3 trends driving health care IT in 2017

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference is reliably the most significant health care IT conference in the United States each year, bringing together thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of health care IT professionals focused on a common goal: Improving health care efficiency through technology. This year was no different.

Here are some of the key topics we witnessed from our spot on the HIMSS 2017 Exhibit Hall floor. Continue Reading…

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6 tech trends that took over in 2016

Technology continues to become more and more integrated into our everyday lives—it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t use software to help run their business more smoothly. At SHI, we help organizations across a number of industries find the solutions they need, from printer security to healthy cubicle hacks and more. It gives us a great view of some of the trends that emerge each year, including what hit it big in 2016. Continue Reading…

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Is your health care organization prepared for a cyber attack?

healthcare-itRansomware and cybercrime hacking have been two of the most common IT security threats in 2016, but many health care organizations aren’t ready to play defense: Only about 60 percent of surveyed organizations had the security capabilities in place to detect and remediate these attacks.

That’s problematic, of course, but is it surprising? After all, many health care organizations place more importance on HIPAA compliance than security, or they aren’t agile enough to protect themselves against the newest threat. Organizations tend to sink their energy into defending against the latest threat of the day, but lag on improving their entire security architecture. Continue Reading…

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3 health care IT trends that could shape your next technology purchase

healthcare securityHealth care is in the midst of unprecedented change. The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the shift to electronic medical records (EMR), and the country’s increased focus on wellness have shaken up the industry, leading to more accessibility for patients, widespread data sharing, and greater dependency on cloud technology.

Yet health care continues to be one of the most outdated industries when it comes to IT, making it difficult for health care IT managers and directors to find the best technology for their needs.

There’s already been a shift from buying to leasing, as the rate of technology innovation leads to more turnover. What other trends can you expect to play a role in your next technology investment? Here are three of the biggest concerns to think about before your next health care IT purchase. Continue Reading…

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The ailments and issues that health care IT professionals are most concerned about

health care ITThe operating room is the convergence of intelligence and technology. The computers, devices, and software that make up the operating room and your doctor’s office, as well as the latest trends in health care, were on full display at HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas earlier this month. This year’s conference was attended by more than 45,000 health care IT professionals who were ready, willing, and eager to learn how to collaborate better and improve patient care through IT solutions.

Throughout the conference I met with people from all areas of health care — from providers to payers to vendors. Here are three key takeaways. Continue Reading…

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How one health care firm fixed its data storage worries

medical dataWhen the new IT director at a U.S. health care and financial management firm examined his on-premises storage environment, he noticed something unexpected: The last byte of storage was in sight.

The company needed storage, and soon. The entire business — collecting, analyzing, and processing new medical records, health care, and insurance data — depended on it. A lack of storage space would halt the review and processing of insurance claims and billing, and there wasn’t much time to prevent it. Continue Reading…

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Resources, relationships, and results: How a children’s hospital fixed its disaster recovery plan

children's hospitalWhen faced with bad choices, it’s sometimes easier to just do nothing, even if that inaction can lead to a new round of issues.

Such was the situation for a children’s hospital in one U.S. city. The hospital had no disaster recovery (DR), and it was stuck with an impractical plan from a consultant – backup hardware in a building across the street. Continue Reading…

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Diagnosing cancer and stopping crime: How big data is leaving its mark

big dataIt’s easy to get lost in big data. The terabytes of data compiled and crunched by machines and programs offer new insights about our world. But where’s the signal? The noise? What does big data actually mean for you and me?

Big data isn’t about finding the needle in the haystack, but rather understanding the haystack, needle and all. Big data’s value lies in its useful and actionable insights, which are only as powerful as the data you’ve collected and the questions you ask of it. Understanding what the data can provide and how to use it is already earning dividends for some industries. Continue Reading…

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Assessing security: How one health care provider stepped up its security outlook

healthcare securityWhen the federal government offers incentives to support a change, many organizations sprint to meet the benchmarks that trigger the payoffs. That was the goal when, in 2009, the government offered grant money to spur the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs). Since 2009, 80 percent of doctors and 60 percent of hospitals have converted to EMRs, and $28 billion has been paid out to health care providers for converting paper files to digital.

A large health care provider in the Midwest was among them. Serving more than 200,000 patients, the organization had thousands of medical records on file that needed to be digitized. The company ramped up the push for electronic records to meet the government incentives, including its requirement to use only electronic records for Medicare and Medicaid patients by the end of 2013.

But as the company, like many providers, rushed to meet these new EMR requirements, it found the cyber security requirements were changing far faster than other technologies.

The organization knew it needed to ramp up security — and quickly — to continue to meet its responsibility to its patients and their privacy, and to continue to meet health care privacy rules and HIPAA requirements, while maintaining the security of the entire system. But with IT resources tied up in the switch to EMRs, how could the organization best upgrade its security? Continue Reading…

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Tackling security vulnerabilities in health care

health care data securityNetwork security is critical for any organization, but in the health care space, with the personal and medical details of millions of individuals in the balance, the stakes are even higher. Out-of-date software, unimplemented patches, or even outdated passwords could be the vulnerability that exposes the sensitive information of an innocent and unsuspecting patient base. Two recent security breaches suffered by prominent U.S. health insurers highlight these vulnerabilities.

In February, Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S, revealed that a previously-disclosed hacker attack compromised the health care records of as many as 80 million individuals. A few weeks later, Premera Blue Cross reported that the personal, bank, and health data of an estimated 11 million individuals was exposed when hackers penetrated its system in a similar assault.

These two high-profile security breaches have intensified the spotlight on data security, and raised several important questions for health care organizations (what HIPAA calls “connected entities”) and groups that provide supporting services to health care entities (called “business associates”). These groups should be asking the following questions: Continue Reading…

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