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Protect Your Data From HIPAA Breaches
June 02 2017 0 comment

Protect Your Data From HIPAA Breaches

Lahey Clinic Hospital just got a $850,000 HIPAA fine for a lost unencrypted laptop!

"At this point, it is not a good strategy to test OCR’s patience. As discussed above and from other recent settlements, losing or having an unencrypted laptop or mobile device stolen is a sure way to pay money to OCR.

Additionally, the Lahey settlement is another example of needing to consider different forms of equipment and exposure points. While a laptop is a known issue, a laptop in connection with a CT scanner or other medical equipment may not be an obvious vulnerability. Some organizations may assume that a manufacturer will guarantee security compliance. This may not be an accurate assumption and all such devices need to be included in a risk analysis. To some degree, this settlement offers a warning similar to what occurred a few years ago when PHI was found in a leased photocopier. Be comprehensive and all-encompassing when conducting a risk analysis.

There are many threats to healthcare organizations and it will be impossible to prevent all of them. However, with a solid plan in place and proactive monitoring, it is possible to reduce risks."

Protect your data from HIPAA breaches, contact us today to get a free 2 hour support visit!

Source: https://mirickhealthlaw.wordpress.com

Why it’s time to finally embrace telehealth
May 18 2017 0 comment

Why it’s time to finally embrace telehealth

For the past few years, many doctors and healthcare practices have found themselves torn as to whether or not they should embrace telehealth. While the benefits of it are undeniable, there have been questions over its security and practicality since it started being implemented over 20 years ago. However, technology and acceptance have finally made telehealth a realistic option for everyone in the healthcare industry.

Telehealth is well past the days of when it constituted nothing more than a doctor and a patient talking over the phone. With the rise of mobile health, along with technological strides made in the past decade, telehealth has become a viable way for doctors to serve patients from all walks of life.

Not only is it a viable way to practice healthcare, in many places it is treated as an equal alternative to in-person doctor’s visits. There are 24 states, plus Washington D.C., that require private insurers to cover telehealth in the same way in-person treatment is covered. And that’s just the beginning. Here are a few other reasons it’s time to embrace telehealth.

It’s not just for rural patients anymore

The original goal of telehealth was to find a way to help connect rural patients to doctors when an in-person visit wasn’t feasible. While this is still an important function of telehealth, more and more city folk have determined it’s far easier to place a call to a doctor for a quick consultation than take time off work to visit one.

With a growing number of patients preferring a video-call doctor’s visit to the real thing, this has gone from being a fad to becoming the new norm. It’s not just the video calling that has proven to be a valuable tool in the telehealth arsenal, either. With countless health monitoring apps now available, it is easier than ever for doctors to get the information they need from clients in order to make informed decisions remotely.

Security and regulations are becoming settled

One of the biggest drawbacks of embracing telehealth was the fact that state and federal regulations seemed to change on a near daily basis, meaning you never knew whether you were compliant with them. Not only that, but you also had to worry about getting equipment and systems that were HIPAA-compliant.

However, regulations on both the state and federal level have become much more stable as telehealth has become more commonplace. Telehealth technology has greatly improved as well, since manufacturers continue to better understand the security requirements involved. Nearly all equipment on the market today is compliant with HIPAA.

It’s covered by insurance

We’ve already mentioned that almost half of the the country requires private insurance to provide full telehealth coverage. Medicare and Medicaid also provide partial telehealth coverage for patients. As the accessibility and acceptance of telehealth continues its upward trajectory, it would seem likely that more insurance companies will be required to cover it. Even if you haven’t noticed a surge in demand for telehealth at your practice, implementing it now can make sure you’re prepared when the rush does come.

If you would like to know more about what you can do to implement telehealth, mHealth or any other healthcare technology, get in touch with us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

7 SEO mistakes you need to avoid

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex subject that is constantly on the move, with major search engines always refining the algorithms that determine how to rank websites. That’s why it’s so easy for businesses to make a blunder based on common misconceptions. If you’re looking to create a solid SEO strategy, we’ve highlighted some of the common mistakes below to help you get started.

You skip the keyword brainstorming phase

This is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make in your website creation plan. By not spending time on researching relevant keywords from the start, you are missing out on the opportunity to potentially generate a large amount of traffic. Without a comprehensive keyword list in hand, you will find it hard to add more keywords as your website grows and gains more authority.

Your content has too little or too much text

There’s no fixed formula when it comes to the length of your content - the number of words can vary greatly depending on your audience and the type of your website. The general rule of thumb, however, is to write content that is valuable for your visitors. Make sure your pages only contain relevant information, and don’t try to cram text just to put more copy on the page, because search engines will have a hard time identifying relevant content.

You’re using black-hat SEO techniques

It may be tempting to go after cheap practices that promise quick results, also known as black-hat SEO techniques. These methods include keyword stuffing, hidden keyword text, link buying, and so on. Some of these techniques may actually work, but only in the short run. Search engines are aware of black-hat schemes, and are continuously improving their algorithms to weed out websites that don’t abide by their guidelines to deliver the best user experience. So it’s best to focus your efforts on building a clean and stable SEO strategy.

You’re expecting quick results

Success doesn’t come easy in the SEO world. Ranking high in search results necessitates spending a substantial amount of time and effort. Don’t expect to earn a position on the first page of search engines immediately or overnight, because it will likely take months to see results. Be patient, and focus on creating great content and abiding by SEO best practices.

You’re not using blogging as a strategy

Most businesses don’t really have the chance to update their website often. Why? Because they can’t really update their “About Us” or their service pages as frequently as they would like - so their websites are just going to stand there dormant and outdated. The problem with this is that search engines don’t like inactive sites. If you have a blogging strategy, however, you have the opportunity to add a page, or pages, to your site at least once a month, if not once a week or better yet daily! The more new pages you add to your website, the more chance you have of getting higher rankings, which translates into more traffic and more leads.

Your website has an inefficient structure

Without a good website structure strategy, you’ll have a hard time trying to organize new categories, as well as information and promotional pages. Having a bloated and scattered site structure won’t do you any good when it comes to SEO, because you’ll only make it harder for visitors to navigate around your website.

You’re not going responsive

Search engines are now taking responsiveness into account when determining rankings. A responsive website adapts its page layouts to fit all screen resolutions and sizes, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You can greatly enhance the user experience and decrease bounce rates (the percentage of visitors who leave the website after visiting only one page). So if your website is not mobile-friendly, then it’s time to seriously consider a responsive design.

There are so many factors involved in search engine rankings, some of which are beyond your control. The important thing is to avoid making these SEO mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to online success. Want more SEO tips and techniques to add value to your business? Get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

 

The truth about healthcare security
April 17 2017 0 comment

The truth about healthcare security

While many small businesses mistakenly think they’re immune to data breaches because of their size, and therefore put minimum protection in place, healthcare organizations can't ever risk taking this laissez-faire approach - and they'd be in trouble if they did. After all, there are rules and regulations when it comes to healthcare IT systems, and huge fines if you don't meet certain standards. Health practices are tempting targets for hackers, who appreciate the high cost of patient treatment and the wealth of personal information stored by doctors. This is why malicious attacks are carried out on healthcare centers all the time. Two separate 2015 surveys, performed by the Ponemon Institute and the global corporation KPMG, produced some alarming statistics. Here’s what they discovered.

The 2015 KPMG Healthcare Cybersecurity survey

This survey of 223 chief healthcare executives revealed that 81 percent of healthcare organizations have been breached in the last two years. What may come as even more disturbing news is that 25% of these executives noted that their organizations were attacked anywhere from one to five times a week.

And the organizations which are aware they’re being attacked are actually the lucky ones. According to Greg Bell, KPMG’s leader of the firm’s Cyber Practice, "The experienced hackers that penetrate a vulnerable health care organization like to remain undetected as long as they can before extracting a great deal of content, similar to a blood-sucking insect." That means the longer a cyber attack goes unnoticed, the more damage it can do to your practice.

The survey also revealed the greatest threats facing today’s healthcare organizations by type, according to the respondents:

  • 65% - external attacks: cyber attacks are more sophisticated and well funded than ever. With healthcare organizations as prime targets, they are increasingly difficult to prevent.
  • 48% - sharing data with third parties: because it’s easy to distribute ePHI over the Internet and mobile devices, it’s more likely for this data to fall into the wrong hands.
  • 35% - employee breaches: an unhappy employee steals or alters your practice’s critical information.
  • 27% - insufficient firewalls: a firewall blocks viruses, worms and hackers. If yours is inadequate, it’s easier for these threats to break into and corrupt your network.

The Ponemon study

Released in early 2015, the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data may come as even more of a shock than KPMG’s survey. According to this study, 91% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach in the last two years, 39% have had two to five breaches, and 40% have had more than five.

So what’s the real reason for all these data breaches? The report claims that "cyber criminals recognize two critical facts of the healthcare industry: 1) healthcare organizations manage a treasure trove of financially lucrative personal information and 2) healthcare organizations do not have the resources, processes, and technologies to prevent and detect attacks and adequately protect patient data."

Although the information revealed by these two surveys is anything but positive, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. To protect your practice, there are five key steps you can take:

  1. Prevention - just as integral to data security as it is to your patients’ health
  2. Monitoring your network - so you know when and if your organization is under attack
  3. Management - of passwords, applications, and staff policies
  4. Compliance - it's your legal duty to be compliant with all rules and regulations in the industry, such as HIPAA
  5. Penetration testing - find the holes in your security that a hacker could exploit, and close them

These are just the basics of what you should be doing if you run any sort of healthcare center. Protecting the data of your patients, both personal and financial, is of paramount importance; failure to do so will result in fines or, worse still, the loss of your reputation. We have years of experience in designing, deploying and maintaining IT services and solutions tailored for the healthcare industry. To learn more about how you can protect the data of your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
4 benefits of online scheduling
April 03 2017 0 comment

4 benefits of online scheduling

As healthcare practices across the nation continue to find out, patients place ever-diminishing levels of importance on care alone. While it is and will forever be a factor that influences a person’s decision, convenience has become another key area patients look at when choosing a healthcare facility. Online scheduling, in particular, has become something more and more of us consider when selecting a healthcare provider.

In order to succeed in today’s technology-driven world, you have to provide convenience alongside top-notch care. As the use of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices has permeated society, healthcare hasn’t always done a great job of keeping up. Those facilities that have kept up with tech trends have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide, while places relying on the old ways continue to remain stagnant in both areas.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest, and most popular, pieces of technology used by forward-thinking healthcare clinics. With this, patients are able to see when a doctor is available and schedule an appointment using your website. According to research from Accenture, 38 percent of all healthcare appointments will be scheduled online by 2019. Still not convinced your practice needs it? Here are 4 additional benefits of online scheduling.

New patients prefer it

More than ever, people are less inclined to make phone calls especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one that has online scheduling to avoid having to make a call. If you don’t want your practice to miss out on potential new patients, having online scheduling is a no brainer.

More time for your staff

Think about how much time your staff spends each day answering phone calls from people needing to make an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Imagine if they were able to focus on patients at your facility instead of being on the phone with ones who want to be there. It would probably improve the level of care each person receives while at your facility. This will allow patients at your office to feel as if they are truly being taken care of and increasing the chances they return in the future.

Added flexibility for patients

One of the most difficult things for a patient is trying to schedule an appointment when your office is closed. If something happens at 8pm, they have no way of knowing if you will have time to see them the next morning. This puts them in a bind as they either have to take time off work and hope you can see them or go into work in the morning and wait until they can make an appointment.

With online scheduling, this problem is easily avoidable. They can simply log in to your website and see when you are available. This allows your patients to plan their schedule accordingly around the visit without having to wait until the next day.

You’re going to need it eventually

Sure, you probably can get away with not having online scheduling at the moment and maybe even for the next year or two, but eventually the time will come for your practice to embrace the technology. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can get your staff trained and the sooner your patients can enjoy the benefits of it. And for those healthcare providers who think online scheduling is simply a passing trend, well we’re sure there were plenty of doctors who said the same thing about the telephone when it was first introduced.

Need help setting up online scheduling at the your practice? Want to learn more about how technology can help make things easier for your patients? Talk to our IT experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
What is behavioral biometrics?
March 18 2017 0 comment

What is behavioral biometrics?

Static biometrics like fingerprint sensors should make life a lot easier; no longer do we have to type in security passwords on our mobile phones, or risk having passwords breached. Still, this technology is only available on high-end smartphones, and is not ubiquitous. But thanks to behavioral biometrics, the future of mobile phone security could soon very well change for good. To that end, here’s all you need to know about behavioral biometrics.

What’s it all about?

Behavioral biometrics focus on uniquely identifying characteristics related not necessarily to who you are, but to what you do.The stress is on the recognition and analysis of something all of us do all the time on our smart devices - typing - as a new way of establishing identity.

How does it work?

“The technology profiles how a person interacts with a website on their smartphone by analyzing their typing rhythm, how they hit and release keys, the pressure they put on the screen as they type, the angle they’re holding their phone, and how quick they move across the screen,” says Dr. Neil Costigan, CEO at Swedish IT and security company BehavioSec, which has a patented technology that can be integrated into an app or even a smartphone OS.

Combined with data from a smartphone's built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, it’s possible to come up with a profile of each person. This could allow for monitoring of typing in real time in order to verify a person is who they say they are, just by watching their typing behavior. “The tech works on all models and makes of smartphones and doesn’t require extra hardware,” added Costigan. In fact, Costigan’s continuous process of verification has already been used by banks across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany as part of efforts to detect and counter fraud. The technology was showcased as possible future-phone tech at Google’s I/O 2015 conference, and has the potential to be installed on every phone rather than just being limited to banking apps.

Looking to learn more about mobile technology and how they can change the way you work? Contact us today; we’re happy to talk.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.