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Summary: Healthcare in the Cloud and the Benefits of Analyzing Patient Data

The Internet of Everything is altering not only our personal lives, but also business practices across every major industry – healthcare included. From telehealth to increasing caregiver efficiency to data sharing, the IoE enables opportunities for improvement. But with these new connections and advances in healthcare technology, many physicians and healthcare professionals are skeptical of this new wave of advancements.

How do you appease these apprehensions? Hosting in environments that are HIPAA compliant to start. But consider the opportunities to use large data sets of a population for better treatment.

Healthcare in the Cloud

Cloud opens opportunities to utilize the Internet of Things to better treat cities, states, countries and the entire world. Physicians have begun using multiple devices to track patient information because cloud environments and applications can provide omnipresent access to medical records, as well as increase the opportunity for communication among other physicians. For example, when flu season rolls around, data can be gathered and analyzed from previous seasons to better inform the endangered cities of when the flu season will begin.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner decided to see where rising healthcare costs were actually being spent; his research is discussed in The Human Face of Big Data.  >> READ MORE

 

 

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Healthcare in the Cloud: Benefits of Analyzing Patient Data

The Internet of Everything is altering not only our personal lives, but also business practices across every major industry – healthcare included. From telehealth to increasing caregiver efficiency to data sharing, the IoE enables opportunities for improvement. But with these new connections and advances in healthcare technology, many physicians and healthcare professionals are skeptical of this new wave of advancements.

How do you appease these apprehensions? Hosting in environments that are HIPAA compliant to start. But consider the opportunities to use large data sets of a population for better treatment.

Cloud opens opportunities to utilize the Internet of Things to better treat cities, states, countries and the entire world. Physicians have begun using multiple devices to track patient information because cloud environments and applications can provide omnipresent access to medical records, as well as increase the opportunity for communication among other physicians. For example, when flu season rolls around, data can be gathered and analyzed from previous seasons to better inform the endangered cities of when the flu season will begin.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner decided to see where rising healthcare costs were actually being spent; his research is discussed in The Human Face of Big Data.

Brenner, with a memory drive containing the records of 600,000 hospital visits, built a map linking hospital claims to patients’ addresses. He analyzed the patterns of data and the results took him by surprise, about 1,000 people accounted for 30% of hospital bills, because these patients were showing up in the hospital time after time.

Healthcare in the Cloud

Furthering the connection of data and the cloud, when surveyed, 63% of consumers were comfortable with having their medical records stored in the cloud. With movement of the patient record to the cloud, there will be more opportunity to analyze cross population data to better evaluate care protocols and support evidenced based medicine.  In addition, when using the cloud to facilitate analyzing patient data, there are more opportunities for collaboration and continuation of care by allowing experts from around the world to share their expertise in a secure and seamless environment. It also allows simplified scalability and the opportunity for expansion for smaller organizations or providers with fewer resources immediately available in non-cloud, on-premises, environments.

As we continue to virtualize more and more aspects of our lives, we will move toward a wholly cloud-based healthcare system. Ahead are the days that healthcare providers will deliver unique patient experiences through cloud-based services securely through purpose-built private and healthcare community clouds.

To read more insights on the cloud, visit our Cloud Perspectives page. Also, be sure to join the conversation – follow @CiscoCloud and use the hashtag #CiscoCloud or leave a comment below.

Read some of our past stories of how cloud and The Human Face of Big Data are changing our personal and professional lives:

 

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Cisco ACI adds New Security and Application Delivery Vendors to Ecosystem: A10 Networks and Catbird

February 3, 2014 at 4:00 am PST

Cisco announced last week that its rapidly expanding ACI ecosystem now includes the A10 Networks aCloud Services Architecture based on the Thunder ADC Application Delivery Controllers, as well as the Catbird IDS/IPS virtual security solutions. These new ACI ecosystem vendors are announcing support for the ACI policy model and integration with the Application Infrastructure Policy Controller (APIC) which will accelerate and automate deployment and provisioning of these services into application networks. This should also resolve any speculation that the ACI ecosystem would not be including technology vendors that compete with Cisco’s other lines of business, as Cisco expands the solution alternatives for customers.

Each of the solutions will rely on two primary capabilities of the APIC and ACI to provide a policy-based automation framework and policy-based service insertion technology. A policy-based automation framework enables resources to be dynamically provisioned and configured according to application requirements. As a result, core services such as firewalls, application delivery controllers (ADC) and Layer 4 through 7 switches can be consumed by applications and made ready to use in a single automated step.

A policy-based service insertion solution automates the step of routing network traffic to the correct services based on application policies. The automated addition, removal, and reordering of services allows applications to quickly change the resources that they require without the need to rewire and reconfigure the network or relocate the services. For example, if the business decision is made to use a web application firewall found in a modern ADC as a cost-effective way of achieving PCI compliance, administrators would simply need to redefine the policy for the services that should be used for the related applications. The Cisco APIC can dynamically distribute new policies to the infrastructure and service nodes in minutes, without requiring the network be manually changed.

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9 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule is now in effect and audits will continue in 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has stated several times that both Covered Entities and Business Associates will be audited.  And the scope of Business Associates has greatly expanded.  I wrote another blog directed towards these new Business Associates.  This final blog of this series focuses on covered entities that work with business associates.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule changed the Business Associate definition, and also makes Business Associates obligated to comply with HIPAA.  You most likely will have more business associates than previously, and those business associates that have access to your network and/or your PHI data are obligated to be HIPAA compliant.    The Ponemon Institute’s Third Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security (December 2012), reveals that 42% of the breaches involved a third party “snafu”.

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8 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

Discovering a breach where ePHI has been stolen certainly falls into the ‘not a good day at work’ category.  It can be catastrophic for some, especially if the compromise occurred months ago and wasn’t detected.  Or if a 3rd party discovered the breach for you, which occurs more often than we think, 47-51% from 2010 – 2012 based on the Ponemon Institutes 3rd Annual Benchmark Study on Patent Privacy and Data Security.

On our list of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations, we are onto topic #8, Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

From the 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, two thirds of the compromises were not discovered for months, or longer.  What is your tolerance for “not knowing?”  Can that discovery time tolerance be justified through reasonable due diligence, or are you back at the “ignorance is bliss” phase (blog #4), which could be interpreted as Willful Neglect in the case of a breach of PHI?

Source: Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report

Source: Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report

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