With cloud computing becoming more known and utilized in the healthcare space we are examining the potential benefits as well as possible risks associated with the technology in this blog.
Do you ever find yourself asking "how could we still be processing so much paper and faxes in the year 2017?" Sometimes, it can feel like there are mountains of paper that need to be climbed and processed with no summit in sight. There are EMR's, Care Everywhere, FHIR, HIE's, reference lab interfaces, and hundreds of other ways to exchange information electronically. But here we are…still seeing hundreds or even thousands of actual faxes per day in clinics and HIM departments.
DON'T CLICK THAT LINK.
It seems that every day you’re hearing of a new cyber-attack to hit a large company. These cyber-attacks are happening frequently in healthcare databases too, resulting in your information being held in a ransomware’s data encryption. This malware will prevent organizations from being able to enter specific parts of their system. The ransomware typically works one of two ways. It either works to prevent you from accessing important data or encrypts it entirely, jeopardizing your data security. How do you then get your data back? Fork over your wallet… and that’s not even a guarantee that you will see your data again.
Many of you know the fairly tale tilted, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Upon entering the home of the Three Bears, Goldilocks sits in their chairs, eats their porridge, and falls asleep in their beds. Upon sampling each of the Bear's chairs, porridge, and beds she exclaims that one is too much, the other is not enough, but the last option is just right. What does this fairy tale have to do with Healthcare data and performing one's job, you may ask?
It’s had to find good news in the report published by Protenus Breach Barometer. Their research says there were, on average, one significant protected health information breach per day during the month of January 2017. As a company that helps prevent criminal acquisition of data, I can say that I am not surprised. If you are sensitive to the issue, you’ll regularly see this kind of news.
The 21st Century Cures Act was officially signed on Tuesday, December 13th. It is another significant medical research appropriation bill it is optimistically another giant step toward reduced regulation and faster development and delivery of new medicine and medical devices. As exciting as that is, this bill also directs HHS and the National Director for Health Information Technology to make EHR’s interoperable.
I have recently talked with a few healthcare executives. They, like everyone else I know, are careful about what they say about the effect a Trump presidency will have on healthcare. This could be that they are being politically correct but it’s possible they don’t know what Trump is actually going to do. It is clear Trump’s pre-election rhetoric has softened in many areas. Only time will tell what his real intentions are.
While I've never worked directly for a healthcare organization, I'm proud to say that I've spent the last 13 years working for two great companies who are making great strides to improve these very problems. At Extract, we are working tirelessly to get more data into the EMR discretely and marching towards ridding the EMR of the hide-and-seek for critical clinical data that is buried in scans, faxes, and unstructured blocks of text.
It couldn’t happen to us.
I doubt anyone still feels that a HIPAA breach is impossible in their organization. Results speak louder than words.
A quick search reveals that every year there is a large number of breaches in the US. There is no doubt these organizations know the threat of HIPAA breaches have taken some number of steps to protect against a breach but there is always more that could have been done to reduce/eliminate the exposure.
When it comes to security and PHI for hospitals, it’s best to keep out of the news headlines…
In talking with our healthcare partners these days, a lot of our conversations tend to move toward security, and more specifically, securing PHI. With the recent cyber-attacks on healthcare organizations making headlines and resulting in complete shutdowns of hospital IT systems, you can understand how this is a priority.
They are systematically gathering data about all of us. No bit of data is too small because it could be a critical piece of the puzzle that connects all of the seemingly unimportant information they’ve already collected on you. Imagine creating a digital picture of you, one pixel at a time. Get it? No wait, they’ve got it.
I chose the title for this blog a bit tongue in cheek. You see, there are numerous blog posts about how to “properly” redact PDF files. While all of those other blog posts correctly explain the challenges that makes redacting PDF files difficult and outline all of the steps that one must take to ensure private information is completely and irreversibly redacted, all of those blog posts fail to mention one critical idea that anyone tasked with the important job of redacting electronic documents should be aware of -- automation.
You have successfully set up your outreach program and established a strong local presence (please check out my 4 previous posts on this topic). What now? In order to achieve sustainability, you will have pressures to improve efficiency, reduce costs and demonstrate value. It is important to have in place a methodology by which you track your activity from both a quantitative perspective as well as to be sure that the quality delivered matches the quality of your main program.
You finally found the perfect solution to problem of getting data out of documents and into your EMR or other system. It’s a system that automates this data entry and the workflows surrounding the entire document handling and quality assurance processes. Now it’s time to go ask for permission (budget) to purchase this solution.
There’s been a lot of news lately about the 2015 NIH budget being flat, worrying researchers that the funding pinch will have a significant impact on current and future projects. Even Nobel prize winning researcher Craig Mello from the University of Massachusetts Medical School recently commented on the impact this could have on his ongoing work, noting that if he couldn’t get a grant he’s applied for he may have to reduce staff.
Every patient has a history. Getting those histories moved from other systems and sources is an important consideration when implementing a new EHR. Whether your healthcare organization is deploying a new EHR, replacing one or implementing a new module in an existing EHR, your ability to capture data into the fields of the new EHR/module will define how fast you can use that history to make better care decisions.