HIPAA Violations, How to Prevent Them

By Ken Lynch, founder and CEO, Reciprocity Labs.

Ken Lynch

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to all companies in the United States. Healthcare providers, covered entities and their business associates should understand HIPAA and take compliance steps to avoid monetary fines and even prison time. HIPAA violations in the workplace can occur in any organization but especially those that provide healthcare benefits to their employees or require health information to process disability benefits or workplace compensation.

Understanding HIPAA violations in the workplace

HIPAA was enacted in 1996 and aimed to protect the health information of individuals as they moved from one job to another. Since then, the Act has been refined to include more coverage and protections.

In 2003, the Privacy Rule, which defines Protected Health Information (PHI), was passed by the US Department of Health and Human Services. In 2005, HIPAA was updated with the Security Rule, which focuses on electronically stored PHI (ePHI). Today, employers must adhere to HIPAA and related regulations, including the Security Rule and the Privacy Rule, as required by industry regulators and the federal government.

What information qualifies as PHI or ePHI

The Privacy Rule defines PHI as any health information that concerns the payment of healthcare, provision of healthcare or health status of an individual, which is held by a covered entity.

In the workplace, any employee health plans or medical records that are collected by the employer for the purposes of administering healthcare plans are PHI or ePHI information. Health information that is gathered but not intended for use in administering healthcare plans is not considered PHI or ePHI.

When an employee provides health information to document workers’ compensation or sick leave, the information is not considered PHI or ePHI. On the other hand, if you contact an employee’s healthcare provider, the information that the provider will give you falls under the Privacy Rule. Employment records do not fall under PHI or ePHI even they may include health-related information.

What HR should know about HIPAA

If your organization offers employees a covered health plan, it’s critical to determine whether you need to be HIPAA compliant.

Continue Reading

4 Medtech Innovations That Will Shake Up the Treatment Landscape

By Zaid Al-Nassir, senior analyst, Decision Resources Group (DRG).

Zaid Al-Nassir

In recent years, medtech innovation tends to be more iterative than disruptive, though every so often we see a truly game-changing new device or modality of treatment. After closely monitoring the medtech market, a recent report by Decision Resources Group (DGR) finds a wave of transformative technologies will likely break over the next five years. More specifically, the report identified four medtech innovations forecasted to shake up the treatment landscape.

Selections were restricted to only include either technologies that were approved in 2018 or were likely to receive approval in the coming few years. The report avoids focus on technologies that were promising solely in terms of revenue generation as well as so-called “me-too” technologies, limiting submissions to unprecedented innovations, significant therapeutic expansions, and drastically improved technologies.

Based on in-depth analysis of the level of innovation, potential patients and potential revenue, the report finds neurostimulation, regenerative medicine; CAR T-Cell therapy; AI and machine learning in interventional cardiology; and transcatheter mitral valve implantation/replacement (TMVI/TMVR) will have the greatest potential impact in terms of sales and patient outcomes over the coming years, and here’s why:

Transcatheter mitral valve implantation/replacement (TMVI/TMVR)

Why it made the cut: After a decade of development, TMVR is finally close to becoming a commercial reality. The complex and difficult anatomy of the mitral valve and the critical nature of the treatment make this an immensely exciting development.

Details: Mitral valve patients who have heart failure are poorly served by extant solutions, including repair or replacement surgeries; as a result, many companies are attempting to develop a solution similar to transcatheter aortic valve replacement (a percutaneous catheter-based solution for patients with stenosed aortic valves who are too frail to undergo surgery) for the much larger population of mitral valve disease patients.

AI and machine learning in interventional cardiology

Why it made the cut: This development paves the way for robotics in some of the most complex and common surgeries. Aside from procedural concision, this technology holds the potential to significantly reduce costs to health care systems.

Details: AI and machine learning are increasingly being incorporated into surgical robots in the cardiovascular space. For example, Corindus Vascular Robotics has developed the TechnIQ, an intelligent robotic arm with an algorithmic assist; the CorPath GRX may be able to perform “autopilot” percutaneous coronary interventions in the near future by relying on image detection/recognition, 3D construction, and force sensors.

Moreover, data collected from such devices can lead to digitized motion information, which can be translated into best practice guidance and further incorporated into software to optimize techniques.

Continue Reading

EMR Optimization Is the Hottest Thing Since … EMRs

By Ken Congdon, content marketing manager, Hyland Healthcare.

Ken Congdon

Due in large part to the HITECH Act and the meaningful use incentive program, electronic medical record (EMR) initiatives have dominated the IT efforts of healthcare providers for the better part of the past decade. Most of the focus over this time has been placed on simply implementing the technology and getting clinicians to embrace it.

Now that more than 95 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are currently using EMRs*, it seems the focus is beginning to shift. However, the move isn’t away from EMRs to some other groundbreaking technology. Instead, the focus is transferring from simply implementing EMRs to optimizing the software in order to squeeze more value out of it.

You see, most healthcare providers aren’t very happy with the ROI they are currently getting from their multimillion-dollar EMR investments. In fact, only 10 percent believe they are getting a positive or superb return from their EMRs, according to a recent survey of 1,100 healthcare professionals by Health Catalyst.

The remainder describe the ROI as terrible, poor or mediocre.

As a result, healthcare providers are turning their attention to enhancing their existing EMR systems. According to a recent Black Book Market Research survey, 61 percent of healthcare respondents say technology optimization is the highest priority IT engagement for their organizations by the end of 2020. Not surprisingly, EMR software and revenue cycle management systems are the primary targets of these optimization efforts.

Continue Reading

Pitfalls To Avoid When Leveraging Clinical Imaging Data for RWE Programs

By Janak Joshi, senior vice president, chief technology officer and head of strategy, Life Image.

Janak Joshi

In December 2018, the FDA announced its new framework for the real world evidence (RWE) program, which would require including imaging data alongside claims, electronic health records (EHRs) and other datasets in clinical research. In issuing this new framework, regulators underlined the continued importance of using contextualized, quality datasets to make drug development faster, safer, more efficient and less expensive.

Because of this move to include authentic patient data in the drug development process, imaging data has become an essential part of RWE as it can accelerate the development cycle and improve the confidence in the final clinical arguments in support of drugs going to market.

Imaging data plays such a leading role in clinical decision-making because it is the most advanced diagnostic evidence for several diseases, and it can clearly show disease progression and drug impact across a variety of therapeutic areas, among other reasons. While EHRs and medical claims are the predominate sources of data, because they were initially designed for billing and payment purposes they do not have the depth and breadth needed to accurately capture the nuances of a patient’s full clinical history – nor do they contain imaging information.

Clinical researchers looking to achieve a holistic view of each patient’s healthcare journey by incorporating medical imaging into their RWE programs should avoid these three things.

Biased data

Institutional bias stems from using data from a single health system, which tends to follow a uniform set of treatment protocols, leading to homogenous evidence data. A diverse dataset includes variation, for instance in geography, which can influence socioeconomic and environmental factors, level of education, healthcare access, payer mix and demographics.

The most effective RWE incorporates medical data, including imaging, from varied populations that include both research and non-research settings, AMCs and community hospitals, publicly and privately funded institutions, and a mix of highly insured and uninsured patients. The ultimate goal of RWE is to be representative of any and all patients across the globe.

A limited, siloed data pool

Small datasets do not accurately reflect the “real world,” therefore RWE requires very large databases with various datasets in order to ensure data integrity and credibly match patients to appropriate clinical trials. This poses a challenge since much of today’s data is siloed. To make RWE representative of outcomes and context, clinical researchers must break down siloes to achieve a large, interoperable pool of quality data from a breadth of sources, which they can normalize and match across sets for optimal results.

Take, for example, a new drug trial that needs to involve 500 individuals meeting specific real-world data standards. For each participant, researchers may require four years of prescription details, four years of imaging data, five years of blood test results, as well as genomics and other relevant data. However, consider that over the years many of these patients likely went to various pharmacies, switched health plans and/or providers, and had imaging and blood tests performed at various facilities or out-of-network sites. As a result, each patient’s information may be spread out over multiple EHR systems and may even be in non-digital, fax or CD formats.

Continue Reading

Survey: 15 Percent of IT Professionals Face Too Many Silos

Ivanti today announced, during Ivanti Interchange 2019 in Nashville, Tenn., the results of a survey of 400 IT professionals that captures the challenges faced by IT when it comes to silos, data and implementation.

Among its findings, the research revealed that when dealing with silos in IT and departments, three key priorities suffer the most, including: automation (46 percent), user productivity and troubleshooting (42 percent) and customer experience (41 percent). The findings did show that onboarding/offboarding suffers the least (20 percent) because of  silos – so it appears that IT and HR have one of the better working relationships.

When looking for real-time insight, security is still king. Seventy percent of IT professionals said they wanted to know most about security status versus other priorities. Respondents were least interested in real-time insights around warranty data.

Other noteworthy findings of the survey include:

The complete survey findings can be found here.

The survey polled more than 400 IT professionals. Research was generated by Ivanti in April 2019.

Recover Formatted SD Card With This Reliable Data Recovery Solution

Getting an SD card formatted is probably one of the worst things to happen to anyone, especially when such devices contain important or sensitive data. It doesn’t matter if you have formatted your SD card by mistake or had to do it to resolve a critical issue. Doing so can end up in unexpected data loss in one way or another. While it might seem like the end of the world, you can easily recover formatted SD card content by following the right approach. In the following, we will discuss a step by step solution to perform SD card recovery using a Mac or Windows application.

SD card classification and types

Before we discuss the working of a Mac data recovery tool in detail, it is important to cover the basics. For instance, you should know the type of SD card that you own so that you can easily perform SD card recovery on Mac or Windows. Ideally, SD cards can be classified on the basis of the following parameters.

By Capacity

This is the most common way to classify SD cards as it plays a crucial role in determining their cost as well. Most of the common capacities are 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, 128 GB, 1 TB, and so on. These days, even two or four TB SD cards are also available.

By transfer speed

This is the second most important characteristics of SD cards. The ultra fast cards are of either class 1 or 3. On the other hand, normal SD cards can be of class 2, 4, 6 or 10 (2 is the slowest while 10 is the fastest).

By size

A lot of people prefer smaller cards due to their compactness. Ideally, SD cards can be available in standard, micro or mini sizes. Standards cards have the dimension of 32x24x2.1 mm and are mostly used for PC. Mini SD cards (of dimension 21.5x20x1.4 mm) and micro SD cards (of dimension 15x11x1 mm) are mostly used in phones, digital cameras, and other compact devices.

Recoverit SD card data recovery for Mac and Windows

Recoverit Data Recovery is developed by Wondershare and supports all the above-listed SD cards. It also supports every major card manufactured by popular brands like Sony, SanDisk, Kingston, Patriot, HP, Samsung, etc. The recovery software supports all the major data types like photos, videos, audios, documents, compressed files, and more. It also provides a preview of the extracted content, letting us select the files we wish to recover.

How to recover formatted SD card data?

Continue Reading

Imprivata Introduces IAM Cloud Platform For Healthcare Supported by Microsoft

Imprivata announces that it will unlock the power of the cloud for clinical users by creating the first end-to-end Identity and Access Management (IAM) Cloud Platform for healthcare in collaboration with Microsoft. The Platform, anchored by Imprivata’s leading solution portfolio and commitment to building trusted digital identities, and the world-class scale and security of Microsoft’s cloud identity platform, Azure Active Directory, will address the unique challenges that healthcare customers face along the digital transformation journey.

Gus Malezis

“We’re delighted to announce this strategic collaboration with Microsoft and to introduce the Imprivata IAM Cloud Platform, which first brings the simplicity of Tap-In and Tap-Out to the cloud, and seamlessly supports access to Microsoft cloud applications like Microsoft Office 365 and more for our 1,945 healthcare customers,” said Gus Malezis, president and CEO at Imprivata. “Furthermore, the Platform leverages the existing Imprivata investments of our joint customers, enhancing the ROI of their current and future technology investments.”

As the first phase of the collaboration, Imprivata today launched Healthcare Seamless SSO, enterprise single sign-on into on all shared clinical workstations and mobile devices. Healthcare Seamless SSO extends the Tap-In and Tap-Out capabilities of Imprivata OneSign, allowing badge tap access into Office 365 and any application connected to Microsoft Azure Active Directory, including the extensive catalog of cloud-based applications in Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

“Imprivata has made great strides expanding on its proven, industry-leading solutions by integrating with Microsoft Azure Active Directory to help healthcare organizations leverage the cloud to lower costs,” said Chris Sakalosky, vice president, Microsoft US Health & Life Sciences. “This product integration with Imprivata OneSign is the exact type of technological solution that we’re proud to offer to our healthcare customers.”

Healthcare Seamless SSO eliminates the need for clinical and non-clinical Microsoft users to repeatedly type usernames and passwords to access any programs and applications. Leveraging Imprivata OneSign, Healthcare Seamless SSO can be used with all types of applications, saving care providers 45 minutes every shift, improving satisfaction levels, and driving EMR adoption. The Imprivata platform is also purpose-built to enhance additional workflows, including electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS). Imprivata delivers a complete solution for complying with DEA requirements for EPCS while ensuring a fast, seamless workflow for providers through innovative and convenient authentication options, which is especially important given the increasing state, federal and industry requirements for EPCS.

For more information visit http://www.imprivata.com/hssso.

BetterPT Secures $5 Million In Series A Financing

Image result for betterPT logoBetterPT, a healthcare technology platform company providing end-to-end digital connectivity between physical therapists (PT), patients and physicians, announced today it has completed a $5 million Series A round of financing.

The Series A round was led by 5Lion Ventures and joined by Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and ID Fund. BetterPT will use the capital to expand its reach and adoption as the leading specialized PT marketplace in the U.S.

“BetterPT’s technology has the potential to address major shortcomings not just in physical therapy, but across the broader healthcare system, which continues to lag in innovative and interoperable technology,” said Ronald W. Russo, partner and COO of 5Lion Ventures. “We’re excited to work with BetterPT as we watch the business grow and scale across the healthcare infrastructure.”

“This financing is an important milestone for BetterPT as we increase the footprint of our unique healthcare offering in the U.S., connecting patients to physical therapists through a streamlined point of entry,” said Greg Peters, CEO of BetterPT. “We look forward to strategically growing our PT clinic customers as well as our patient user base.”

“HSS is focused on advancing quality and reliability across the spectrum of musculoskeletal health,” said Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO of HSS. “Our strategic relationship with BetterPT is an important part of that, making it easier for consumers to independently identify and access the highest value physical therapy most convenient to where they live or work.”

10 Years After the HITECH Act: Assessing the Federal Government’s Subsidization of Electronic Health Record Adoption

By Ken Perez, vice president of healthcare policy, Omnicell, Inc.

Ken Perez

It was such a beautiful, logical vision: The creation of “an electronic circulatory system for health information that nourishes the practice of medicine, research, and public health, making health care professionals better at what they do and the American people healthier,” as David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology from 2009 to 2011, wrote in an article on the potential of the HITECH Act’s subsidization of the adoption of EHRs by hospitals and physician practices that appeared in the Dec. 30, 2009, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The HITECH Act was combined with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), an economic stimulus bill created to help the U.S. economy recover from an economic downturn that began in late 2007. The passage of the bill spawned an ambitious vision of an elaborate national health information infrastructure that would enable frictionless, collaborative data sharing primarily through a National Health Information Network (NHIN) that would connect an interlocking web of regional health information organizations (RHIOs) and health information exchanges (HIEs).

It must be emphasized that the NHIN vision was a federal government vision—not one generally shared by the private sector. It was never realized, and the adoption of EHRs by healthcare providers has been described as “a digital revolution gone wrong” and “a bridge to nowhere,” in the 15-page cover article of Fortune magazine’s April issue, entitled “Death by a Thousand Clicks,” by Erika Fry of the magazine and Fred Schulte of Kaiser Health News.

For their report—which has the feel of an exposé — Fry and Schulte interviewed more than 100 physicians, patients, IT experts, administrators, health policy leaders, attorneys, government officials, and representatives from several leading EHR vendors. They employ a combination of poignant vignettes of patients who were harmed by EHR shortcomings — including the experiences of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau and the husband of CMS Administrator Seema Verma — as well as ample facts and figures.

Per Fry and Schulte, the federal government has spent $36 billion to date to subsidize the adoption of EHRs by healthcare providers, and today, 96 percent of non-federal acute care hospitals and 86 percent of physician offices have EHRs.

Despite the significant amount of federal funding and broad adoption of EHRs, they have not fulfilled their potential, as Blumenthal has admitted. The expected “digital dividend” from EHRs has not materialized, or at least its magnitude is much smaller than hoped for. According to Fry and Schulte, EHRs’ general demerits include poor, tedious usability—which adds work and is cited as a major contributing factor to physician burnout — rampant errors that lead to patient safety risks, “upcoding” (bill inflation), lack of interoperability, widespread data blocking, and patients’ inability to access their EHRs. Data silos clearly exist between the 700 federally certified EHRs of widely varying functionality, as well as between provider organizations and other players in the healthcare system. In short, idealism has run into the reality of commercialization.

Fry and Schulte provide no optimistic, Hollywood ending to the article. Industry attempts to promote interoperability are described as fledgling, and their sobering conclusion is that the state of EHRs in the United States is “an unholy mess.”

Continue Reading

Testing Times for Healthcare Software: The Top 10 Issues

By Manish Mathuria, chief technology officer and co-founder, Infostretch.

Manish Mathuria

The truism that “prevention is better than cure” is especially true in software, where a defect can have serious, sometimes life-threatening, consequences. Digital health presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for those operating in this competitive and demanding market. The pressure to innovate and advance is immense, but so are concerns about safety, functionality, cost and privacy, to name a few.

When clinical insights combine with IT brilliance, the results can lead to fascinating health innovations. Radical new approaches, such as wearables and mobile devices which monitor, analyze and diagnose conditions, bring special meaning to the importance of error prevention versus recovery.

Lightning-fast technological innovation, fierce competition and stringent regulation combine to bring special challenges to a tester. The implications of software failure are severe. Another adage, “evolve or die,” springs to mind. The traditional testing function is what needs to evolve in this sector perhaps more than any other.

The quality assurance approach to testing must now make way for quality engineering, a new way of tackling quality control which focuses on improving the inherent design of the product throughout the software development life cycle. Why? Because traditional testing, performed at the end of the SDLC is out of its depth in the new era of digital transformation.

Continue Reading