Healthcare IT Last Week

The healthcare information technology sector remains active as we finish the month of October and the last few months of 2018. This section provides you all of the things you need to be updated on what’s happening, trends, and who’s who in the field of health IT.

Health Sector Making Rapid Stride in Cybersecurity

A Veracode report named the healthcare industry, together with the retail sector, as having the most rapid initiative to address cybersecurity issues identified by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The conclusion was made after the healthcare industry received high scores in many State of Software Security metrics. However, a MediaPort report emphasized that there is a greater need for employee awareness on cybersecurity best practices. MediaPort uncovered that despite progresses, the 75% of healthcare employees are still unaware of security risks. These risks include inability to recognize malware infections, failure to identify physical security breaches, and lack of knowledge on using cloud computing security.

Related Read: How to Land a Health Information Management Job

New Technologies Seen to Improve Healthcare

Big data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are some new technologies enumerated by ISACA’s 2018 Digital Transformation Barometer as inventions that could further improve all aspects of healthcare. Industry experts said that blockchain can be utilized in securing electronic health records and other medical transactions. They added IoT has the potential to be used in providing a more unique, personalized approach to medical care. Lastly, many believe that big data could play an important role in reducing days of hospital stay, reducing infection, and improving patient outcome. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and three-dimensional (3-D) printing were also identified as having potential to improve processes in healthcare delivery.

STRIDES Welcomes Amazon

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has joined the Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) project of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). AWS is one of the leading providers of cloud computing solutions to businesses and governments. As part of the project, the subsidiary would be providing several large genomic datasets that would enable researchers to perform and interpret sequences more efficiently. AWS comes after Google Cloud, the project’s first technology partner, signed on to be part of the initiative.

Rangely Hospital Saw 53% Hike in Cash Collection After Tech Adoption

A collaboration with electronic health records (EHR) provider athenahealth drove the 53% jump in cash collection seen by healthcare provider Rangely Hospital since the project started. The hospital has been having issues with its EHR as it demands more resources to maintain and use. It complained that its former EHR system demands its staff to manually change dictionaries on their own and then inform their changemaster of the correct codes. athenahealth’s athenaOne EHR system offered the hospital reports it needed, a streamlined claims submission processing, and the opportunity to allocate its resources, including staff’s time, on other importance tasks. The shift to athenahealth’s solution also allowed the facility to see a 15% drop in days in accounts receivable, and improved authorization management services.

75,000 Affected by Data Breach

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General is investigating the data breach that exposed the information of about 75,000 people who used the website. While the website itself was not affected by the cyberattack, it was made unavailable for use by the public. It, however, went back online after a week after the attack. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesperson Jonathan Monroe said they have adopted several security measures to ensure that no such attack would happen again in the future. The U.S. government-operated site acts as health insurance exchange website as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Cloud Computing Offers Security to Health Data

MobiHealthNews experts believe that the adoption of cloud computing in health facilities can further secure health information. Hector Rodriguez of Microsoft Worldwide Health believes that the technology has reached a stage where it has matured, thus making it more secure than a local server solution. However, experts still recommend vigilance and caution in selecting the right cloud computing provider. They advise to look for a balance between cost and quality, be informed on the ins-and-outs of the technology, and have an agreement that covers all the security needs of the healthcare facility.

Legislation Plays an Important Role in Tech Innovation

Kristina Sheridan of MITRE Corporation said new payment technologies can further drive innovation in the healthcare information technology field. She added that it would only be possible if laws were more relaxed and allowed developers to access health data they need to come up with advanced payment methods. Health and Human Services Department national coordinator for health information technology Don Rucker said legislators can contribute to innovation by untangling complexities associated with data sharing. He added that while the 21st Century Cares Act removed some of the restrictions, there are still some that needs to be relaxed to foster innovation.