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6 Healthcare IT Transitions: The Hackers delight

May 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm PST

From FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to FBI (Federal bureau of Investigations), they see a core issue bubbling up: The vulnerability of Healthcare systems to cyber-attacks. Both agencies have issued an advisory in this regard in the last 1 year.

Source: DataLossDB.org

Source: DataLossDB.org -- Healthcare amounts to 17% of incidents in 2013

FDA Advisory was focused on medical devices and hospital networks, while the FBI’s communication is focused on hackers attempting to hack personal medical records and health insurance data and even goes to calling out the gaps in resiliency to cyber-attacks as compared with other sectors such as financial and retail sectors.

In addition, looking at statistics from datalossdb.org, Health Care sector has consistently been in the top 3 sectors that have had the most incidents.

But the question is, why now?

This is where the correlation with the Health Care IT transition time lines adds up. It’s the other side of Health Care IT transitions that we looked at in the previous part (At the security cross roads of Healthcare reforms and IoE – 6 Health Care IT Transitions) of this blog series – the threat that have emerged from open anywhere, anytime, any device access which has enabled convenience and transformational experience to patients and care teams.

Let’s see an example of the changing dynamics of some of these transitions from a Hackers perspective by analyzing one of these transitions: Transition from Paper charts to EMR and enabling anywhere anytime, any device access to my care teams and my patients.

Health Care IT Transitions and their Security Implications 1-3 of 6

Health Care IT Transitions and their Security Implications (1-3 of 6)

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At the Security Cross Roads of Health Care Reforms and IoE – 6 Health Care IT Transitions

April 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm PST

The saying ‘Tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I will behave’ could have been the perfect tag line for the US Health Care Reforms. When we look at how Health Care Information technology is getting used to enable reforms, we see that most of the technologies existed prior to the reforms, but there wasn’t a compelling reason to adopt it. Once the measurement criteria, the carrots and the sticks were defined, the behaviors changed, and to achieve the metrics, the technology adoption picked up. As an example, according to CDC’s report, the adoption of office based physicians with EHR systems has increased to 78.4% in 2013 from 17.3% in 2003.

EMR-Adoption

Percentage of office based physicians with EHR systems in US

Maybe a coincidence, but the Health Care reforms and Health Care Internet of Everything (IoE) are very much intertwined. The Health Care reforms focus on the ‘why’ and ‘what’ changes are needed to enable outcomes and define how performance is measured.  The Health Care Internet of Everything focuses on how technology can be leveraged to enable the goals of Health Care Reforms. By connecting the unconnected, IoE brings more information from multiple sources (things and people) to create an enhanced evidence based model to enable better outcomes.

From an IT perspective, Health Care Reforms requires breaking boundaries, opening up the access, enabling choices, improving data collection from multiple critical sources, and enabling information sharing. It is definitely a challenge to achieve these needs using the traditional approaches in Health Care.  Hence Health Care approaches have evolved to leverage Health care IT as a change agent, thereby resulting in many new Health Care IT transitions.

Let us explore six key Health Care IT transitions that have significant security implications.

Healthcare-IT-Transition-part-1 Read More »

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Telehealth Takes Center Stage

January 31, 2013 at 9:43 am PST

As my colleagues just wrapped up participating in the 2-day World Congress Telehealth Executive Summit and are preparing for the 6th Annual Community for Connected Health Summit at HIMSS13, I’ve been thinking even more about telehealth technology and how far it has come since my first exposure to it almost almost thirteen years ago.

The technology has made amazing strides, and with healthcare costs on the rise, it’s no surprise government agencies and other organizations are looking to the technology to curb health costs while increasing the efficiency and quality of care.

Telehealth technologies, such as Cisco’s HealthPresence (and version 2.5, just announced this month), can increase access to specialized care and allow medical specialists to conduct virtual consultations. By leveraging technologies and solutions like Unified Workspace and cloud, telehealth has real potential to transform the delivery of healthcare.

Realizing the power of connected healthcare, House Representative Mike Thompson introduced a telehealth bill in late December. If passed, Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 could extend telehealth benefits to more than 75 million Americans by removing two existing barriers--licensure and reimbursements.

…and the support for telehealth keeps going.

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it will allocate $400 million a year to expand existing telehealth pilot program. The funds will help increase connectivity between urban medical centers and rural clinics to better coordinate care and lower costs among other benefits.

With more organizations realizing the potential of telehealth technologies, it’s clear we may soon see it take center stage. Where do you see telehealth having the greatest impact on government and the public sector?

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Supreme Court Upholds the Healthcare Reform Act-What Do You Think?

The federal government will be allowed to tax people for failure to have health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional under the commerce clause but allowable under a taxing clause.

The landmark decisions end two years of legal uncertainty and vigorous barbecue and cocktail party debates.  The decision has wide-ranging implications that are yet to be fully understood.

 “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.

The 26 states that opposed it said that while Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce, it doesn’t have the power to require people to buy a product.

One area of the law that did see a significant restrict ion was the portion of the law relative to the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the law will cost the government about $938 billion over 10 years.  The CBO has also estimated that it will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over a decade.

It is unlikely this will be the last we have heard of it.  Our politicians will still have more to say.  And barbecues and cocktail parties will not be left bereft of conversation this summer.

What do you think?

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