HealthTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare https://healthtechmagazine.net/rss.xml en As Healthcare Mobility Emerges, So Do New Cybersecurity Threats https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/healthcare-mobility-emerges-so-do-new-cybersecurity-threats <span>As Healthcare Mobility Emerges, So Do New Cybersecurity Threats</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/21/2018 - 10:50</span> <div><p>Mobility programs offer huge benefits to patients and staff alike, but these new tools come with their own specific set of <strong>vulnerabilities and threat vectors</strong>. Providers planning to evolve their mobile strategies must prioritize security to ensure patient safety and overall privacy.</p> <p>Part of a strong security plan is understanding the risks facing healthcare organizations. Malware poses a particular challenge for providers due to the <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/2018-hipaa-compliance-how-keep-your-ephi-protected-perfcon">sensitivity of clinical data</a>. Ransomware, which holds files hostage unless victims pay a fee, is a growing threat that requires a multipronged defense strategy, including a strong backup and recovery process and user education.</p> <p>Threats don’t always come from malicious external sources, though. Employees can fall for phishing scams or introduce risks by using unauthorized devices or processes. <strong>Three-quarters</strong> of respondents to the <a href="https://www.himss.org/2017-himss-cybersecurity-survey" target="_blank">2017 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey</a> say they have some type of insider threat management program in place at their organization. What’s more, improperly configured networks and applications that aren’t maintained leave organizations vulnerable to attack. That’s why organizations must remain on alert.</p> <p>According to HIMSS, <strong>85 percent </strong>of healthcare leaders say they conduct risk assessments at least annually, and <strong>75 percent </strong>conduct regular penetration testing. Other security strategies healthcare organizations should consider include data encryption, access control, device authentication, network segmentation, patch management, malware detection and remote device management.</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/mobile-technology-enhances-next-generation-care-delivery" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> See how mobile technology takes care to the next level!</a></p> <h2>Best Practices, Secure Platforms Shore Up Mobility</h2> <p>So, what makes mobile devices so vulnerable? One aspect is simply that, while users are generally aware of phishing or other typical threats that threaten desktops and laptops, the <strong>threats that impact devices like smartphones and tablets are less well known</strong>.</p> <p>“Many users don’t think that their phones are as vulnerable as their laptops and PCs, which, in turn, lowers their guard when determining if, for example, an email is legitimate or not,” Anthony Giandomenico, senior security strategist and researcher for Fortinet, <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/how-protect-against-new-mobility-and-iot-security-threats">tells <em>HealthTech</em></a>.</p> <p>To combat this gap in knowledge, he recommends that healthcare systems <strong>incorporate mobile attacks into user-awareness training programs</strong> to grow consciousness around mobile threats and what they look like.</p> <p>Moreover, he encourages healthcare organizations to encourage users to employ basic cyber hygiene when using mobile devices. He suggests that leadership and IT teams encourage users to regularly check and install updates, install malware protection on mobile devices and only connect to trusted Wi-Fi networks.</p> <p>Moreover, healthcare organizations can <strong>adopt secure messaging services</strong>, making it mandatory to use a secure platform to exchange all patient information. For example, <a href="https://www.marywashingtonhealthcare.com/" target="_blank">Mary Washington Healthcare</a> has <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/05/providers-evolve-their-messaging-strategies-boost-clinician-communication">transitioned more than 1,000 clinicians</a> to <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/TigerText-subscription-license-1-year/3343243" target="_blank">TigerConnect</a>, a secure text messaging platform designed specifically for healthcare professionals, and as a result, has managed to streamline clinician communication, improving care for patients.</p> <p>“These secure messaging options give providers <strong>near-real-time responses to critical questions</strong> and allow clinicians to make changes in care quickly, versus in the past when such communication might take three or four hours,” Jonathan Christensen, director of research analysis at <a href="https://klasresearch.com/Home" target="_blank">KLAS Research</a>, tells <em>HealthTech</em>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/cyber-security-report.html" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/biztechmagazine.com/files/uploads/Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/healthtech-staff" hreflang="en">HealthTech Staff</a></div> </div> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:50:30 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41481 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Could Smartphones Fix the Patient-Matching Problem? https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/could-smartphones-fix-patient-matching-problem <span>Could Smartphones Fix the Patient-Matching Problem?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/20/2018 - 15:11</span> <div><p>Typos, similar names and other simple errors are, in many ways, impeding accurate patient matching for providers everywhere. But these simple errors can have very real consequences.</p> <p>“Patient identification errors often begin during the registration process and can <strong>initiate a cascade of errors</strong>, including wrong-site surgery, delayed or lost diagnoses, and wrong patient orders, among others,” provider organizations and health IT advocates wrote in <a href="http://bok.ahima.org/PdfView?oid=302512" target="_blank">a letter to Congress</a> this year. It laid out the severity of the issue and called for government bodies to work with organizations on effective patient-matching solutions.</p> <p>“These errors not only impact care in hospitals, medical practices, [long-term and post-acute care] facilities, and other healthcare organizations, but incorrect or ineffective patient matching can have ramifications well beyond a healthcare organization’s four walls,” the letter continues.</p> <p>Inaccurate patient matching is pervasive across the healthcare industry, with a <a href="https://pages.imprivata.com/rs/imprivata/images/Ponemon-Report_121416.pdf" target="_blank">2016 report</a> from the Ponemon Institute and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/?key=Imprivata&amp;ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Imprivata</a> finding that <strong>86 percent </strong>of respondents had “witnessed or known of a medical error that was the result of patient misidentification.”</p> <p>While everything from <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/04/blockchain-buzz-only-growing-louder-healthcare">blockchain</a> to <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/04/ai-delves-data-match-patients-clinical-trials-mayo-clinic">artificial intelligence</a> has been floated as a possible way to improve patient matching, a new study from think tank RAND Corporation and Pew Charitable Trusts pinpoints another tool in the pocket of nearly every patient that could help to fix the problem: phones.</p> <p><style type="text/css"> <!--/*--><![CDATA[/* ><!--*/ <!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}--> /*--><!]]>*/ </style></p><p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/mobile-technology-enhances-next-generation-care-delivery" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> Learn how mobile tools can save time for both providers and patients alike!</a></p> <h2>Phones, Patient Engagement Could Improve Patient Matching</h2> <p>Smartphones and mobile phones, if used appropriately, could offer a promising approach to patient matching that would increase accuracy across the industry, <a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2275.html" target="_blank">according to the report released in August</a>. <strong>Providers could “verify” patients’ mobile phone numbers</strong>, and patients could <strong>use apps during check-in</strong> to approve and update their information.</p> <p>“Tools and methods that allow an individual’s mobile phone or smartphone to be used for improving medical record matching among different health providers appear to be particularly promising for a patient-empowered approach to the problem,” Robert Rudin, lead author and an information scientist at RAND, <a href="https://www.rand.org/news/press/2018/08/22.html" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “But these methods will require development and testing.”</p> <p>The report recommends that providers:</p> <blockquote><p>…advance a three-stage solution that leverages mobile phones and smartphones and aims to (1) improve the quality of identity information used for record matching, (2) establish new functionalities of smartphone apps to facilitate transfer of this information to providers, and (3) create advanced app functionality to further improve record matching and address other evaluation criteria (e.g., likelihood of adoption, sustainability).</p> </blockquote> <p>But these tools alone probably won’t solve the patient-matching issue. An industrywide change will require that patients be more engaged with their medical information.</p> <p>“We found <strong>no silver bullet</strong> for empowering patients to improve record matching,” Rudin said. “Engaging patients in solving the problem likely requires real-world pilot testing and evaluation of an array of approaches.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 19:11:27 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41476 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Tech Giants Promise to Tap IT to Smooth Kinks in Healthcare https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/tech-giants-promise-tap-it-smooth-kinks-healthcare <span>Tech Giants Promise to Tap IT to Smooth Kinks in Healthcare</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:12</span> <div><p>Large technology companies have already <strong>transformed the way we live</strong>, and now they could be revolutionizing our healthcare systems as well.</p> <p>Over the past few months, tech giants have not been shy about their <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/26/technology/big-tech-health-care.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">interest in the healthcare industry</a>, as evidenced by <strong>acquisitions, partnerships </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> investments</strong> into health IT companies and platforms. These interests were solidified in a <a href="https://www.itic.org/public-policy/CloudHealthcarePledge.pdf" target="_blank">recent letter from six prominent technology companies</a> promising a joint commitment to remove barriers to technologies that can<strong> improve interoperability</strong> “particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI,” according to the letter. </p> <p><style type="text/css"> <!--/*--><![CDATA[/* ><!--*/ <!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}--> /*--><!]]>*/ </style></p><p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/next-generation-patient-engagement-technology-enhances-patient-outcomes"><strong>DOWNLOAD</strong>: Check out how how patient engagement and satisfaction tools can hammer down readmission rates!</a></p> <h2>Tech Companies Pledge to Improve Data Sharing</h2> <p>In the letter, issued this summer, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Amazon-Echo-smart-speaker/4648098?" target="_blank">Amazon</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/google.html?enkwrd=Google" target="_blank">Google</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/ibm.html?enkwrd=IBM" target="_blank">IBM</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft-interstitial.html?enkwrd=Microsoft" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/oracle.html?enkwrd=Oracle" target="_blank">Oracle</a> and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/?key=Salesforce&amp;ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Salesforce</a> pledged their commitment to a “common quest to unlock the potential in healthcare data, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs.”</p> <p>The companies pointed to several “foundational assumptions” that will be central to their pursuit of more useful and shareable healthcare data, including:</p> <ul><li>The “frictionless” exchange of health data will ultimately improve patient care and satisfaction while cutting costs across the healthcare system.</li> <li>Interoperable systems, in order to be successful, need to be developed and tested with all users and stakeholders in mind.</li> <li>“Open standards, open specifications, and open source tools are essential to facilitate frictionless data exchange.”</li> <li>The improvement of health data exchange is an ongoing process, not a static one, that will require a constant commitment, open dialogue and assessment.</li> </ul><p>This is just the latest in a slew of announcements by these large tech providers.</p> <h2>Microsoft, Amazon and Others Have a Leg Up in Health IT</h2> <p>Microsoft is already off to the races in terms of <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/microsoft-seeks-enlighten-providers-ways-cloud">helping providers tap IT tools to improve healthcare data use and exchange</a>. As part of an effort from a newly formed team focused on healthcare, experts in the company will work with organizations to help them move their systems to the cloud, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/27/17509096/microsoft-healthcare-cloud-systems" target="_blank">The Verge reports</a>.</p> <p>Moreover, the company is already working with provider partners to introduce cloud in innovative ways. In a partnership with the <a href="https://www.upmc.com/" target="_blank">University of Pittsburgh Medical Center</a>, for instance, Microsoft is working with the provider on several AI and cloud-based initiatives, as well as on a larger project to <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/12/microsoft-upmc-partner-build-3-tech-focused-hospitals">build three specialty hospitals with a digital focus</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft certainly isn’t the only company with a head start on improving care delivery. <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/01/amazon-jpmorgan-chase-berkshire-hathaway-tap-tech-simplify-healthcare">Amazon announced a partnership earlier this year with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase</a> with the aim of tapping tech and other resources to quell ballooning healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.</p> <p>“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Google has <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/01/google-focuses-healthcare-data-emerging-technology">shown major interest and investment in the healthcare space</a> in everything from machine learning for medical data to using the cloud for improved imaging to using tech to bridge the public health gap. IBM has made waves in healthcare with everything <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/04/ai-delves-data-match-patients-clinical-trials-mayo-clinic">from AI</a> to <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/cdc-explores-blockchain-better-share-and-track-ehr-data">blockchain</a>, while Oracle has <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/how-healthcare-organizations-build-foundation-harness-healthcare-analytics">shaken up the analytics space</a>.</p> <p>So, why are all these companies making such a commitment to healthcare now? John Prendergass, associate director of healthcare investment at <a href="https://benfranklin.org/" target="_blank">Ben Franklin Technology Partners</a>, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, told <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/26/technology/big-tech-health-care.html" target="_blank">the <em>New York Times</em></a> that it’s become critical to their users.</p> <p>“The big-picture reason that a lot of these tech companies are getting into healthcare now is because the market is too big, too important and much too personal to their users for them to ignore,” Prendergass said.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:12:17 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41471 at https://healthtechmagazine.net What Your Healthcare Organization Can Do to Prevent Phishing Attacks https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/what-your-healthcare-organization-can-do-prevent-phishing-attacks <span>What Your Healthcare Organization Can Do to Prevent Phishing Attacks</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:40</span> <div><p>While it may seem like phishing is an outdated mode of hacking, the truth is that it’s alive and well — and a very real threat to the healthcare industry.</p> <p>In early July, for example, hackers were able to breach networks of Reliable Respiratory of Norwood, Mass., via a phishing campaign that potentially exposed at least <strong>15 different types</strong> of protected health information, <a href="https://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/email-phishing-attack-compromises-data-of-respiratory-care-provider?feed=00000152-1268-da4c-af7b-567ac5a10000" target="_blank">according to recently released details of the attack</a>. And in August, Oregon-based provider <a href="https://www.legacyhealth.org/our-legacy/stay-connected/newsroom/notice-of-email-phishing-incident.aspx" target="_blank">Legacy Health revealed</a> to some <strong>38,000 patients</strong> that a phishing attack in May possibly exposed personal health information.</p> <p>These providers are far from alone: <strong>110</strong> health data breaches exposed <strong>1.13 million patient records </strong>in just the first quarter of 2018, <a href="https://www.protenus.com/press/press-release/113m-patient-records-breached-from-january-to-march-2018" target="_blank">according to a May report by Protenus</a>. And in a <a href="https://healthitsecurity.com/news/himss-healthcare-ransomware-data-breaches-top-industry-threats" target="_blank">survey from HIMSS earlier this year</a>, respondents identified phishing attacks as one of the top threat actors, with email attacks proving to be the most popular way to access organizations, making up <strong>62 percent </strong>of breaches.</p> <p><a href="https://cdw-prod.adobecqms.net/content/dam/cdw/on-domain-cdw/PDF/risk-based-security.pdf" target="_blank"><em><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> Check out this white paper to ensure your organization isn't the next cybersecurity headline!</em></a></p> <h2>Healthcare Phishing Attacks Become More Sophisticated</h2> <p>Part of what’s driving the rise in phishing attacks is that such emails are becoming more professional and targeted than ever.</p> <p>Spear-phishing, which introduces social engineering into the mix to specifically target companies or even particular employees, in particular is on the rise. <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/cyber-security-report.html" target="_blank">“The Cybersecurity Insight Report”</a> by CDW notes that, <strong>over the past two years</strong>, spear-phishing has become a <strong>“real and pervasive” threat</strong> for businesses at large.</p> <p>“We used to see emails with grammar errors all over the place. Now you open an email and it looks and sounds professional,” John Lex Robinson, cybersecurity strategist at anti-threat firm Cofense (formerly <a href="https://phishme.co/" target="_blank">PhishMe</a>), says in the CDW report. “Social engineering is now being run like a business. They’re targeting individuals. They have moved beyond emails to build entire fraudulent ecosystems online.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, attacks that impersonate someone familiar to a targeted person have<strong> jumped 80 percent</strong> in the last year, <a href="https://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/new-report-reveals-an-80-increase-in-impersonation-or-business-email-compromise-bec-attacks-20180828-00078" target="_blank">according to a recent report by Mimecast</a>.</p> <p>“Targeted malware, heavily socially-engineered impersonation attacks, and phishing threats are still reaching employee inboxes. This leaves organizations at risk of a data breach and financial loss,” said Mimecast cybersecurity strategist Matthew Gardiner in a statement. “Our latest quarterly analysis saw a continued attacker focus on impersonation attacks quarter-on-quarter.”</p> <h2>3 Tips to Prevent Phishing for Healthcare Organizations</h2> <p>With these threats on the rise and <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171115005988/en/Ponemon-Institute-Study-Reveals-Organizations-Lose-5" target="_blank">breaches proving costly for healthcare organizations</a>, how can healthcare organizations best prevent phishing attacks?</p> <p><strong>1. Audit the Current Cybersecurity Environment: </strong><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/healthcare-organizations-face-expanded-threat-landscape">Legacy devices</a>, as well as emerging technology like <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/how-protect-against-new-mobility-and-iot-security-threats">mobile and Internet of Things devices</a>, all carry their own threats. For this reason, companies should conduct a thorough and ongoing assessment of their vulnerabilities. "Cybercriminals are adept at modifying their malware and methods to stay ahead of traditional protections that organizations deploy, as seen by the rise in infections and sophistication of attacks in 2017,” Rahul Kashyap, worldwide chief technology officer at Cylance, <a href="https://www.cylance.com/en_us/about/news---press/cylance-2017-threat-report-provides-insight-into-attacks-prevented-with-artificial-intelligence.html" target="_blank">said in a press release</a>. “It's critical that companies are aware of the threats, keep up-to-date with patches, and use defenses that protect against constantly evolving malware.”</p> <p><strong>2. Segment Networks: </strong>“Much of the challenge of safeguarding patient data is simply a matter of keeping sensitive information cordoned off from the rest of the network, making it more difficult for cyberattackers to reach it,” states the CDW white paper “<a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/sites/healthtechmagazine.net/files/document_files/ensuring-the-security-of-patient-data-white-paper.pdf">Ensuring the Security of Patient Data</a>.” Enter <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/06/4-tips-successfully-segment-your-healthcare-organizations-networks">segmentation</a>, which employs firewalls, routers and other tools to restrict access to parts of a network and provide an added layer of security to PHI.</p> <p><strong>3. Train End Users: </strong>Healthcare is the only industry where insider threats prove greater than those from outside an organization, according to Verizon’s “<a href="http://www.verizon.com/about/news/ransomware-still-top-cybersecurity-threat-warns-verizon-2018-data-breach-investigations-report" target="_blank" title="2018 Verizon Breach Report">2018 Data Breach Investigations Report</a>”. To prevent accidental exposure from insiders, training employees to spot and report suspicious email activity is vital. “Users are really scared to use email today. They get email that they’re afraid to click on and they hear all the horror stories,” Randall Frietzsche, CISO and privacy officer for <a href="https://www.denverhealth.org/" target="_blank" title="Denver Health">Denver Health</a> tells HealthTech, noting that training can help to reduce attacks while improving confidence. “I want to not only reduce the risk of phishing email and ransomware, but I also want to increase users’ confidence in using email because they’ve seen phishing email before, they’re trained on the indicators and what to do with phishing email.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/cyber-security-report.html" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/biztechmagazine.com/files/uploads/Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:40:57 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41466 at https://healthtechmagazine.net How Technology Improves Access to Behavioral Healthcare https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/how-technology-improves-access-behavioral-healthcare <span>How Technology Improves Access to Behavioral Healthcare</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:58</span> <div><p>Mental illness is a growing epidemic in the U.S.</p> <p>More than <strong>43 million Americans</strong>, roughly <strong>18 percent</strong>, have a mental health condition, according to a 2017 <a href="https://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/resource-program/2018%20The%20State%20of%20MH%20in%20America%20-%20FINAL%20%28002%29.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> published by Mental Health America. However, many of those individuals lack access to care, with <strong>one in five adults</strong> reporting an unmet need and nearly <strong>8 percent</strong> of youth without access to mental health services through private insurance. Overall in 2017, <strong>56 percent</strong> of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment, according to the report.</p> <p>Exacerbating the issue is a shortage of providers to treat such patients. According to the report, to meet the mental health needs of Americans, “providers in the lowest-ranked states would have to treat <strong>six times</strong> as many people as providers in the highest-ranked states.” For example, there is only one mental health professional for every <strong>1,260 people</strong> in the state of Alabama.</p> <p>While not a panacea, digital solutions can help to alleviate some of this pressure, particularly by improving accessibility for patients. When it comes to improving behavioral care, technology must be a key part of the solution.</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/next-generation-patient-engagement-technology-enhances-patient-outcomes"><strong>DOWNLOAD</strong>: Get CDW's white paper on next-generation patient engagement technology.</a></p> <h2>Legislation Makes Telehealth a More Realistic Option</h2> <p>Telehealth is one way providers are able to expand their reach and bandwidth. Currently, about <strong>30 states</strong> allow Medicaid coverage for telemental care, <a href="https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/illinois-oks-medicaid-coverage-for-mental-health-via-telehealth" target="_blank">according to mHealthIntelligence</a>, including Illinois, where legislation was approved last month mandating reimbursement for the use of telehealth by behavioral and mental health providers. Gov. Bruce Rauner said taking such steps will “dramatically improve” treatment for both mental health and substance abuse patients throughout the state.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Hazard Independent Schools is one of <strong>70 systems</strong> in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/04/qa-vivian-carter-touts-digital-mental-health-tools-rural-schools">leveraging an online software tool</a> that teachers can use to deliver behavior interventions, and that students can use to access personalized guidance and emotional resources. The tool helped to reduce the number of mental health referrals to outside agencies and is having a “measurable impact” on the health and behavior of students, Vivian Carter, innovation coordinator at the school system, told <em>HealthTech</em> earlier this year.</p> <p>“I see the benefits of the program when I talk to students, teachers and guidance counselors,” Carter said.</p> <h2>Researchers Look to Mobile and VR Technologies</h2> <p><strong>Mobile apps and virtual reality</strong> also are being developed to improve and expand access to treatment options. For instance, researchers at the University of Rochester <a href="http://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/intersections-app-combines-virtual-reality-personalized-psychotherapy-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-296922/" target="_blank">worked to develop</a> a prototype VR app through which patients take part in a virtual psychotherapy session on their own time. Built-in algorithms deliver personalized content based on patient preferences. The researchers currently are conducting usability testing on the app, and hope that, down the road, data accrued by the app will sync with patient electronic health records.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/technology-and-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment/index.shtml" target="_blank">National Institute of Mental Health</a>, there are thousands of mental health apps available in the iTunes and Android app stores. However, NIMH warns consumers about a <strong>lack of regulation and ineffective apps</strong>. In January, Xcertia, a nonprofit organization founded by the American Medical Association, HIMSS and DHX Group <a href="https://wire.ama-assn.org/practice-management/proposed-guidelines-aim-safe-effective-mobile-health-apps" target="_blank">unveiled initial mobile health app guidelines</a> to try to improve the quality of apps available.</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/07/telemental-health-tech-needs-be-integrated-care-studies-find">Technology is not a cure-all</a> for treating behavioral health, but it can make a difference, especially for patients who lack the means to obtain treatment. <strong>Let’s keep the conversation going</strong> to improve accessibility.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>HealthTech<em>’s <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/monitor">MonITor blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using <a href="http://twitter.com/hashtag/WellnessIT">#WellnessIT</a>.</em></p> <p><em><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/monitor" target="_blank"><img alt="MonITor_logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/healthtechmagazine.net/files/MonITor_logo_sized.jpg" /></a></em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11311" hreflang="en">Jonathan Karl </a></div> </div> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 14:58:02 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41461 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Mobile Tools Make Emergency Care More Efficient When Providers Need It Most https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/mobile-tools-make-emergency-care-more-efficient-when-providers-need-it-most <span>Mobile Tools Make Emergency Care More Efficient When Providers Need It Most</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/14/2018 - 10:07</span> <div><p>Disasters like Hurricane Florence, which loomed over the East Coast this week, can leave emergency care providers overwhelmed — both during the disaster and when roads become navigable again.</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/5-faqs-fuel-provider-mobile-deployments">Mobile healthcare tools</a>, such as <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/03/phoenix-childrens-hospital-boosts-patient-satisfaction-centrally-managed-ipads">tablets</a> and <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/millennials-come-expect-telehealth-organizations-make-shift-toward-virtual-care">telehealth</a> software, can offer a <strong>vital resource to emergency departments</strong> and providers as they seek to wade through the chaos and <strong>streamline care</strong> for those who need it most.</p> <h2>Houston Calls on Telemedicine to Supplement Emergency Care</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/" target="_blank">Houston Fire Department</a>, for example, uses mobile technology to more efficiently manage a growing number of 911 calls. Because only a fraction of daily calls to the center are true emergencies, paramedics first determine if a patient is experiencing a serious issue. If so, they take the patient to the emergency room.</p> <p>If not, a <strong>physician can examine the patient via telemedicine</strong> or help emergency medical technicians determine the best course of action, which could include calling the patient a cab to a clinic. That helps to free ambulances so they’re not tied up transporting nonemergency cases to hospitals.</p> <p>This tool, powered by <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/cisco.html" target="_blank">Cisco Systems</a>’ videoconferencing technology, proved vital during and <strong>after Hurricane </strong><strong>Harvey</strong>, when resources were scarce.</p> <p>“After the storm, when the roads became more navigable and most cabs came back online, [the emergency telehealth system] played a <strong>critical role in freeing up other fire department apparatuses</strong> to be able to respond to water emergencies,” Michael Gonzalez, associate medical director for the HFD, <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/09/houstons-mobile-telehealth-service-helps-first-responders-streamline-care-0">tells <em>HealthTech</em></a>. “The ambulances are already the unit that is in shortest supply for us on a regular day. If the ambulance can be spared from transporting a patient that can be safely transported and treated by another entity, the ambulance can be sent to help treat and transport a more critical patient.”</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/mobile-technology-enhances-next-generation-care-delivery"><em>LEARN MORE about how mobile tools are changing the care landscape for providers and patients!</em></a></p> <h2>Tablets Streamline Triage for Stroke Victims</h2> <p>At <a href="https://www.atlantichealth.org/locations/hospitals/overlook-medical-center.html" target="_blank">Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center</a> in Summit, N.J., paramedics use tablets to triage potential stroke victims during the drive to the emergency room. They conduct clinical exams and connect with neurologists via telemedicine so that by the time they arrive at the hospital, a patient can be admitted directly for a computerized tomography scan, allowing doctors to quickly identify both the type of stroke and the best course of action.</p> <p>The model has shaved an average of <strong>14 minutes</strong> from the time a patient arrives at the hospital to the time treatment is received.</p> <p>And it isn’t just providers tapping these tools; the U.S. military has also had success deploying mobile technologies for emergency care. <strong>Medics in the field </strong>can use devices to triage and treat patients, access their health information and communicate with clinicians at primary care hospitals.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/healthtech-staff" hreflang="en">HealthTech Staff</a></div> </div> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 14:07:23 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41456 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Apple Announces EKG Monitor in Series 4 Watch https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/apple-announces-ecg-monitor-series-4-watch <span>Apple Announces EKG Monitor in Series 4 Watch</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/13/2018 - 15:52</span> <div><p>On Wednesday, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/apple.html" target="_blank">Apple</a> unveiled its <strong><a href="https://www.cdwg.com/search/?key=apple%20watch%20series&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Apple Watch</a> Series 4,</strong> which includes significant upgrades to the wearable, the largest of which is a built-in FDA-approved <strong>electrocardiogram monitor</strong>.</p> <p>"We've added electrodes into the back sapphire crystal and the digital crown, allowing you to take an electrocardiogram," explained Apple COO Jeff Williams, during an announcement of the new functionality, among other upgrades, at Apple's headquarters, <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/ecg-apple-watch/" target="_blank"><em>Wired</em> reports</a>. "This is the first EKG product offered over the counter, directly to consumers."</p> <p>The FDA worked closely with Apple as they <strong>developed and tested the two apps</strong> that enable the wearable to detect heart rhythms.</p> <p>"One app creates an electrocardiogram, similar to traditional electrocardiograms, to detect the presence of atrial fibrillation and regular heart rhythm, while the other app analyzes pulse rate data to identify irregular heart rhythms suggestive of atrial fibrillation and notify the user," <a href="https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm620246.htm" target="_blank">says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.</a> He adds that having these healthcare products on devices like smartwatches "may help users <strong>seek treatment earlier </strong>and will truly empower them with more information about their health."</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/mobile-technology-enhances-next-generation-care-delivery" target="_blank"><em><strong>LEARN MORE</strong> about how mobile tools are enabling the next-generation of care!</em></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 19:52:18 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41451 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Cryptojacking Rises in Popularity and Threatens Healthcare Productivity https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/cryptojacking-rises-popularity-and-threatens-healthcare-productivity <span>Cryptojacking Rises in Popularity and Threatens Healthcare Productivity</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/13/2018 - 13:58</span> <div><p>In the world of healthcare security, there are always new threats to replace the old, keeping IS professionals on their toes and creating the need for improved controls and mitigation strategies to keep both organizations and patients safe. Over the past couple of years, security leaders have spent a lot of time and energy <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/healthcare-cybersecurity-how-providers-can-catch">combating the rise of ransomware</a>. Now, that threat is in decline and <strong>a new threat is emerging</strong>: cryptojacking.</p> <p>Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Monero and others rely on <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/08/how-will-blockchain-impact-healthcare-tech-leaders-weigh">blockchain technology</a> to keep an <strong>immutable ledger of all of the transactions</strong> that take place, which is an attractive and necessary feature of these digital currencies. The blocks in the ledgers are encrypted, and the necessary mathematical computations require a lot of processing power. Some of these digital currencies will pay for the processing required to build and verify the blockchain, a process called cryptomining.</p> <p>For willing participants, cryptomining is a way to make money, but because it takes a lot of processing power — and because the cryptocurrency may only pay small amounts for each block of work completed — the ability to do this computation at scale is important.</p> <p>With cryptojacking, threat actors place cryptomining software on as many computing devices as possible in order to maximize profit. The attackers employ many of the same techniques used to distribute ransomware. If someone has <strong>infected 100,000 devices</strong>, and each device can generate <strong>25 cents per day</strong>, that’s not a bad return for a day of doing nothing.</p> <h2>Cryptomining: A Parasitic Infection That Strangles Productivity</h2> <p>For some, it may seem like a relatively benign attack; after all, a cryptojacker is just using unused processor time. However, organizations not only <strong>pay for the energy used by the process</strong>, but <strong>computing resources can slow down dramatically</strong>, overheat or even halt production as a result.</p> <p>Furthermore, once cryptomining software has been installed on a device, that device is considered compromised. The cryptomining software could even accompany other malware with worse intentions. Think of it as a widely distributed parasitic infection shared by millions, but not everyone is aware of the symptoms.</p> <h2>Healthcare Organizations Should Watch for IT Overload</h2> <p>Because it runs in the background, and ideally when the processor is relatively idle, cryptojacking can be <strong>difficult to identify</strong>. The most obvious signs of a cryptominer in operation are related to <strong>performance</strong> (such as unknown processes taking up an unusual amount of CPU time) or <strong>excessive heat build-up</strong> (which can cause devices to shut down or even fail completely).</p> <p>Unless an organization is running an application-specific integrated circuit designed for the purpose of cryptomining, CPUs and GPUs will overload if pushed too hard by one of these programs. If enough devices are compromised, an organization will also see its electric bill increase.</p> <p>Still, more sophisticated attacks manage resources in such a way as to stay undetected. The code is often heavily obfuscated, making it even more difficult to understand what the program is doing.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/orchestration/cyber-security-report.html" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/biztechmagazine.com/files/uploads/Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" /></a></p> <h2>Spread the Word About Cryptomining</h2> <p>Security awareness programs can serve as a primary vehicle for getting the word out. Because cryptojacking exploits many of the same attack vectors as ransomware, the time an organization has already spent training staff about security issues provides a solid foundation. Remember, however, that cryptojacking, unlike other system attacks, is indifferent to file contents, and its goal is not extortion. Cryptojackers want access to computational resources; that can mean any internet-connected device containing a CPU. Mining software can be installed on <strong>IoT devices and network and mobile devices</strong>, and can also operate within a company’s browser software.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST18-002">National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center</a> offers basic advice on how organizations can protect themselves from cryptojacking. While it should go without saying, it’s worth repeating: <strong>deploy anti-virus software and firewalls</strong>, and keep operating systems <strong>patched and up to date</strong>. Never install a new device on the network without changing its default password.</p> <p>What’s more, organizations must remain vigilant in reviewing system privileges, and consider the use of application whitelists and blacklists. Don’t keep unnecessary or outdated software on systems. The same applies for services: If a program or solution has gone unused or is no longer needed, disable it. Disabling JavaScript can protect against browser-based mining programs, as well, but explore all of the implications associated with that action before making that decision.</p> <h2>Know Your System to Better Detect Infections</h2> <p>Browser-based miners may even be employed by websites as a substitute for advertising. When users visit these sites, their browser is used to mine currency. In a nonpersistent version, mining takes place only while visiting the site; others however, may employ persistence, and continue to use resources even after the user has left the site. Because it’s difficult to detect cryptojacking, the best action an organization can take is to <strong>understand what its normal traffic and CPU activity </strong><strong>look</strong><strong> like</strong>. If things slow down, cryptojacking could be involved.</p> <p>A proactive approach to detection may identify traffic associated with cryptojacking, but that can be tricky too. Unlike ransomware, there is no command and control involved, and the messages exchanged are relatively short. Once inside a system, a cryptominer simply does its job. Periodically — and unpredictably — it needs to retrieve new work units to process, and every once in a while it will send work product back. These mining programs can live undetected on systems for a very long time and depend on stealth to survive.</p> <p>Defending against cryptojacking will be a <strong>growth area for vendors</strong> whose specialty is watching for network anomalies. Furthermore, the complexity makes this type of work a great candidate for the application of artificial intelligence. It will be interesting to watch this battle evolve.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11751" hreflang="en">Rod Piechowski</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 17:58:46 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41446 at https://healthtechmagazine.net Cedars-Sinai Uses Fitbits to Better Monitor Cancer Patients and Improve Care https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/cedars-sinai-uses-fitbits-better-monitor-cancer-patients-and-improve-care <span>Cedars-Sinai Uses Fitbits to Better Monitor Cancer Patients and Improve Care</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/12/2018 - 17:48</span> <div><p>While wearables may have gotten their start in the consumer market, there’s no doubt that they are making waves in the larger clinical healthcare space.</p> <p>One of the most recent examples of this is a study by Los Angeles-based <a href="https://www.cedars-sinai.org/" target="_blank">Cedars-Sinai Medical Center</a>, which has successfully used <a href="https://www.cdw.com/product/Fitbit-Flex-2-activity-tracker-with-band-black/4342088?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Fitbit</a> wearable devices to monitor the activity and <strong>quality of life of advanced cancer patients</strong>.</p> <p>The study, which was <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-018-0032-6" target="_blank">published in npj Digital Medicine</a> in July, notes that clinicians decided to tap the technology to monitor patient activity because, while an accurate assessment of activity level is necessary to treatment for patients with advanced cancer, it’s often difficult for doctors and care teams to ascertain, since these patients spend most of their time outside the clinic.</p> <p>“Recent technological advances in wearable activity monitors have made it possible to collect <strong>real-time, objective patient activity data</strong> in a non-obtrusive manner,” the study authors note. “Wearable activity monitors measure the duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity and have previously been used in clinical settings to motivate exercise and behavior.”</p> <p>Referring specifically to <a href="https://www.cdw.com/product/Fitbit-Charge-2-silver-activity-tracker-with-band-black-silver/4296299?cm_cat=GoogleBase&amp;cm_ite=4296299&amp;cm_pla=NA-NA-FIT_RF&amp;cm_ven=acquirgy&amp;ef_id=WI9tnQAABI09uM6b:20180911210033:s&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjwz93cBRCrARIsAEFbWsj4CnJiQbhHKL6wiYtSh3d10PhSKg37TYeKJqiAjmoNvoH44CW39gIaAgUeEALw_wcB&amp;s_kwcid=AL!4223!3!198553132257!!!g!315921815014!" target="_blank">Fitbit Charge</a>, the authors point out that these trackers are relatively <strong>affordable for care teams</strong> and patients alike, making them cost-effective tools to track everything from sleep to heart rate.</p> <p>While the study notes that the findings need to be validated by further studies — and indeed, Cedars-Sinai is conducting at least one additional study — it concludes that wearables can be used successfully to “<strong>predict clinical and patient-reported outcomes</strong>,” for advanced cancer patients.</p> <p>“We got a ballpark idea of what a cancer patient’s life is like outside of the clinic,” Dr. Andrew Hendifar, medical director for pancreatic cancer at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and the principal investigator of the study <a href="https://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/cedars-sinai-leverages-fitness-trackers-to-monitor-cancer-patients" target="_blank">told <em>Health Data Management</em></a>. “We found that there was a very strong association between the physician’s score and the number of steps per day the patient was doing. The more that they walked, the less issues they had in a number of measures.”</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/resources/white-paper/mobile-technology-enhances-next-generation-care-delivery" target="_blank"><em><strong>Learn more</strong> about how mobile tools are enabling the next-generation of care!</em></a></p> <h2>Wearables Move Toward Personalized Medicine</h2> <p>Fitness trackers are being used in a variety of ways by clinicians and researchers to <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/08/all-wrist-biometric-trackers-give-doctors-jump-patient-care" target="_blank">better track patient biometric data that can help to inform the management of various diseases</a> and disorders.</p> <p>Fitbit CEO James Park <a href="http://fortune.com/2018/08/21/fitbit-ceo-james-park-wearables-health/" target="_blank">recently told <em>Fortune</em></a> that he felt connected devices had an “<strong>important part to play in the </strong><strong>healthcare</strong><strong> system</strong>” at large, and that the company would be looking toward the clinical space, taking the lessons it learned from the consumer aspects of its business and creating “overall solutions for helping people manage different health conditions.”</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/fitbit-pushes-clinical-space-make-medicine-more-personal">Fitbit has already made waves in the clinical space</a>, recently <a href="https://investor.fitbit.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/Fitbit-and-Google-Announce-Collaboration-to-Accelerate-Innovation-in-Digital-Health-and-Wearables/default.aspx" target="_blank">teaming with Google</a> to help securely connect wearable data with electronic medical record data and disseminate the information across the healthcare system.</p> <p>Going forward, data collected from wearables has the potential to <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/02/technology-lays-foundation-precision-medicine-success">enable a wider world of personalized and precision medicine</a>, as well — something Hendifar of Cedars-Sinai told <em>Health Data Management</em> he is looking forward to.</p> <p>“Our hope is that findings from future studies with wearable activity monitors could lead to development of <strong>individualized treatment and exercise plans</strong> that may result in increased treatment tolerability and improved survival outcomes for patients,” said Hendifar.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 21:48:21 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41441 at https://healthtechmagazine.net HIPAA-Compliant Email and Messaging: The Benefits of a Multipronged Approach https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/09/hipaa-compliant-email-and-messaging-benefits-multipronged-approach-perfcon <span>HIPAA-Compliant Email and Messaging: The Benefits of a Multipronged Approach</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/12/2018 - 10:38</span> <div><p>Email platforms such as <a href="https://www.cdw.com/product/Microsoft-Office-Home-and-Business-2016-License-1-PC/3847985?cm_cat=GoogleBase&amp;cm_ite=3847985&amp;cm_pla=NA-NA-MIC_AS&amp;cm_ven=acquirgy&amp;ef_id=WI9tnQAABI09uM6b:20180907210838:s&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjww8jcBRDZARIsAJGCSGsz16-NdQlGgnWEjLu5jbmeOqgiZZgk4s0CKrCq98uX3J6LALdu-IsaAs1pEALw_wcB&amp;s_kwcid=AL!4223!3!198554567655!!!g!60050805136!" target="_blank">Microsoft Office 365</a> remain an important mode of communicating with and sharing information about patients. <strong>But is email HIPAA-compliant?</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/index.html" target="_blank">Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Privacy Rule</a> governs how healthcare organizations use, disclose and protect patients’ personal health information. It also covers business associates, including <strong>cloud services and email providers</strong>, that handle protected health information on their behalf.</p> <p>As long as a HIPAA-covered entity secures a <strong>business associate agreement with an email provider</strong> such as <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft-interstitial.html?enkwrd=Microsoft" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, email can comply with HIPAA rules.</p> <p>That said, a BAA alone doesn’t guarantee HIPAA compliance.</p> <p>Healthcare organizations must ensure access controls are configured correctly, administrator access tracking is turned on, <strong>Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online</strong> for supported devices is turned off, access control reports are obtained and checked regularly, and all users are trained on how to use Office 365 in a manner compliant with HIPAA rules, such as not including protected health information in subject lines, <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/TrustCenter/Compliance/HIPAA" target="_blank">according to Microsoft’s guidance on the issue</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/how-ensure-your-healthcare-cloud-storage-stays-hipaa-compliant-perfcon" target="_blank"><em>Check out how to keep healthcare data stored in the cloud HIPAA compliant!</em></a></p> <h2>Email Encryption Offers Additional HIPAA-Compliance Safeguards</h2> <p>In an industry <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/10/nhit-week-2017-3-ways-healthcare-can-take-fresh-look-innovation">slow to adapt to new technologies</a> — many healthcare organizations <a href="https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/why-are-us-australia-uk-health-orgs-still-wrangling-legacy-fax-machines" target="_blank">still use pagers and fax machines</a> — email remains a popular mode of communication. It’s useful for marketing and fundraising, appointment reminders, and alerts to <strong>new messages, test results or other information</strong> available on a <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/04/collaboration-and-communication-tools-spark-new-ways-build-patient-engagement">secure patient portal</a>, for example. Internally, clinicians and staff frequently use email for nonurgent communications with peers, such as when seeking a second opinion.</p> <p>But organizations can shore up security by taking a multipronged approach, adding <strong>encryption software to email platforms</strong> and using <strong>secure messaging platforms</strong> to share urgent patient information quickly.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gwhospital.com/" target="_blank">George Washington University Hospital</a>, for example, uses Microsoft 365 in conjunction with <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/proofpoint.html?enkwrd=Proofpoint" target="_blank">Proofpoint</a> encryption software.</p> <p>“There’s no training required. It’s very simple,” says Marvin Onyemaechi, director of information technology operations at George Washington University Hospital. Typing the word “private” in the subject line automatically triggers encryption. “That’s all you need to do,” he says.</p> <h2>HIPAA-Compliant Messaging for Clinical Communications </h2> <p>Although the District of Columbia’s <strong>371-bed, Level I trauma hospital</strong>, which is affiliated with George Washington University’s medical school, uses email for nonurgent communications, they also use<a href="https://www.cdw.com/product/tigertext-subscription-license-1-year/3343243" target="_blank"> TigerConnect</a>’s HIPAA-compliant clinical communication and collaboration platform for time-sensitive alerts that could affect patient safety, such as to activate a trauma team or cardiac catheterization laboratory team.</p> <p>The platform, which operates on both Android and iOS, has allowed the organization to switch from hospital-issued pagers to a BYOD program: Users access the secure messaging system on their personal smartphones and tablets.</p> <p>“<strong>Smartphones are so much more functional</strong>,” says Chief Medical Information Officer Brian Choi. “They allow for voice calls, text messages, photos and videos, all on one device.”</p> <p>And TigerConnect messaging is based on web 2.0 technology, similar to Facebook and Instagram. “It’s so simple that <strong>anyone can just pick it up and use it</strong>,” Onyemaechi says.</p> <p>In fact, staffers and affiliated physicians, especially millennials, were already transitioning away from pagers, Choi says, leaving them in desk drawers and taking phone calls or texts on their personal devices instead. That mosaic of approved and unapproved communication channels was worrisome, especially since the hospital’s own read on the HIPAA regulations is that SMS texts are not compliant.</p> <p>“We have about <strong>2,000 active [TigerConnect] users</strong> sending <strong>400,000 messages per month</strong>,” Choi says. “That tells me there probably was a ton of noncompliant SMS messaging being used before. That risk of PHI loss was what drove us to messaging.”</p> <h2>HIPAA-Compliant Communication Supports the Triple Aim</h2> <p>The hospital has completely decommissioned its pagers since adopting TigerConnect. It added <strong>charging stations </strong>throughout the campus to ease fears that the BYOD program would drain users’ batteries, and has a small cache of loaner <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Apple-iPod-touch-digital-player-Apple-iOS-11/3781323?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Apple iPods</a>, preloaded with TigerConnect and other apps.</p> <p>The BYOD approach saves money through the simple fact that organizations aren’t buying the devices, but there are efficiency and patient-safety gains to HIPAA-secure messaging, as well.</p> <p>Auto-forwarding to a nonsterile nurse in the operating room, for example, allows a scrubbed-in surgeon to respond to urgent requests without giving away his or her password or device. Blast messaging can reach an entire team at once, improving response times and <strong>improving key quality measures</strong>, such as door-to-balloon times.</p> <p>"Some people might say the pagers are not going to go anywhere,” Onyemaechi says. “I think that it’s a disservice to our patient community. Everyone knows now: <strong>What the world was is not what it is today.</strong>”</p> <p>In fact, any one technology can <a href="https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/07/2018-hipaa-compliance-how-keep-your-ephi-protected-perfcon">help an organization keep PHI secure</a>. But an array of HIPAA-compliant communications solutions — such as encrypted email to communicate with patients and secure messaging systems to facilitate time-sensitive internal communications — might be the better bet.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/gienna-shaw" hreflang="en">Gienna Shaw</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 14:38:21 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41436 at https://healthtechmagazine.net