Healthcare ransomware attacks have become more common in recent years, and in many cases, caused considerable damage. At least 148 U.S. healthcare organizations fell victim to a ransomware attack in 2021, the most attacked industry, according to a March 2022 HIPAA Journal report.
With increasing threats from overseas, growing cybercriminal organizations, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise a sharp rise in breaches and healthcare ransomware attacks has occurred across the healthcare ecosystem.
As the situation grows more volatile, it’s vital to understand why threats like breaches and healthcare ransomware attacks exist and ways ambulatory practices can work to reduce cybersecurity risks.
The Most Valuable Record
It’s not just because the patient health information (PHI) the record contains that makes it valuable to cybercriminals, but the other information that accompanies PHI, such as addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, and even more obscure data such as insurance policy numbers, all of which someone can use to impersonate patients and commit identity theft.
With this stolen information, a cybercriminal can more easily steal someone’s identity because they now know important information no one else does. It’s what makes health records so valuable — not always the record itself, but what can be done with the information.
The average healthcare industry breach is so expensive because of the costs of remediation, recovery legal actions, and regulatory fines. In 2021, the average cost of a healthcare breach was $9.23 million, up 29.5% from $7.13 million the previous year, according to IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021.
Taking it a step further, by failing to keep patient records private, an ambulatory practice could face substantial penalties under HIPAA’s Privacy and Security Rules, cause potential harm to its reputation, and patient safety can be severely impacted. A hacker’s access to private patient data not only opens the door to steal information but they can possibly even alter the data — severely impacting patient health and outcomes.
Greenway Health launches the Greenway’s 21st Century Cures Academy to serve as a resource center for providers navigating the 21st Century Cures Act, its legal requirements, and its effects on the entire healthcare industry. Greenway’s 21st Century Cures Academy is a free resource available to anyone looking to learn more about the 21st Century Cures Act and its requirements.
The 21st Century Cures Act aims to improve the healthcare ecosystem and empower patients by requiring healthcare provider interoperability and patient data access for both patients and providers. The bipartisan legislation will require all healthcare providers, healthcare IT developers, and health information exchanges (HIEs) to be 21st Century Cures Act-compliant by Dec. 31, 2022.
“We consistently heard providers and industry leaders voice concerns and confusion surrounding the 21st Century Cures Act and its future requirements for compliance,” said Dr. Michael Blackman, Chief Medical Officer at Greenway Health. “We knew we needed to create the 21st Century Cures Academy as an educational series and resource center aimed to alleviate confusion, guide providers, and highlight the benefits this legislation will have on the entire healthcare system.”
Greenway’s 21st Century Cures Academy resource center provides easy-to-digest materials including checklists, quick guides, webinars, and other resources to assist healthcare providers in discovering the value the 21st Century Cures Act has to offer their practice.
Whether they are receiving care for a chronic condition or a more immediate disease, patients undergoing treatment are financially, mentally, emotionally and physically maxed out. As a result, healthcare payers must toe a delicate line when approaching their member engagement strategies. For something as significant as an individual’s health, it’s critical to provide tailored experiences that are contextually relevant and avoid inundating members with extraneous information. Above all, engagements must provide value if payers are aiming to establish lasting healthy habits and create members for life.
Engagement, as defined in this context, is the way in which brands intimately connect with their members; consistent engagement affords endless opportunities to establish valuable and meaningful relationships. Until now, transactional experiences – such as onboarding, appointment reminders and claims information – have been the primary focus of member engagements. However, if payers want to serve a more unified experience, they must demonstrate ongoing care and understanding of their specific patient needs through personal interactions served during pivotal moments in each unique healthcare journey.
In 2021, healthcare payer website portal usage fell to 32% while only 16% of U.S. adults with health insurance used their provider’s mobile app, according to research from Forrester. Mailchimp puts the average email open rate for healthcare at a bleak 22%. If meaningful engagements can improve sentiment, lower costs and drive member retention, it’s obvious why 57% of healthcare payer executives seek better service and engagement as one of their top three outcomes of digital transformation.
But if portals, apps and email marketing aren’t the answer – what is? Feeds are quickly becoming the medium and channel of choice for meaningful digital engagement. Intuitive, easy to use and designed with consumer habits in mind, feeds are familiar and comfortable for users as many have been exposed to their scrollable nature through social media platforms such as TikTok or LinkedIn. Feeds offer personalized content via tailored algorithms, value users’ scarce time and present low barriers to entry. By implementing feeds, healthcare payers can harness the positive benefits of an engaged patient population. Below are some of the advantages of engaged members for life:
The healthcare industry utilizes many technologies to offer a more streamlined service to its patients. Most healthcare providers have shifted to digital means in providing the much-needed medical assistance to whoever needs it. So, a failure in any system, no matter how small, can bring about many inefficiencies and unnecessary disturbances to the medical processes, including possible deaths. Due to the high risks surrounding IT in the healthcare industry, it’s advisable to outsource these services to experts in the IT industry. These services are often referred to as managed IT services.
As a healthcare facility manager, are you wondering whether to seek managed IT services? This article will help you make this decision by discussing the benefits of outsourcing your IT services. Read on for this insight!
When you hire one, you’ll benefit from:
Access To Quality Resources
Independently managing the IT aspect of your healthcare facility requires many resources. For instance, you must invest in technology to help your IT team fulfill their resources. You’ll also need to hire an in-house IT team. Initial acquisition of these resources isn’t always the issue. The issue arises with the scalability aspect of your facility. Once your operations increase, you have to acquire more tools.
In addition, developers are upgrading theirs for better efficiency. So, you might find it challenging to keep up with the changes, forcing you to utilize old technologies, which isn’t ideal. Scalability also means hiring more workers, which can be challenging if you don’t have the resources to accommodate them.
The healthcare industry plays an important role since it impacts people’s lives in various ways. As innovations continue to evolve, they have brought about significant changes in the quality of health services, particularly in delivering dependable and high-quality patient care.
Apart from advancements, the healthcare industry has faced many challenges. Most of these challenges result from regulatory or legislative mandates, security threats, and process changes brought about by new technology, to name a few.
Healthcare is something that’s been around for a while, especially in the western world, but as with all things, digitalization is omnipresent and something that’s unavoidable.
In this article, we’ll explore how digitalization is affecting healthcare, what changes it can make, and what challenges this could pose for both patients and healthcare professionals. Whether by adopting a DDC system or just by making data easier to work with, we have plenty of talking points below that’ll give you a better understanding.
What changes can digitalization make?
Digitalization can make a number of changes to healthcare, both good and bad. On the positive side, digitalization can improve efficiency and accuracy in healthcare delivery. It can also make it easier for patients to access their medical records and get second opinions from other doctors.
On the negative side, digitalization can lead to information overload for both patients and doctors, and it can pose a risk to patient privacy if data falls into the wrong hands.
Of course, even though the increase in technology poses challenges and issues in healthcare, the benefits generally outweigh any detractions. With us now being able to monitor patients from home instead of the hosital, we can treat more patients and complete more tasks from a distance, which is excellent at a time when contagious infections are currently more prevalent than usual.
Digital health is a rapidly growing field. As it expands, so must the security of medical devices, especially in an increasingly vulnerable digital space. While the various features and advantages of the connections in healthcare services are undeniable, they also bring security considerations.
The best practices can help companies protect patient data on their devices and prevent attacks. For example, Techumen’s healthcare IT security services and others are trying to protect companies from the risks associated with their connected devices. However, aside from using these healthcare security servers, companies and healthcare providers must use pro tips to ensure medical device security. Some of these are:
Implement Security By Design
Security by design is the first step in embedding security into your product. It’s a process that considers all aspects of a product, from development and manufacturing to deployment and operation. It’s not just concerned with keeping hackers out; it also focuses on minimizing end-user risks. You must, therefore, identify potential threats before they become a reality.
A career in medical radiography can be a rewarding job. You will be among the patients needing tests conducted with specialized machinery and tools. As a radiology expert, you will be the one who lines up the machines, explains the procedures, and performs the necessary tests.
Plus, you will be checking the results of the test to make sure that everything looks good. You will probably be able to read the image at a glance, but your job is to take the pictures and send them up to a radiologist for them to read and write up a report for the doctor that ordered the test in the first place.
But the question for those contemplating this type of career is what they can expect in the life of a medical radiography technician. Is it full of stress and danger, or calm and helpful? Well, it is a combination of them both. Let’s look at what you can expect from the time you clock in until the time you leave for the day.
The last 24 months have transformed the role of the cloud in healthcare. Before, software solutions were usually only accessible on-prem. There was no real impetus for healthcare organizations to modernize their disconnected systems when they were contained within a facility’s four walls. For clinicians laser-focused on patient care, trying new tools from the IT department was a low priority. Both of these factors made the adoption of modern cloud solutions extremely slow.
But the rise of telehealth and remote work during the pandemic changed all that. Now, efficient collaboration across many locations is a business need — and a key to effective patient care. More healthcare organizations are making the decision to shift their systems to the cloud to facilitate easier file sharing, more streamlined workflows, and other benefits.
However, transitioning to the cloud isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. For healthcare organizations in particular, modernizing technology systems requires careful change management and a well-thought-out governance plan. Skip these steps and your organization risks missing out on the full benefits of cloud.
The sources of healthcare organizations’ technical debt
Data security and regulatory compliance are top concerns for healthcare providers when it comes to technology solutions — and for good reason. Healthcare organizations handle large quantities of highly sensitive personally identifiable information (PII), and both HIPAA and data privacy regulations like the GDPR and CCPA carry heavy penalties for violations that lead to a breach.
However, these legitimate concerns have led many healthcare organizations into deep technical debt. A widespread — and inaccurate — perception that on-prem solutions are more secure than cloud delayed adoption of modern, streamlined workflow and file management solutions. At the same time, concerns over compliance drove the adoption of pinpoint solutions from vendors able to claim their products were specifically designed for healthcare customers.
In recent years, the global healthcare industry has been under heavy attack by cybercriminals. The sector stands in fourth place among the most targeted industries, and one-fifth of its spending is dedicated to cybersecurity. The global healthcare cybersecurity market was valued at $12.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 18.3% from 2022 to 2030.
93% of healthcare organizations faced a data breach
The healthcare industry has suffered from significant growth in the number of cyberattacks. Forty-five million records of patients were exposed to healthcare attacks in 2021, a number that has tripled in the last three years. One-third of all significant data breaches targeted hospital accounts.
Thirty-four percent of data breaches are related to unauthorized access to healthcare networks. Furthermore, 1.5 billion users’ personally identifiable information (PII) was leaked due to third-party violations in 2021. Ninety-three percent of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach in 2016-2019 and a quarter of physicians couldn’t identify the common signs of malware.