The current landscape of the health care industry, with its increased access to data and technology, has caused the roles of CIOs, chief marketing officers and chief technology officers to evolve to make hospitals more accessible to patients. Health care CIOs are now more data-centric thanks to the adoption of EHR systems and are developing their skills in predictive analytics and data management and governance through enterprise data warehousing.
Health care organizations may mitigate the potential risks of a transition to a cloud-based storage system by getting their security team involved in the process from the beginning, says Penn Medicine Chief Information Security Officer Dan Costantino. The biggest concerns posed by cloud-based storage are that a third party is being handed the responsibility over the security controls but not the responsibility over the data, and that the organization would give up specialized security controls that it could retain if storage was kept in-house.
Officials at the Center for Vitreo-Retinal Diseases in Illinois discovered a ransomware attack on its servers Sept. 18 and have notified 20,371 patients whose data may have been compromised. Although there was no evidence that patient files were viewed, an investigation showed that an unauthorized user may have accessed the center's servers and could have viewed or accessed patients' names, health data, insurance information, addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers, as well as the Social Security numbers of some Medicare patients.
A ransomware attack against EMR hosting vendor IT Lighthouse on Sept. 19 could have compromised the information of 16,055 patients at Redwood Eye Center in California, including their names, medical treatment details, health insurance information, dates of birth and addresses. The eye center already notified the state attorney general about the potential data breach and has bolstered its security program and switched to a new vendor.
Memorial Hermann Health System received a 2018 HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award for reducing its rate of falls among older adult patients -- among the lowest rates in the US in 2016 -- by using a clinical decision support tool. The tool sends alerts that limit medication ordering for elderly patients, with its reliability and automation improved by the EHR's capacity to send dose range-checking alerts and add filters for conditions and age.
The Medical Group Management Association is encouraging Congress to revise the HIPAA law, and association officials are expected to go to Washington later this month. "The current process for developing and adopting new and revised administrative simplification standards, encouraging widespread use of the standards and enforcing compliance with the standards is defective," MGMA officials said in a letter to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.
A project management tool developed by The Institute for Healthcare Improvement can help healthcare systems change their business model from volume-based to value-based. The tool provides recommendations for quality improvement projects, such as creating a work plan with milestones and a set timeline to keep momentum going.
Physician offices can be at risk from gun violence but training can help reduce the risk and also prepare staff in the event a patient or family member becomes violent, writes Steve Wilder, president and COO of Sorensen, Wilder & Associates. "Training your staff to be open, honest, and polite when communicating with your patients is one of the simplest things you can do to start reducing the risk of violence," he writes.
In light of higher rates of violence against healthcare and social service workers, a proposed bill would mandate an OSHA standard requiring employers in those sectors to devise workplace protection plans. A 2016 study by the Government Accountability Office shows healthcare and social service workers face violence at a rate 12 times higher than the overall workforce.
The third-annual Healthcare Operations and Technology Survey from BillingTree shows 63% of healthcare providers accept web portal payments and more than 25% accept text payments. The biggest issues for providers are a patient's ability to pay, insurance billing and a shortage of payment channels, according to the survey.
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