In this series, we are featuring some of the thousands of vendors who will be participating in the HIMSS15 conference and trade show. Through it, we hope to offer readers a closer look at some of the solution providers who will either be in attendance – with a booth showcasing and displaying key products and offerings – or that will have a presence of some kind at the show – key executives in attendance or presenting, for example.
Hopefully this series will give you a bit more useful information about the companies that help make this event, and the industry as a whole, so exciting.
A leader in healthcare data management, BridgeHead Software is addressing the constraints of the traditional vendor neutral archive (VNA) with HealthStore, the first independent clinical archive (ICA).
With 20 years’ experience in data and storage management, BridgeHead Software is trusted by over 1,200 hospitals worldwide. Today, BridgeHead Software helps healthcare facilities overcome challenges stemming from rising data volumes and increasing storage costs while delivering peace of mind around how to store, protect and share clinical and administrative information.
BridgeHead’s Healthcare Data Management solutions are designed to work with any hospital’s chosen applications and storage hardware, regardless of vendor, providing greater choice, flexibility and control over the way data is managed, now and in the future.
Services and Products Offered
BridgeHead HealthStore, is the first Independent clinical archive (ICA) for long-term storage, protection and sharing of hospital data. A modular solution built on top of the BridgeHead Healthcare Data Management (HDM) platform, BridgeHead HealthStore enables hospitals to standardize access to key elements of the patient record while simultaneously freeing them from dependence on any single system to locate the information.
According to a new survey by Accenture, and featured in Healthcare IT News, among other publications, more U.S. consumers (41 percent) are willing to switch doctors for access to electronic health records.
According to more than 9,000 people in nine countries, people are becoming more engaged with their EHRs and are going so far as to make the switch.
However, “only about a third of U.S. consumers (36 percent) currently have full access to their EMR, but more than half (57 percent) have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information including their health history (37 percent), physical activity (34 percent) and health indicators (33 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.”
Roughly four out of five consumers (84 percent) surveyed believe they should have full access to their electronic medical record while only a third of physicians (36 percent) share this belief. In contrast, the majority of U.S. doctors (65 percent) say patients should only have limited access to their records and that is what most individuals (63 percent) say they currently have.
Safe guarding against healthcare data breaches is a proactive approach to protecting your practice, not a reactive one.
As has been noted recently by Healthcare It News, healthcare data breaches occur frequently, and as I have previously reported, most of them are inside jobs.
That aside (I’m not trying to dismiss the importance of this fact, just trying to move this piece along as I know your time is limited), many can be prevented by employing the proper information systems like two-factor authorization, but nevertheless, the costs of cleaning up after a breach is most more expensive than they are to prevent.
According to Healthcare IT News, healthcare data breaches are incredibly expensive procedures which are piled upon by investigations, notifications and follow up. With that, let’s take a look at some steps that you can take to safeguard against data breaches.
According to the magazine:
Cast a wide net: Ensure you assess your practice’s capabilities for dealing with a data breach. Establish a plan, bring in the practice’s appropriate leaders who can drive the practice forward and work to educate employees of the importance of data integrity. “This might include subject matter experts from cross-functional areas like IT and operations to human resources, or compliance and legal to other key supervisors or managers,” writes Healthcare IT News.
Here are a few additional points from the magazine’s report:
• establish protocols for tasks
• create timelines
• establish communication among the team to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Know thy data: Take stock of your data. Start with reviewing current and past projects, reviewing current documentation and how your practice typically gathers information. “One of the key components of any assessment is determining how personal health information (PHI) and electronic personal health information (EPHI) are received, stored, transmitted, accessed or disclosed. Once you have fully scoped your assessment, you can begin gathering the relevant data.”
Address your practice’s vulnerabilities: Known or unknown, this is the time in which you begin to putting your plan in place. This is the point of your plan in which you push play.
Document everything: Since you’ll need everything in writing as part of the process, you’ve got to prepare by making sure all of your processes, data and processes are in writing. According to the magazine, “Not only do those reports then become a historical document for an organization’s administration to refer to in the future, they’re also proof that a provider has performed due diligence around responsibilities for storing confidential data.”
Follow up and engage often: Don’t just put a process in place, but follow up on it. Adjust the process as needed and address any potential red flags immediately. Not doing so is paramount to failure. Silence is consent and if you become aware of an issue that you don’t address essentially is guilt by association.
Check your progress: Take stock of your risk assessment on a regular basis, “especially after a change in technologies, administration, regulations, or business operations.”
The numbers don’t lie. The meaningful use incentive program is working, at least as far as awarding stimulus funds is concerned. The incentive program awarded “761 hospitals and 56,585 professionals a total of approximately $2.3 billion for 2011; $1.3 billion to hospitals and $1 billion to eligible professionals,” according to Healthcare IT News.
The median payment to hospitals was $1.7 million. According to the same publication, in a recent interview with National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, his top concern is how hospitals and practices embrace the spirit of the rule and use their technology to successfully engage patients.
From dollars to sense. Without patient engagement, meaningful use is meaningless. Without applying the patient information to the population served and working to improve outcomes and offering education and guidance – perhaps creating support groups for smokers wanting to quit or practice-sponsored nutrition plans for obese and diabetic populations – to patients, meaningful use is nothing more than a government-run plan to collect information about its citizen’s health.
Incentives aside, healthcare providers should wish to do no harm and use the information available to fully commit to embracing change through the technology and data available and do what they do best: care for and help provide health education to their patients, their customers.
In other words, to borrow a line from Mostashari, “If you treat meaningful use as work, you won’t get much out of it.”