Recent breaches show that the strategy many boards embrace for their cybersecurity efforts is falling short, Axio Global Chief Technology Officer Jason Christopher writes. Boards can implement a more effective strategy by looking at exposure in financial terms, focusing on a maturity-based cyberevaluation framework and having resources in place to recover from an attack.
A ransomware attack against Hackensack Sleep and Pulmonary Center in New Jersey in September potentially affected 16,476 patients' data, including their diagnoses, insurance details, credit card information and Social Security numbers. The medical center regained the encrypted files from an offline backup system and did not pay the ransom, officials said.
In the past three years, a provider dashboard linked to Geisinger's Epic EHR system helped the Danville, Pa.-based health system reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written in its community practice clinics, emergency departments and physician offices from an average of 60,000 per month to 31,000. Providers at Geisinger must document that they have reviewed data from the state's prescription drug monitoring program before they issue a prescription for controlled substances and note in the EHR if they change their decision to issue a prescription because of information in the database, according to Geisinger's Michael Evans.
Doctors practicing telemedicine should be certified in it because a virtual visit "involves a true medical interaction that needs to be defined and categorized," said Dr. Michael Nochomovitz, co-author of a paper published as a JAMA Viewpoint. Nochomovitz does not think there will be a problem with telemedicine adoption if the certification takes shape because "[d]octors will want to do it right."
The Health Management Academy and the Center for Connected Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center surveyed 35 of the largest US health systems and found that although most are not getting reimbursed for virtual care or remote patient monitoring, more than 70% of those not receiving reimbursement think that will change in 2018, and many are continuing to implement telehealth programs. "Health systems are highly focused on becoming consumer-centric organizations, and view the integration of telehealth/virtual care/remote monitoring as part of the journey to putting consumers first," the report says.
Scarab, a new type of ransomware that allows victims to email hackers to negotiate payment for the retrieval of encrypted files, was suddenly distributed in spam emails by the botnet Necurs in November, according to Fortinet researchers. "While entering into negotiations definitely makes it more likely that a ransom of some kind will be paid, it also allows [hackers] to fluctuate demands depending on the value of bitcoin at that time," said PhishMe co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Aaron Higbee.
The 2017 HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award of Excellence was given to Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas in recognition of its efforts to use health IT to improve value and patient outcomes. Parkland's Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic therapy program instructs patients on how to safely self-administer IV antibiotics in their homes, said Parkland's Dr. Kavita Bhavan.
Hospital and health system executives responding to a survey said they are interested in artificial intelligence, machine learning and other emerging technology, but they are not rushing to implement it. Instead, they want to improve current EHR systems, standardize IT platforms and strengthen cybersecurity protocols.
Researchers and nursing homes are using an NIH grant to develop an advance care planning program for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias that can be integrated into the homes' regular workflows. The project aims to create decision-making supports and have nursing home staff work with residents and their families on care goals and values.
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