By Mark Gross, senior principal product manager, Kofax
When it comes to data security, healthcare organizations are stuck between a rock and a hard place. To provide proper patient care, their staff needs access to the right information, and quickly. At the same time, the law requires them to protect the sensitive data included in electronic medical records (EMR).
A wide array of devices are used to collect and transmit patient data – including computers, mobile devices, IV pumps and X-ray machines. Today, all of these are connected to the internet, the hospital network and other medical technologies, even though many of them have few, or no, security protocols in place.
The situation’s made even more complex by the public nature of hospital environments. Many connected devices containing sensitive data are left unattended, leaving the entire network exposed. The result’s an increase in cyber and data security threats.
Right now, nearly all healthcare organizations are facing an added challenge brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many healthcare workers aren’t working in their normal environments, they’re helping in other departments, hospitals and even pop-up field hospitals. With all the displaced healthcare workers, their normal print and capture workflows are left behind with their devices—and the security of the patient data contained in documents printed or scanned elsewhere may be at risk.
Healthcare organizations need a comprehensive security strategy to protect against a breach. The best of these is a systematic approach that tests all connected devices for vulnerabilities. Once identified, security threats should be prioritized so the most severe can be addressed quickly. Regular software updates and patches are just as important, as is replacing outdated equipment with new devices that have security built in.
Because they don’t stand out as threats, multifunction devices, printers and imaging devices are often overlooked during security reviews. In reality, however, both of these handle a lot more data than people realize.
Ever wonder what it takes to slay the dragon; to bring down the giants? What do the health IT disruptors take into consideration as they develop their strategies for conquering the worlds in which they live?
How are your peers – the ones you glance at from the corner of your eye and watch as they nip at your heels but fail to recognize in public – working to change health IT and make a play to dominate competitors that haven’t re-invented their firms?
Since I wanted to know the answers to these kinds of questions, I put out a call. I asked health It leaders to tell me their points of attack, why those attacks work, how they determined they’re playing the best plan for success and how the dragons they are slaying are reacting.
Here are the responses I received, in no particular order, area or specialty. Once you’ve read their stories, share yours. Which dragon are you slaying; which giant are you downing?
Dave Caldeira, senior vice president of product and solution marketing, Kofax For any disrupting technology to be successful, it’s important to demonstrate actionable benefits for IT, healthcare workers and most importantly, the patient. Kofax is improving healthcare IT in four key areas:
Increasing efficiencies — from health, patient and finance documents to accounts payable, accounting and legal
Improve and speed the move to electronic health records to meet “meaningful use” requirements
Enable better outcomes by sharing real-time electronic information between heath practioners and patients
Reduce operation and healthcare costs
The six dominant players Kofax sees in this marketplace are Cerner, McKesson, Epic, Allscripts, IOD and Ricoh. We’ve found that the best way to influence the healthcare IT decision maker is to align ourselves with the dominant players they are comfortable using. For example, Kofax is tightly aligned with Cerner for medical records. Ricoh is a reselling partner that has a dedicated team that we work with. And IOD is a business process outsourcer that also uses Kofax solutions.
For Cerner and IOD to use Kofax solutions is a huge endorsement to how Kofax is making healthcare smarter with information capture mobile capabilities and advanced analytics. Would we consider ourselves a disruptor? Yes, but we do it in partnership with the dominant players.
When purchasing an EHR from a large vendor, customers receive all the modules from this vendor, both the good modules as well as the bad ones. Choosing such a system is always a compromise as no single system can satisfy all user requirements.
Is this something that can be improved? Health Samurai believes that monolithic architectures will eventually give their place to platforms and app stores just as in other industries. Apps in the app store have to be united, communicate and understand each other. Only using of a common standard can enable these storage and data-exchange capabilities.
Health IT has a long way ahead, but the transition has already begun.
International standards organization, Health Level Seven (HL7), has drafted a new interoperability standard called FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). The standard is open source and was designed using the modern successful IT practices. It leverages web technologies and is focused on implementers. It has a growing community and the potential to take interoperability to a whole new level.