scenario occur.  One method of preparation is to understand what is a Breach Risk Analysis.

In this blog, we will give tips on how to plan for a data breach and what to do when one occurs.

Got breached? Implement a four-step plan

A data breach occurs when sensitive information about an individual is lost, stolen, hacked, or inappropriately disclosed.  Any time an organization suspects that one of these incidents has occurred, it should immediately perform a Breach Risk Analysis. 

This analysis can be conducted by implementing this four-step plan:

  1. Determine what type of data was involved
  2. Determine which person or organization the data was stolen by or disclosed to
  3. Determine if the person or organization acquired or viewed the data
  4. Document mitigating actions that were taken by the organization.

Let's stay a closer look at each step. 

Determine the type of data that was stolen

The first step the organization should take is to examine the type of data that was involved in a breach.  This step is crucial, as it helps the organization understand the significance of the data that may have been exposed. 

Even if the information breached seems minimal, it needs to be determined if information about an individual can be reconstructed.

If the breached data is found to contain sensitive information, such as client names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, the organization may have to enact extra services like extending credit reporting to the affected individuals. 

Determine which person or organization the data was stolen by or disclosed to

This step allows the organization to understand the parties involved in the breach and their responsibilities and motivations as it related to the exposed data.

 

For example, if a healthcare organization accidentally discloses Protected Health Information to another healthcare organization, that healthcare organization is still bound by HIPAA rules to protect the privacy and security of that patient data. However, if the same patient information is inadvertently disclosed to a private business or individual, the obligation to protect data is not in place.

 

If the data is found to be accessed by criminals, such as hackers, the organization must assume more nefarious attentions. 

 

Hackers are more likely to sell data so crimes like fraud or identity theft are likely committed. Anytime sensitive data is accessed by hackers or criminals, the organization should consider involving legal representation and law enforcement.

 

Determining if the person or organization acquired or viewed the data 

This difficult but necessary step allows an organization to determine if sensitive information was actually viewed by a unauthorized third party. 

 

Therefore, if the data breach involved something like spyware or ransomware, the organization must perform a forensic analysis to ascertain if not only information was viewed, but also ex-filtrated.

 

Other instances of breaches may involve sensitive information being sent to the wrong party, such as an errant fax or email.  In these instances, it is important for the organization to confirm that the recipient has properly disposed of the sensitive information.

Document mitigating actions made

Organizations should not wait until the level of exposure from a breach is determined before they start performing mitigating actions. 

 

If the breach had a technical aspect, such as ransomware, the organization must document actions such as restoring backups, removing malicious software, and any forensic analysis that was performed.

 

If the breach involved improper disclosure, the organization should document that the data was properly disposed of by the third party.

 

Organizations will always be at risk for data breaches.  The best step they can take is to be prepared for when this happens, not if.

It is always a best practice to have a breach response plan in place, and any organization can put one together by incorporating the four steps described in this blog.

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HIPAA Workers Compensation Disclosures

HIPAA Workers Compensation Disclosures | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
HIPAA Workers Compensation Disclosures

The HIPAA Privacy Rule dictates how a healthcare provider may share protected information, or PHI in the workers compensation context.

 

PHI disclosures to the employer and the workers compensation board must be HIPAA compliant. HIPAA workers compensation requirements are discussed below.

What is Workers Compensation?

Many employers are required, under state law, to purchase and maintain a workers compensation insurance policy (or to self-insure). When an employee sustains an injury or illness arising out of and in the scope of his or her employment, the employee may file a claim for benefits under that policy.

 

State workers compensation laws are a specific kind of “no-fault” law. That is, an employee who sustains an injury or illness is generally entitled to benefits even if the employee’s injuries were brought about by his or her own negligence. Whether an employee is or is not entitled to benefits is generally not determined by whose “fault” the injury was.

 

To demonstrate entitlement to benefits and reimbursement for healthcare provider treatment costs, employees are required, through their providers, to submit medical information to their employers, and to the state workers’ compensation board. 

What Must a Covered Entity Do for HIPAA Workers Compensation Disclosure Requirements?

The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows covered entities to disclose protected health information to workers’ compensation insurers, state administrators, employers, and other persons or entities involved in workers’ compensation systems, without the individual’s authorization, when:

  • The PHI disclosure is authorized by, and is necessary to comply with:
    • State workers compensation laws; or
    • Similar “no-fault” programs established by law that provide benefits for job-related injuries or illness.
    • The PHI disclosure is required for purposes of obtaining payment for healthcare provided to the injured or ill worker.

In both instances, the “minimum necessary standard” applies. The PHI disclosure, under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, must be reasonably limited to the minimum information necessary to accomplish the HIPAA workers compensation purpose.

 

This means that the medical information that is disclosed must be relevant to the specific injury. Medical information having no relationship to the injury or to payment should not be disclosed.

What is HIPAA Compliant Reasonable Reliance?

When PHI is requested by a state workers’ compensation or other public official, the covered entity may reasonably rely on the state official’s representation that the requested PHI is the minimum necessary for the specific workers’ compensation purpose. 

 

In such circumstances, the covered entity is not required to make a minimum necessary determination when disclosing protected health information as required by state law. The provider will generally be deemed HIPAA compliant under such circumstances.

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What You Need to Know About Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare

What You Need to Know About Secure Mobile Messaging in Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital Health Communication and Messaging

Digital information is everywhere, including medical institutions where it is now common practice to utilize electronic medical records. This can be a good thing, making patient care more efficient and effective. However, it can also be an easy doorway for data thieves to access private information.

 

Many doctors and nurses utilize mobile data to aid in their daily tasks from accessing clinical data to communicating with other staff members.

 

Many primary care providers also regularly use text messaging as a way to communicate with patients for appointment bookings and cancellations. Text messaging is a quick and easy way to do this.

HIPAA

The U.S.’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 exists, in part, to protect personally identifiable information when being used by the healthcare industry, through regulating how it can be used and communicated. Specifically, the HIPAA Security Rule stipulates that numerous safeguards be employed by administrative and medical staff to protect personal information, including the use of encryption in digital communication where possible.

 

If medical staff and institutions follow the safeguards required by HIPAA, there shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, HIPAA doesn’t require encryption non-discriminately across the board, and there is always the possibility of human error and negligence. In particular, smaller clinics which previously had minimal security procedures in place have found it particularly challenging to comply with the requirements of HIPAA.

Safeguarding Medical Information

So, what can be done to safeguard medical communications? Secure text messaging is a viable option, though it is challenging to implement on a whole-scale level and depends a great deal on employee participation. One study found that only 31 percent of medical staff were encrypting information as standard practice before sending it to the cloud. Apps exist that will encrypt text messages, but every single device sending and receiving these texts has to be using the same system.

 

However, medical staff also need to consider the chance that someone other than their intended recipient may view their messages, making it imperative that personally identifiable information be communicated in a way that maintains patient privacy.

 

Ideally, a medical facility’s IT department will spearhead the efforts to get everyone on board. But this becomes increasingly difficult with nationwide coverage of medical care. It is one thing to secure one system.

 

It is quite another to secure two systems or hundreds of systems, as is the case with many of the larger institutions.

 

If it is deemed too daunting a task for the whole company to establish an all-encompassing encryption service. At the bare minimum, each employee’s device should use its own encryption app, and the use of encryption should be monitored with employees being held responsible for failure to comply. In addition to encryption, a passcode should be made mandatory on every device.

 

Finally, medical staff should never assume that having access to a patient’s mobile number means that they have given their consent to be contacted via text message.

 

Consent should be gained by each patient before any text-based communication occurs, and the patient should be informed that any messages sent or received may become part of their medical record.

 

Since there is no way to cease the use of smart devices or text messaging in this day and age, establishing secure mobile messaging in healthcare is a must.

 

Medical information is among the most sensitive and expensive information out there and when, or if, it gets into the wrong hands. The consequences could be far-reaching and devastating. A patient seeking medical help should not have to be concerned for the security of their personal information.

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HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage

HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

HIPAA compliant cloud storage is contingent on several aspects. To use a cloud storage and be HIPAA compliant, it is important to ensure that the cloud service provider

 

(CSP) has sufficient safeguards to secure the protected health information (PHI) that is transmitted, stored, or maintained on behalf of their covered entity (CE) client. Additionally, they must be willing to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA).

Security Measures for HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage

Cloud service providers must have certain measures in place to secure PHI and track access to PHI. These include the following:

  • Access controls: each person with the ability to access data stored by the CSP must have unique login credentials. The HIPAA minimum necessary standard requires access to PHI to be limited, so that it is only accessed for a specific purpose. Utilizing unique logins allows organizations to designate different levels of access to PHI based on an employee’s job function. 

 

  • Audit logs: unique login credentials also allows audit logs to be created. Audit logs establish normal access patterns for each employee (what information they access, how frequently they access it, and for how long). Being aware of each employee’s access patterns is the key to detecting insider breaches.

 

  • Encryption: HIPAA compliant cloud storage platforms should utilize end-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE is a means of protecting sensitive data by converting data into code that can only be read with a decryption key. E2EE is the best way to prevent unauthorized access to PHI.

 

  • Data backup:HIPAA requires healthcare organizations, and their business associates, to backup patient data. Data backup ensures that organizations that experience a breach, or natural disaster, are able to quickly restore data.
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Healthcare Organizations Mature their Cybersecurity Practices

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

What is a HIPAA Limited Data Set? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
What is a HIPAA Limited Data Set?

Under HIPAA, a limited data set is protected health information (PHI) that excludes certain direct identifiers of an individual, or certain direct identifiers of relatives, employers, or household members of the individual. 

What is a Direct Identifier?

Under HIPAA, a direct identifier is Information that relates specifically to an individual. HIPAA designates the following information as direct identifiers:

  • Names
  • Postal address information, other than town or city, State, and zip code
  • Telephone numbers
  • Fax numbers
  • Electronic mail addresses
  • Social Security numbers
  • Medical record numbers
  • Health-plan beneficiary numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Certificate and license numbers
  • Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers
  • Device identifiers and serial numbers
  • Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs)
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers
  • Biometric identifiers (including fingerprints and voice prints)
  • Full-face photographic images and any comparable images

What is the Relationship Between Direct Identifiers and a Limited Data Set?

A “limited data set” is information from which the above direct identifiers have been removed. All of the above-listed identifiers must be removed in order for health information to be a limited data set.

Is a Limited Data Set Still Considered Protected Health Information?

Yes.  A limited data set is still protected health information or “PHI” under HIPAA (or electronic protected health information, if in electronic form).

For patient data to lose its status as PHI, that information must be de-identified. De-identified patient data is health information from a medical record that has been stripped of all “direct identifiers”—that is, all information that can be used to identify the patient from whose medical record the health information was derived, not just the direct identifiers listed above.

Therefore, since a limited data set is PHI, is still subject to the use and disclosure requirements and restrictions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. 

What is the Significance of Information Comprising a Limited Data Set?

Disclosures of a “limited data set” are not subject to the HIPAA accounting requirements.

 

HIPAA accounting requirements mandate that a patient or research subject has the right to request a written record (an accounting) when a covered entity has made certain disclosures of that person’s protected health information (“PHI”).  The accounting must include all covered disclosures in the six years prior to the date of the person’s request.

 

A covered entity may also disclose a LDS for public health purposes, including those that are emergency preparedness activities. The covered entity must have a data use agreement in order to disclose the limited data set (LDS).

 
 
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Telemedicine Platforms Attracting Big-time Investments

Telemedicine Platforms Attracting Big-time Investments | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

We’ve seen enormous changes in the healthcare industry in recent years, mostly relating to the more efficient storage and usage of patient data through blockchain technology and the digitisation of patient files.

 

In the past two decades, the growing penetration of technology in the industry has yielded new medical devices, automated treatments, and improved diagnostic processes, giving doctors, scientists and patients renewed hope for the treatment of diseases some of which, until now, have been largely untreatable.

 

Blockchain has enabled the seamless global exchange of patient information in real time with reduced transaction costs and fewer administrative delays, enabling much faster, more secure and more efficient exchanges of health records between medical personnel.

 

But technology isn’t only transforming the way patient information is handled; it is also revolutionising the way patients receive medical care.

 

Telemedicine -- the use of information technology to remotely diagnose, treat, or continuously monitor patients - has been hailed the ‘next disruptor’ of the healthcare industry.

 

In other words, the industry has at last recognised that waiting for hours at a doctor's office to ask a simple question or get a prescription can in some cases be so burdensome and frustrating that it can prevent patients from seeking medical help.

 

About time, too. If every other aspect of our lives has been digitised -- from job hunting, to online dating, to doing the groceries -- why haven’t we yet digitised the process of receiving medical care?

 

Often, a doctor’s check-up is so simple that all that is required is a quick verbal check of symptoms and a quick glance into the patient’s eyes.

 

If this could be done remotely through video technology in less than five minutes, it benefits both the physician -- who can in turn help more patients on average -- and the patient, who needn’t risk becoming even more sick by leaving home and sitting in a crowded waiting room with other ill people.

 

By empowering caregivers to remotely interact with their patients, telemedicine has the power to completely transform health care delivery, by making it far more affordable and available.

 

In fact, it has already begun to do this: in 2018, over 7 million patients used some sort of a telemedicine service in the U.S., and that number is only expected to rise over the next few years. Over half of America’s hospitals already use some sort of telemedicine, and there are more than 200 telemedicine networks in the US alone. Inevitably, with anticipated growth comes unprecedented industry investment - and the telemedicine industry is no exception.

 

There have been huge investments in the global telemedicine market in recent years, so much so that it is anticipated to grow from its current $38.3 billion valuation to an impressive $130.5 billion by 2025.

 

This encompasses value derived not only from the services provided through telemedicine but the devices and platforms that support service delivery. 

 

As healthcare companies look for ways to reduce costs and improve patient-centered care, more and more providers -- as well as investors -- are choosing to invest in shares in telehealth.

 

According to recent studies, 56 percent of healthcare executives say they have already integrated telemedicine - and more specifically, software as a service (SaaS) business models - into organisation, while another 24 percent are currently looking to invest in telemedicine solutions.

 

The remaining 20 percent are just beginning to become familiar with the opportunities presented by telehealth and telemedicine.

 

One particular platform - Colorado-based CirrusMD, which gives patients access to a board-certified physician in less than a minute on the app or on the web - has seen the largest investment to date in the telemedicine world, with a further US$15 million in funding having just been granted for the expansion of its telemedicine portfolio.

 

The money was raised through a series B funding round led by Drive Capital, bringing its total venture capital raised to $26 million altogether.

 

Founded in 2012 by an emergency physician, the platform is available across 50 states and differs from other telemedicine platforms in that members don’t pay upfront to physicians. Instead, it teams up with integrated delivery networks who pay doctors by the hour to deliver services via its platform.

 

CirrusMD is far from alone in the telemedicine sphere, mind you. It vies for the attention of patients alongside competitors Heal, Pager, Kry, HealthTap, Snap MD, Mfine, Pager, K Health, and Doctor on Demand, the latter of which just pulled in $50 million to continue expansion of its virtual doctor platform.

 

Maven - the first telemedicine platform made specifically for women - just launched with $2.2 million in seed funding, and Spruce just raised a further $15 million for its new platform which caters to people with dermatology conditions.

 

With 25 percent of consumers admitting they would willingly switch their primary care provider for one that offers more telehealth services, and with 75 percent of people saying they would be happy to attend a doctor’s appointment remotely, it's extremely likely that the telehealth and telemedicine industry will grow at an exponential rate in the next few years, paving the way for huge opportunities for those willing to invest in the digital infrastructure that supports it.

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What are the Penalties for Breaking HIPAA Rules?

What are the Penalties for Breaking HIPAA Rules? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Organizations that work in healthcare have an obligation to train employees on HIPAA rules.

 

Employee training ensures that employees working with protected health information (PHI) understand the requirements of HIPAA and the penalties they may face for failing to follow HIPAA rules. The penalties for violating HIPAA rules are discussed below.

Repercussions of Violating HIPAA Rules

Depending on the nature of the HIPAA violation, penalties for the violation vary. Disciplinary actions may be determined by an employer, federal regulators, professional boards, and the Department of Justice. 

Imposed penalties are determined by the following:

◈ The nature of the violation

◈ Whether or not the employee was aware that HIPAA rules were being violated

◈ Whether or not the employee took action to correct the violation

◈ Whether or not there was malicious intent, or the violation contributed to personal gain

◈ The nature of harm caused by the violation

◈ How many people were impacted by the violation

◈ Whether or not the incident violated the criminal provision of HIPAA

Employees that violate HIPAA rules can face the following penalties:

◈ Employers can deal with the violation internally

◈ The employee could face termination

◈ Professional boards could issue employee sanctions

◈ Criminal charges could be imposed, including fines and imprisonment

Criminal Repercussions for Breaking HIPAA Rules

Employees that intentionally break HIPAA rules can be fined $50,000 – $250,000, and that doesn’t include potential restitution to victims. Employees may also be subject to jail time; employees that commit aggravated identity theft are subject to a mandatory two-year imprisonment.

 

Other criminal violation penalties are categorized into three tiers:

 

◈ Negligence: up to 1 year jail time 

◈ Falsely obtaining protected health information: up to 5 years jail time 

◈ Malicious intent or personal gain: up to 10 years jail time

Civil Repercussions for Breaking HIPAA Rules

Civil penalties apply when an employee was aware that they violated HIPAA, or they would have been aware had they exercised due diligence.

 

Fines for civil penalties can be anywhere from $100 – $25,000, depending on whether or not there were multiple violations.

 

If the employee corrected the violation within 30 days of discovery, and did not commit willful neglect, the employee is not subject to civil penalties. 

 
 
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One Breach Led to Another: Independence Blue Cross Breach

One Breach Led to Another: Independence Blue Cross Breach | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Independence Blue Cross Breach: What Happened

On May 8, 2020, Independence Blue Cross Privacy Office was notified that plan members’ protected health information (PHI) had been accessed by an unauthorized party.

 

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that their member portal had been accessed from March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020. Members affected by the breach had login credentials that had been exposed in a previous breach. Passwords previously exposed in the 2018 MyFitnessPal app were used to access the Independence member portal.

 

It is unclear as to how many plan members were affected by the Independence Blue Cross breach, however, the exposed information included member names, identification numbers, claims data, spending account balances, provider information, prescription information, and plan types. 

 

In response to the breach, Independence is offering 24 months of free credit monitoring and identity protection services to exposed plan members. Additionally, Independence reviewed their internal policies and procedures, and has implemented additional technical controls to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Independence Blue Cross Breach: How it Could Have Been Prevented

Since the Independence Blue Cross breach stemmed from an unrelated breach, preventing this breach comes down to the members. Generally, when a user’s login credentials are potentially exposed by an app, the company, in this case MyFitnessPal, alerts users that their login information was compromised.

 

Often, people use the same login credentials to access multiple sites, which was the case in this instance.

 

This is why when users are notified that their login credentials may have been exposed, it is important that they change their passwords for other accounts that use the same login information.

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Vaccine Law & HIPAA: When Can Records Be Disclosed?

Vaccine Law & HIPAA: When Can Records Be Disclosed? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Each state’s public school system has a child vaccination requirement. Under these requirements, children enrolled in public schools must submit immunization or vaccination records, showing immunization against diseases such as measles, mumps, and polio.

 

HIPAA vaccine records law addresses the issue of when covered entities may share vaccination records with public schools.

 

Children typically receive their vaccinations from their own healthcare providers. To encourage vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

 

This program enhances the ability of physicians to provide government-purchased vaccines to children. Through its Immunization Quality Improvement Program (IQIP), the CDC promotes and supports timely vaccination of children and adolescents.

 

HIPAA vaccine records law also dictates when providers may share immunization records with public health officials administering the VFC program.

What Does HIPAA Vaccine Records Law Permit?

HIPAA vaccine records law is found within the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Under the Privacy Rule, VFC providers may share patient PHI with public health authorities.

 

The Privacy Rule permits disclosures to public health authorities for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability. To ensure quality vaccinations have been timely administered, public health authorities may review VFC provider immunization records.

HIPAA Vaccine Records Law: What Information Can be Shared?

As a condition of participation in the VFC program, providers must share immunization records with health officials to verify compliance with VFC program requirements, including:

◈ Screening of all children in their practice to determine VFC eligibility;

◈ To determine provider compliance with the VFC immunization schedule regarding the appropriate timing and dosage of vaccinations;

◈ To determine provider compliance with applicable state laws, including state laws regarding religious or other vaccination exemptions; and

◈ To verify that VFC vaccine-eligible children are not being charged for the cost of the vaccine.

HIPAA Vaccine Records Law: When Else May Vaccine Information be Shared?

Under a separate provision of the Privacy Rule, a covered entity may disclose vaccine-related PHI to a school, about an individual who is a student or prospective student of the school, if:

 

◈ The protected health information that is disclosed is limited to proof of immunization;

◈ The school is required by state or other law to have such proof of immunization prior to admitting the individual; and

◈ The covered entity obtains and documents the agreement to the disclosure from either:

◆ A parent, guardian, or other person acting in loco parentis (in place of the parents) of the individual, if the individual is an unemancipated minor; or

◆ The individual, if the individual is an adult or emancipated minor.

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Ransomware is on the Rise, Recent Attacks

Ransomware is on the Rise, Recent Attacks | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Ransomware attacks are on the rise this year, crippling cities and organizations that unfortunately fall victim to hackers.

 

In short, ransomware is malicious software that locks and encrypts computer systems and data. Once a system is infected, hackers gain control and lock out users from their own networks.

 

Just like in a kidnapping scenario, a ransom is demanded. Thus the bad actors threaten to shut down the hacked organization's critical infrastructure, blocking the victims from accessing files. They can go as far as destroying the victims' network and databases. The motivator is simple - extortion for money.

 

While these incidents will continue to occur, the best way an organization can be proactive in mitigating cyber risk is having a strong cybersecurity posture and a well-informed staff on cyber hygiene best practices. It's often said among information security professionals, the weakest link is the human being. 

 

Many ransomware attacks are caused by phishing emails, which are messages infected with malicious links and/or documents. Typically, an individual in the organization mistakenly clicks on such a link or opens up an infected document, enabling hackers to enter the network. Then, well, all havoc breaks loose. 

 

Once hackers are inside the victims networks, they may lurk around for months before making themselves known. Why? They spend time looking for sensitive data to make sure they can lock up the organization's most valuable information.

 

Last year, security firm Emsisoft reported that 205,280 organizations claimed to have lost files because of ransomware attacks. And, from what's been reported, the number of incidents has gone up 41 percent from the previous year. It's safe to conclude that not all incidents are known or reported.

 

Demand for payment now runs on average of $84,116 and can costs can be in the millions, not including the consequential damages from business disruption. 

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware cybercrime will cost $20 billion in damages worldwide by 2021.

 

Hospitals, healthcare providers fighting hackers amid the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has become fertile breeding ground for cybercriminals to do their dirty work. With front-line healthcare providers overwhelmed treating COVID patients, threat actors are aggressively targeting healthcare professionals. 

 

In mid-May, the FBI and Homeland Security issued a warning that Chinese hackers were trying to steal coronavirus vaccination and treatment research information from businesses, healthcare providers, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Interpol, Google and Microsoft also have concluded the shady activity as being aggressively on the rise. 

 

Since 2016, it is estimated that nearly 6.6 million patients were impacted by ransomware attacks. As healthcare providers networks went under attack,  patients' treatment and appointments ended up on hold and/or canceled. For some, the matter is life or death. And it's only gotten worse, as Interpol has stated. 

Celebrity law firm hit, breached, documents leaked

In May of this year, law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks which represents Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and other celebrities got hit with a $21 million ransom. The hacker group REvil allegedly have stolen 756 gigabytes of files, containing confidential information of the firm's famous clientele.

 

At the time of this writing, the New York-based law firm has refused to make a payment. So on May 14, the hackers leaked legal documents pertaining to Lady Gaga. 

 

A sizable amount, the 2.4-gigabyte documents include the entertainer's project contracts, confidentiality agreements and beyond. After doing so, the hackers doubled the ransom to $42 million.

 

A spokesperson on behalf of the law firm stated, "The leaking of our clients’ documents is a despicable and illegal attack by these foreign cyberterrorists who make their living attempting to extort high-profile U.S. companies, government entities, entertainers, politicians, and others. We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law. Even when enormous ransoms have been paid, the criminals often leak the documents anyway.”

 

The group of cybercriminals are now threatening to leak documents of President Trump, which they claim to have in hand. “There’s an election race going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry,” the hackers wrote in a response. “Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever.

 

This is a developing story, and it's been reported that President Trump is not connected to the Grubman law firm.

MSP hit hard, no entity is immune to threats

In mid-April, IT managed services provider, Cognizant, got hit with ransomware. The international company employs 300,000 employees and boasts nearly $15 billion in revenue.

"Cognizant can confirm that a security incident involving our internal systems, and causing service disruptions for some of our clients, is the result of a Maze ransomware attack," the juggernaut stated on its website. 

As the U.S.-based Cognizant continues to restore its networks, the company is facing a loss of $50 to $70 million in damages over the next three months. Additional associated monetary loss is anticipated. 

New Orleans, Chaos in The Big Easy 

In a high-profile municipality case, one of the most visited cities in the southern U.S. was victimized by hackers.

In response, the mayor of the City of New Orleans declared a state of emergency. The attack occurred on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 (perfect date for a nightmare, eh?), according to NOLA Ready. 

While a ransom was never paid, the eight months-long recovery efforts to restore the city's network resulted in a cool $7.2 million in damages.

Negotiating with Hackers

The common thread described in the aforementioned incidents is that cybercriminals are ruthless. No organization is immune to threats. There are ways of being proactive against threats by promoting a cybersecurity culture at your organization. Training staff on what a phishing email looks like and how to avoid being a victim.

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What Are Wireless Business Phone Systems?

What Are Wireless Business Phone Systems? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Small businesses take a lot of calls each day. How many? They get approximately 400 million per day.

 

Historically, growing small businesses turned to PBX or private branch exchange systems.

 

In recent years, however, small businesses chose wireless business phone systems. So, what is a wireless phone system and how does it compare with traditional PBX systems?

Traditional PBX

A PBX system basically works like a switchboard. It allows internal users to call one another on local extensions. It also routes external calls through a set number of external lines or numbers.

 

Some businesses inherit old PBX systems that prove entirely analog when they buy or lease a building. These systems will disappear over time as PBX service providers switch over to digital technology to route calls.

 

PBX solutions were deisgned for single location businesses in which all workers come into the office every day to work.

Wireless Systems

A wireless phone system performs the same essential routing tasks as a PBX system but does it without the pesky hardware. Instead, wireless systems use a cloud-based system that centralizes all of the call routing. Instead of all your calls getting routed around by on-site, analog or digital switches, the routing happens on a server at a data center.

Wireless System Benefits

Wireless systems offer a wide range of potential benefits, many that you can’t get through a PBX system or only for a fee.

 

The switch to a modern, cloud-based system makes a bunch of exciting features available. Video conferencing tops the list. With businesses relying on remote workers, video conferencing helps maintain team unity. Many providers bundle this feature in a standard part of their service package.

 

You can also take advantage of call recording services, which lets you monitor customer service calls. That lets you coach your team when they fall away from best practices. You can also record client meetings to keep track of orders or new service contract particulars.

 

Service providers may also offer integration with your CRM system. This helps keep your customer records up-to-date whenever you get a call.

Standard features you get with wireless systems include:

  • Talk and text
  • Computer-based calling
  • Multiple extensions
  • Video chat

Of course, no system lacks flaws. So, let’s move on to the pitfalls.

Wireless System Pitfalls

As with all other cloud-based applications, a wireless phone system depends on a stable broadband connection. If your broadband service is sketchy, the quality of your calls will end up equally sketchy. You could expect fade-outs, distorted speech, or dropped calls.

 

The good news is that broadband quality and reliability has come a very long way in the last few years and most people can count on having sufficient bandwidth to support calls that are indistinguishable from land-line calls.

PBX System Pitfalls

PBX systems create several pitfalls.

You’ll pay a hefty fee for the hardware and installation. That’s before you even get into the cost for the service and lines. Since cloud-based systems have no hardware, you pay no hardware or installation fees.

 

Each individual line you get from the service provider costs money (they are usually purchased in groups of 23) and you’ll pay an additional per minute rate for each call.

 

By comparison, wireless systems typically charge a small fee for each number and either a low, per minute rate for domestic calls or an unlimited calling plan.

Picking Between the Options

For many businesses, a wireless system makes a lot of sense.

You get a wide range of additional features you can’t get with PBX. You avoid steep hardware and installation costs. You can even dodge long-distance fees with a little bit of effort.

 

For any business with access to good broadband, it’s something of a no-brainer.

 

 

 

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COVID-19 Telehealth Considerations

COVID-19 Telehealth Considerations | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Many healthcare providers have been working to define and implement a telehealth strategy over the past several years. In the initiatives I’ve been involved with, this has generally been a slow march through figuring out the legal, reimbursement, compliance, and physician staffing and compensation implications.

 

With current events, this timeline has obviously accelerated, with IT and clinical staff being tasked with standing up telehealth programs in weeks, if not days, to deal with COVID-19.

 

Telehealth is a key tool to limit visitors at a time of overcapacity, to reduce the risk of infection spread, and to manage non-Covid-19 care when clinics are closed.

 

Below I outline some of the key considerations I have seen in my work with telemedicine, and what that might mean in the near term for health systems scrambling to deploy telehealth functionality as soon as possible.

 

Here focused on synchronous, clinician to home-based patient communication, although launching other forms of telemedicine (clinician to clinician, virtual ICU, etc.) will have similar concerns.

 

TECHNOLOGY


For both hardware and software, there is limited time to go through assessments and procurement processes.

 

Given the time-sensitivity, the focus should be on understanding what is available to be deployed immediately. For hardware, that may mean distributing laptops to ensure clinicians have access to camera and microphone-equipped PCs, or even redistributing hardware from training rooms.

 

For software, this will entail understanding precisely what applications you currently have available, and what the licensing implications would be to scale up to additional users.

 

If a new application or additional licenses are necessary, it is important to pull in legal and supply chain as soon as possible to ensure an efficient contracting process.

 

OPERATING MODEL


The technology for telehealth is relatively easy, but getting clinician, compliance, and revenue cycle leadership buy-in is not. I recommend immediately standing up a taskforce with accountability for decision making and defining policies and procedures.

 

This group should include your IT, EMR, HIM/privacy, compliance, and physician leadership. They will be tasked with determining who is staffing the telehealth service, what the patient consent process is, patient and clinician support, and how documentation will be entered into your EMR.

 

Since time is of the essence here, pulling this group together for a couple of long work sessions is likely the most expedient route.

 

TRAINING AND SUPPORT


You will need to be able to quickly and efficiently train your providers, IT help desk, and scheduling and registration staff. Reception and call center staff will need to know the basics to direct patients to online appointments.

 

Clinicians will need tip sheets on configuring hardware, installing software, and managing appointments and documentation. Help desk staff will need to understand setup and troubleshooting, including working with “non-standard” devices as clinicians work from home.

 

You will need basic how-tos for your patients, and coordination with your marketing and web teams to publish information and links to your telehealth service.

 

LONG-TERM PLANNING


The version of telehealth that you roll out overnight is not likely to be the ideal model.

 

Once your immediate telehealth service is operational at scale, your focus can turn to the longer-term view. This plan should be focused on patient and provider usability, integration with your existing patient portal and digital front door, and seamless interoperability with your EMR.

 

Scoping out the new interfaces, services, or UI integration will allow you to plan for and allocate your team over the coming weeks. While the immediate need for Covid-19 screening is urgent, telehealth will continue to be very relevant over the coming months to allow non-Covid-19 business as usual for those with chronic conditions or requiring prescription refills.

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The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System

The Top 10 Benefits of an Internet Business Phone System | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The voice over internet protocol (VoIP) market is expected to reach $55 billion by 2025. More companies are making the switch to VoIP, allowing them to make calls using broadband internet instead of a conventional phone system.

 

VoIP works by converting sounds into digital communications. Then, the digital file is transferred through internet broadband. By using VoIP, companies can use the internet to make phone calls!

 

Why make the switch? Keep reading to find out. Here are the 10 benefits of switching to a virtual phone system!

 

1. Easy Installation And Integration

 

Many businesses hesitate to make major technological changes. Any change takes time, testing, and money. Installing, configuring, and maintaining a VoIP, however, is incredibly easy.

 

In fact, it’s so easy that VoIP is now the number one telephone service choice for businesses in the country. Already 36 percent of businesses are utilizing a VoIP.

 

Even someone who is less technically savvy can install a VoIP on their own. You can either call an expert technician or try it yourself. VoIP phones are pretty much plug-and-play.

 

It’s also very easy to add new users using hosted VoIP software. The web portal will make it easy for you to move, add, and change systems as needed. The simplicity means you also won’t have to worry about maintenance.

 

As a result, you’ll rarely need professional support when making changes.

 

VoIP also makes it easy for you to utilize other systems and technologies. Integrating other Softwares can enhance your operations, boosting efficiency throughout your company. VoIP integrates a wide variety of business systems, allowing you to customize your VoIP as you see fit.

 

In other words, you’ll have all the benefits of VoIP without needing someone to modify your existing IT infrastructure.

 

2. Scalability

 

One of the top benefits of using an internet business phone system is its scalability.

 

Your virtual phone system will scale along with the needs of your business. A traditional phone system, on the other hand, is usually more difficult to scale. You’ll likely need an IT expert to handle any changes you might need.

 

This scalability will support your company’s efficiency and productivity efforts. You won’t have to waste time or money making company-wide changes to your system.

 

Instead, you can use your small business phone system to add a line the next time you hire a new employee. You can eliminate lines if you’re downsizing, too. Either way, your VoIP will scale along with you.

 

3. Reliability

 

As your company grows, you’ll need a system you can rely on.

 

Some companies think that if they’re without internet, they’ll end up without a phone system as well. One of the benefits of VoIP is that you can still rely on your system even if the internet does go down. In case of an event like this, you can have your calls forwarded to your mobile phone or another device.

 

That means you won’t have to worry about weather issues or power outages impacting your business operations.

 

4. Effective Communication

 

Whether your team is big or small, you’ll need to make sure everyone can communicate. With more people working from home, it’s important to have a system that prioritizes communication.

 

With a virtual phone system, the line will ring at your desk phone a few times before ringing on your mobile device, laptop, or tablet.

 

As a result, you won’t have to worry about missing urgent calls. You’ll save time trying to check your voicemail, too!

 

5. Flexibility

 

With a mobile business phone system, you don’t need your underlying network as part of a specific technology layout. Instead, you can use your existing ethernet, ATM, WiFi, or SONET as the foundation of the network.

 

Traditional phone networks require a lot of complexity, which can make it difficult for your IT team to make adjustments. The network flexibility with VoIP allows you to create a standardized system. As a result, you can support a number of communication types and require less equipment management.

 

6. Additional Features

 

There are a number of benefits and additional features that come included with your internet business phone system. For example, VoIP systems allow clients to connect with a variety of devices. This makes it easier for you to keep your company’s productivity levels up.

 

VoIP programs often include:

 

  • Caller ID
  • Virtual numbers
  • Contact lists
  • Voicemail

You can customize these features to improve your company’s operational efficiency.

 

For example, you can have voicemails forwarded to multiple co-workers. You can also use voicemail-to-text transcriptions and send these documents to your email with ease.

 

7. Work From Anywhere Access

 

Are more of your employees working from home? A work-at-home program can help you save money on office space and decrease utility costs. Before you make that transition, however, it helps to have a VoIP in place.

 

VoIP can ensure your team communicates effectively. Employees can use the voice, fax, and data services through their internet connection.

 

Employees can communicate straight from their home offices or even abroad.

 

As a result, you don’t have to worry about a drop in communication with your team members.

 

8. Simplified Conferences

 

Traditional phone systems allow you to conference with teams and clients. However, you usually need to pay for an additional service in order to host multiple callers. With a small business phone system, you can simplify this process.

 

VoIP removes the need for dedicated phone lines. Instead, you’ll operate on a converged data network. The features are usually native.

 

With the cost already built-in, you won’t have to worry about paying more for conferencing features.

 

9. Functionality

 

With a VoIP, you’re not limited to phone calls. You can also host video-conference, allowing you to communicate with co-workers and clients better than before. Video-conferencing will allow you to share meetings, files, documents, and agendas right from your VoIP system.

 

10. Cost-Efficiency

 

Above all else, switching to a virtual phone system will help your company cut costs. These systems are cheaper than conventional phone systems. The ability to install and remove lines as needed will help you adjust your system to cut costs, too.

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4 Reasons Why You Need Telehealth for Your Practice

4 Reasons Why You Need Telehealth for Your Practice | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telehealth defined

Technology and consumer demand are changing how and where healthcare is delivered.

 

Telehealth is the “use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration,” according to the Health Resources Services Administration. Patients experience telehealth when they video conference with their provider instead of being seen in an office.

 

As healthcare consumerism evolves —driven by young consumers — patients want convenient access to care. Patients want access. They want technology that allows them to do more than schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, pay bills online and email their physicians. Physicians want to replicate the care they deliver at an in-person visit. As a result, telehealth is on the rise for providers and patients alike.

 

Patients prefer to see their own doctor virtually and will increasingly choose medical providers who offer virtual visit capabilities over those who don’t.  Similarly, providers want to see their own patients virtually, get paid for it and want video visits to integrate with their practice management workflow and the electronic health record (EHR).

Patients prefer that their telehealth provider knows them.

More than half (56 percent) of respondents to a 2015 consumer survey felt it was important to have an established relationship with a telemedicine provider and even more (60 percent) felt it was important for a provider to have access to their health records.1  Patients who experience video visits with their own doctor have both.

Consumers increasingly choose medical providers who offer digital and virtual video visit capabilities

More than half of patients surveyed expect digital capabilities and confirmed it would influence their choice in providers, according to 2019 consumer study by Accenture.  For example, 70 percent of patients surveyed are more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text and 49 percent are more likely to choose one that offers the ability to communicate with a doctor via video.2

 

And interest is growing; responses increased 13 percent compared to 2016.  Not surprisingly, younger consumers are leading the trend.

Providers want to see their own patients virtually.

Last year, NextGen Healthcare surveyed our provider clients to determine how best to support their telehealth needs and learned that 56 percent — more than half — use or plan to use telehealth. 4 Of those, an overwhelming majority (90 percent) preferred virtual video visits with established patients.4   Examples of these scheduled virtual visits include:

  • Follow-up visits for treatment compliance
  • Reviewing labs or images
  • Medication management and prescription refills
  • Pre- and post-procedure visits

Integration with practice management workflow and EHR is the key for provider adoption and payment.

Our survey and subsequent focus groups demonstrated the importance of integration of the virtual visit in existing workflows and EHR. 

 

Providers are adding virtual visit functionality to their services and want the same processes for virtual visits as they have for in-person visits, including scheduling, reminders, documentation and insurance or patient payment processing. This is important for adoption by physicians in the practice and payment for services.

 

Just like non-traditional care models, telehealth is on the rise. Providers who embrace the power of virtual care are going to pass those who don’t. Providing technology that is easy to use and integrated into the provider’s EHR will empower easier access.

 

With the advent of technology and healthcare merging into telehealth, providers and patients alike will experience optimal service and optimal care, something that is important to all of us expecting to receive quality care, whether at home or on the road.

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What's the Best Small Business Phone System?

What's the Best Small Business Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Business Phone Systems Basics

Most businesses use a business phone system. It consists of a calling network infrastructure that manages all the communications. It is designed to handle the complex needs of companies, customer service calls, and the call routing that carries calls to the correct person. 

 

Some of the more useful features available in a business telephone system include the following:

  • Call Transfer
  • Greetings
  • Hold Music
  • Dial-by-Name Directory
  • Call Detail Records
  • Call Handling Rules
  • Text Messaging 
  • Many more

Types of Business Phone Systems

Traditional

In a traditional business phone system setup, a local PBX (private branch exchange) system is needed to manage multiple lines.

 

Physical lines connect these and then link them together within an on-site network. This system is often installed and maintained by an external company, such as an IT consultant or PBX reseller.

 

Extensions are created for each user by assigning to them one of the local PBX lines. In most cases, extensions are associated using a three or 4-digit number used to route calls to a specific person’s desk.

 

Extending this system as your company grows requires additional hardware to be added. It also takes time to have the changes made, which makes this process costly and time-consuming. 

 

Positives

  • Able to handles hundreds of lines
  • Doesn’t need an internet connection
  • Offers on-site or hosted options

Negatives

  • Expensive to upgrade or reconfigure
  • Costly monthly phone bill
  • Needs frequent maintenance and servicing

Virtual Phone Systems

Modern business phone systems go beyond tradition; they are full-service virtual solutions for small business communications that utilize high-speed internet connections and hosted software.

 

 A virtual phone system can have all the same features as an old-fashioned PBX without all the equipment.

 

These phone systems are specifically designed to meet the varied needs of a growing business.

 

They allow teams and employees to keep in touch seamlessly using a bevy of powerful tools. Virtual phone systems are powered by VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.

 

The handling call routing and signal processing all done remotely, requiring only a small monthly fee, thereby saving you loads of money and time. 

 

VoIP systems are a good choice for any business, but most especially small businesses. The main reason for this is its flexibility. Adding new users and features as your business grows is easy and instant.

 

Since this system uses cloud technology, it works well with mobile phones. That makes it ideal for businesses that have virtual offices, remote employees, or a need to keep employees connected to customers on the go.

 

Having a virtual office phone system doesn’t mean “mobile-only.” You can have a virtual phone system that works with traditional handsets, computers, as well as mobile phones. These systems quickly adapt to your needs. 

 

Here are some of the critical advantages of using the cloud for your phone system:

  • Save the cost associated with housing the equipment on-site
  • As it is hosted on a third-party server, you don’t have to think about maintenance—your provider handles that
  • Since it is super easy to expand, your virtual office can grow or shrink as needed
  • Usually, monthly phone costs are a lot less than a traditional phone system
  • It is easy to install without the need for outside consultants
  • Works with smartphones and other internet-connected devices
  • You are free to choose whatever area code you want for your business
  • Callers enjoy HD call quality

One of the main concerns people have about switching to a virtual phone system is that they’ll be relying on the provider to ensure the system is up and running, rather than their own I.T. team.

 

That’s why it is critical to make a smart choice when you select your vendor. 

What are the Key Points for Buying a Small Business Phone System?

When you are shopping for a small business phone system, there are a few things that help define your search. When it comes to finding the best fit for your business keeps these in mind:

 

  • Budget: Make sure you understand all of the initial and monthly fees for the set of services that you need.

 

  • Reputation: Because the market for virtual phone systems is so hot, there are a lot of vendors on the scene. Make sure you pick one that’s been around for a while and has a good reputation for customer success. (Fun fact, our founder, Alon Cohen launched the world’s first VoIP product way back in 1995.)

 

  • Fit: Some vendors are focused on servicing giant corporations. If you are a small team, they may not be working on the kinds of features that are important to your type of business. You don’t want to pay for the development of features you will never use, so choose a vendor that is focused on the needs of customers like you.
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Telemedicine Checklist

Telemedicine Checklist | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine services are rapidly expanding, with many providers realizing that they can expand their reach and revenue by utilizing improved connectivity and convenient technology.

 

Telemedicine takes several forms, including consultation directly in the office, school-based consultation to provide emergency services to students, home video consultations, and even integration of biometric data from a person’s health wearables.

 

While telemedicine is indeed beneficial for all stakeholders, it is equally important for providers to make sure they are well-versed with the entire process before they step into it.

 

In order to offer effective primary care and enable truly coordinate care, providers must consider all the planning element that are part of successful telemedicine ventures.

 

Here are the important steps to be taken care of when starting telemedicine.

 

1. Identify Your Mission and Goals

 

Before you do anything to start the process at all, you must sit down and ask yourself certain questions. Why do you want to engage in telemedicine? What are your goals? Do you want to grow your practice? Are you looking to increase your access? Are you interested in saving time or making extra money? Do you think these goals are realizable?

 

It is imperative to have the answers to these basic questions in mind, so you know which path to take right from the beginning.

 

2. Identify Your Patients

 

Once you know what you want to do and have a rough plan on how to achieve it, you must determine your target market and create your patient panel.

 

Do you want to acquire new patients or merely communicate better with your existing patients? Which areas will your patients be in? What health issues will you focus on? Will your patients be tach-savvy millennials or older patients with caregivers? Knowing your patient panel will automatically narrow down and simplify the next steps in the process.

 

3. Create a Relevant Profile

 

As a provider, while you may have all your work experience listed down on your resume, it is essential to update it before diving into telemedicine and to make yourself seem suitable for the job.

 

It is important to update and highlight licenses, since these are critical in matching you with potential positions and patients. Additionally, make sure you make your remote experience stand out, if any. You should also emphasize on the additional skills needed for a telemedicine provider, for example, listening and conversational skills.

 

4. Manage Your Licenses

 

Having multi-state licenses will ensure that you get the most-suited telemedicine position. While telemedicine recruiters may help you in obtaining licenses, there is no denying that they are looking for providers who already have licenses secured before they apply for the job.

 

5. Research HIPAA-Compliant Platforms

 

When considering where to apply, you must research which telemedicine platforms are HIPAA compliant. You should also consider whether the platforms you are looking at are cloud-based, what equipment do they require, what are the training requirements and options, what are the billing procedures, will you need IT support, will you be able to import patient data into your EHR, etc. 

 

6. Reach Out to Telemedicine Recruiters

 

Do some research on the latest clinical outcomes and trends in telemedicine, and then reach out to a recruiter to find you jobs in the area of expertise you would like to focus on.

 

While you may search for jobs online, remember that this area of medicine is still relatively new, and recruiters can guide you and help you find the best jobs at top companies. Following this, make sure you speak to a few companies and evaluate their benefits before finalizing one.

 

7. Acquire Legal Consultation

 

It is wise to obtain legal advice on your telemedicine contract before you finalize it. This is especially necessary and beneficial if there are two organizations involve through your telemedicine practice.

 

You must take into account state laws like prescribing laws, which may be different in the area your patients are. To keep a track of these matters, it is recommended that you have a legal counselor’s services handy.

 

8. Assess Needs and Identify Resources

 

Identify the needs of your telemedicine practice and identify the resources that you have at hand, and those you will need to acquire.

 

At this point, you will also have to determine whether you need a team. If you do, you must focus on administrators, finance managers, clinical operations supervisors, and technical support personnel.

 

9. Set Up Your Office

 

This is perhaps the most important part of the telemedicine experience, because you will have to pick the perfect place to facilitate your telemedicine practice. Ideally, this can be a quiet and secluded corner of your home and must be set up to look professional on video calls.

 

It is also important to make sure you acquire the best technological equipment, since your computer and your internet connection will be your most important tools in the process.

 

10. Engage in Networking

 

Once you are ready to indulge into the process, you must then insert yourself into the telemedicine circle of professionals. If you don’t find any people doing this in your area, it is wise to use social media to reach out to fellow professionals. Communicate with peers and follow different organizations.

 

Additionally, attend telemedicine events around the country to create a constructive network and to learn from those doing similar work.

 

Taking care of these essential steps should ensure the smooth beginning of your telemedicine career. Over time, successful providers not only continue to take steps to improve their care delivery and maximize patient satisfaction, but they also stay connected with industry peers.

 

Eventually, if done right, this could be a life-changing move in your career and could potentially help you excel in the modern care delivery landscape.

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How to Pick the Best Business Phone System for You

How to Pick the Best Business Phone System for You | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Did you know that consumers prefer a personal relationship with small business owners? Well, recent reports indicate that 60% of customers communicate with small entrepreneurs over the phone.

 

For entrepreneurs, knowing how your customers love to communicate with you is an insightful revelation.

 

It helps you provide a communication system that offers them the best experience.

 

Are you unable to decide on the best business phone system for your new establishment? You need to keep in mind the phone systems today are not merely tools for making and receiving calls.

 

Customers will want a unified system that permits an array of communication options.

 

That way, your employees can also connect to clients in whichever way they choose.

 

The market has countless phone systems options, and you could easily fall into confusion. But you could turn that to your advantage by knowing the killer selection tips.

 

What Features Should You Consider as a Solo Entrepreneur?

You probably don’t wish to incur a whole new expenditure installing a new system. As such, you need to adopt a phone system that will sustain the establishment in the future.

 

You likely have expansion goals in the future, and you will not run the business alone forever. You can envision the number of staff you are likely to have soon.

 

Check out some key phone system features for a sole proprietor.

1. Scalability

Scalability is a crucial feature for your sole enterprise if you have expansion goals. You can easily add phones to the system each time you hire new staff. The VoIP system could be a good option for adding your new team.

2. Call Logs

If you run the business all alone, the information coming your way could be overwhelming. If you choose a phone system with call logs, you’ll never miss a beat. With call logs you can view all incoming, outgoing, fax and missed calls to your business phone number(s).

You can even filter logs to view only calls made to a specific queue, extension or calls made to/from an individual number.

3. Call Handling Rules

Although your business is small (for now), with the right business phone system, you can give callers the type of experience that has only been available to large enterprises that can afford to spend a fortune. Fortunately, modern systems make features like call handling rules available for everyone.

Using call handling rules, you can route incoming calls to a single destination, or different destinations based on the day and time or the Caller ID of the call received. You can send calls to voicemail, menus, custom greetings, or even your computer.

 

Does Your Business Have More Than Five Employees?

If you’ve got a small team handling your business, efficiency is the name of the game. You’ll want to look for a solution that covers all of these bases.

1. Is It User-Friendly?

Some aspects of the system could seem simple to you but remember you won’t be handling calls alone. You need a system that your team can comfortably handle and serve customers in the best way.

Look for a solution that is intuitive and be sure that the provider offers technical support.

2. Mobile Applications

A part of your team could be sales and marketing individuals, and I bet they spend most of their time out. So, how do they keep in touch with clients?

Your VoIP phone service should support extensions for each team member. 78% of adults own a mobile phone, and you could take advantage of the fact. Your team can receive calls away from the office using a mobile app or softphones.

3. Call Recording

Call recording is an excellent way to support your training and quality assurance efforts. Look for a system that lets you choose to record all calls, all incoming calls, all outbound calls, or a custom setup that you choose.

You may have to pay a bit extra for call recording, but it can be a big productivity booster, so it’s worth it.

 

What If Your Business Has More Than 10 Employees?

Well, congratulations! Your business is taking the right path. However, you have to upgrade your business phone service.

You are probably wondering what features would work best for your big team. Here are some of the features to inquire about as you talk to your phone service providers.

1. Conference Calls

Your team is big, and you don’t want to limit their productivity. They will probably need to communicate with different clients at the same time using your network.

Choose a service that gives each employee an easy-to-configure conference bridge that has a dedicated number and is password protected. This allows your team to easily set up a conference call without having to plan ahead or use a third-party conferencing provider.

2. Call Routing

Everyone seems busy at their desks, and it could be challenging to know who among the team members is available to respond to a call. Your system could solve the puzzle for you!

Make sure the VoIP phone system can route calls to whoever is available.

3. Emergency Management

Some emergencies could cut off communication in your business, and you shouldn’t take chances. Your business needs to keep moving despite the weather — thus, your system ought to eliminate possible downtime.

The recovery infrastructure needs to be topnotch and ensure communication keeps flowing after the disaster, power failure, or weather emergency.

4. Call Data Records

Call data records give you insight into your business activities. Are there certain times of day, days of the week, or parts of the year that require additional staffing? Is every employee who is expected to be engaged on the phones pulling their weight? 

Your system can do more than help you make calls, it can help you manage your business.

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The HIPAA Security Rule and Vulnerability Scans

The HIPAA Security Rule and Vulnerability Scans | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Under the HIPAA Security Rule, covered entities must implement safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information (ePHI).

 

ePHI is any protected health information that is created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format. 

 

To this end, the HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities to perform a security risk analysis (also known as security risk assessment), which the Security Rule defines as an “accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information held by the covered entity or business associate.” Scans known as vulnerability scans may be performed to identify known vulnerabilities in applications, networks, and firewalls. 

What are Vulnerability Scans?

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses which, if triggered or exploited by a threat, create a risk of improper access to or disclosure of ePHI.

 

 Vulnerability scans are scans designed to identify vulnerabilities, or weaknesses, that have the potential to cause a security incident. 


Under the HIPAA Security Rule, a security incident is defined as:

  • The attempted or successful unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, or destruction of information in an information system; or
  • The attempted or successful unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification or interference with system operations in an information system. 

In plain English, a HIPAA security incident is an attempt (which can be successful or not) to do something unauthorized.

 

The “something” that is unauthorized, is an unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, destruction, or interference.

 

A HIPAA security incident may occur when:

  1. The unauthorized attempt to access, use, disclose, modify, destroy, or interfere, targets an organization’s information system.
  2. The unauthorized attempt is made to access, use, disclose, modify, or interfere with that information system’s system operations.

What are Examples of HIPAA Security Incidents?

Examples of a HIPAA security incident include:

  • Theft of passwords that are used to access electronic protected health information (ePHI).
  • Viruses, malware, or hacking attacks that interfere with the operations of information systems with ePHI.
  • Failure to terminate the account of a former employee that is then used by an unauthorized user to access information systems with ePHI.
  • Providing media with ePHI, such as a PC hard drive or laptop, to another user who is not authorized to access the ePHI prior to removing the ePHI stored on the media.

How Do Vulnerability Scans Identify Weaknesses?

HIPAA vulnerability scans to test for holes and flaws in information systems, and for incorrect system implementation and configuration.

Common flaws that can be revealed through a vulnerability scan include:

  • Flaws in software. Such flaws can be found in computer operating systems, such as Microsoft 7. Such flaws can also be found in software programs, such as Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer. 
  • Flaws in hardware. Vulnerability scans can reveal vulnerabilities that exist on hardware devices. Hardware devices include network firewalls, printers, or routers.  

If a vulnerability scan identifies a vulnerability, the vulnerability may be remediated if the software or network vendor at issue has released a security patch. Installation of the patch may eliminate the security weakness.  

 
 
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