Tag Archives: ehrs

Healthcare Needs a Data Checkup

As the healthcare industry continues to digitize, data protection technology has not been able to keep pace. Unfortunately for industry participants, healthcare has become a top target for state-sponsored and free-agent hackers.

In fact, a study released by Michigan State University in April 2017 found that healthcare providers reported 1,225 of the total 1,798 data breaches in the U.S. from 2009 to 2016. Why has the healthcare industry become such a target? And what can healthcare providers do to protect their organizations and the thousands of patients they serve?

One primary reason for the target on healthcare’s figurative back is the rapid implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). From 2009 to 2014, adoption of EHRs rose from less than 10% to 97%. This haste to complete implementation has led to a deficiency in data protection and security measures within EHRs. Additionally, with more and more providers leveraging mobile devices and turning to data driven by the Internet of Things, attackers have a plethora of new entry points to access private and sensitive data.

See also: Data Security Critical as IoT Multiplies  

A quick scan of the Identity Theft Center’s 2016 Data Breach Report shows that lost workplace laptops and stolen company-issued cell phones are frequently listed as reasons for a data breach.

Given the growing use of workplace devices in the healthcare industry, as well as the corresponding danger of transmitting information from a central data center to end-user devices and back again, it is crucial that data is protected the moment it is created. Further, healthcare providers must ensure employees are aware that their devices could be compromised when the connection to the data center is lost.

Mobile devices make it harder to protect data

For example, an attacker could access data while employees are traveling between medical centers when the connection is lost and then sell the retrieved information or leverage it for ransom. As such, data should be protected regardless of whether it is at rest or in transit, as well as in connected and disconnected environments.

To protect themselves from vulnerabilities that lead to data breaches, cyber attacks and ransomware, healthcare organizations must revisit their security strategy. This strategy should be comprehensive, flexible and capable of mitigating the impact of a breach at various levels within the enterprise via multiple layers of security solutions. The use of layered security allows for incremental defense to ultimately protect what is most vital to the business—its data. If other security countermeasures are defeated, data protection, which supersedes traditional encryption, will be vital as the last line of defense. For this reason, organizations must use data protection that travels with their data, rendering the data useless to the attacker should it be compromised.

Training, technology part of treatment

Data security is a threat that will not fade away, but rather grow in importance. As technology continues to advance, attackers and other entities involved in data theft will have just as many tools as the healthcare providers endeavoring to protect valuable and private information.

See also: Aggressive Regulation on Data Breaches  

Healthcare organizations must accept that their data will become a target and that these threats could originate from nontraditional sources, such as IoT and other innovations. Leaders must act now to protect their business, patients and other stakeholders.

This article originally appeared on ThirdCertainty. It was written by Ermis Sfakiyanudis.

Hey, Pharma! It’s Time for a Change

As Bruce Buffer, voice of the UFC, would say, “IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S TIME!”

In this case, it’s time for big pharma to stop just defending its prices and to start to tap into the consumerism that is transforming healthcare.

Check out these stats (mostly from Google and Decisions Resources Group):

  • One in 20 online searches is for health-related questions.
  • According to comScore, health topics are the No. 1 search category on mobile.
  • 72% of people with pre-existing conditions searched for medical info online.
  • Half of all patients and caregivers already turn to digital channels to look up formulary or dosing information.
  • After a diagnosis, 84% of patients searched for options.
  • In a report by Decision Resources Group of 1,000 physicians, more than 50% reported their patients are more actively involved in treatment decisions — and these doctors called on pharma to support affordable options, provide relevant information and make online information more understandable.

The latest survey from Medical, Marketing & Media (MMM) shows 76% of pharma respondents use digital marketing, but the channel segregation below shows respondents devoted the greatest percentage of their marketing budgets to professional meetings/conferences and sales reps/materials. Digital channels — including websites, digital advertising and social media — lagged behind.

More surprising is that only half of both large and small pharmaceutical companies see the growth of consumerism in healthcare as an opportunity. But that’s EXACTLY where the opportunity for growth lies. To thrive in the new era of value-based care, pharma companies will need to change their marketing strategy toward partnering and will certainly need to focus far more on the individual consumer.

See also: Checklist for Improving Consumer Experience  

Trying to scare politicians away from lower-price reforms with the “It will kill our R&D” excuse is becoming the “BOO!” that no longer scares the grown-ups. Both 2016 presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, plan to stimulate price competition through imports — and there is bipartisan pressure to lift the ban on Medicare’s negotiating drug prices. Apart from trade groups and shareholders, high-priced pharma doesn’t have many friends.

Payer pressure is bad enough, but if you don’t get into the value-based care game, you are going to be on the wrong side of a very emotional equation.

Patients have greater financial burdens because of higher deductibles and greater cost-sharing requirements, with varying medication tiers. Providers are ever-burdened with less time, and, now, a greater level of risk is being put on them to deliver higher-quality care, better outcomes and greater patient satisfaction — all at a lower price.

Patients are not just seeking advice from providers. They are increasingly online, and at all hours. Plus, we’re going to start to see greater levels of patient-generated healthcare data with wearables and digital technology. And, as we have seen, half of consumers spend their online time on social media. (HINT: Tap into consumers’ behaviors and beliefs, show that you genuinely care and engage them in ways that let them feel as though you are part of their health team.)

The writing is on the wall. Consumers are practically screaming out what they want and need from you. Partner with wearable and EHR companies. Start developing ways to capture and interact with your customers — specific to individuals, at the best times to engage. Find ways you can partner with hospitals, physicians and affordable care organizations (ACOs) to get into their care pathway in ways that help them lower costs to patients and payers.

See also: Stop Overpaying for Pharmaceuticals  

Say “yes” to predictive modeling, big data, analytics, lots of testing and customer segmentation. “Yes” to retaining some of the traditional marketing. Most of all, become human in your approach. Put yourself out there and let people know that you are no longer on an island, separate from everyone else. Let them know your port and beaches are open to more boats and more people than ever before.