Ensuring the Health of Your Medical Data Center

Entering medical data

Healthcare Data has grown 878% in the last few years. With that in mind, the management of that data is one of the most difficult spaces to navigate, especially for smaller practices on smaller budgets. Regardless of company size, even the smallest breach can resonate through an entire entity and decimate an entire system. Medical facilities are often faced with obvious hurdles when it comes to dealing with a potential breach such as information sensitivity, violating HIPPA Compliance, data loss, and more. There are also less apparent challenges such as managing cost, long-term technology infrastructure, and network complexity in general. In this blog, we’re going to run down a list of things that are common issues, how to overcome them, and how to prepare for future issues that may arise. Statistics* to keep in mind:

• 955 major security breaches in healthcare have occurred

• 135 million healthcare records have been stolen or exposed to unauthorized viewers

• 41% of the U.S. population has been affected by healthcare data breaches

Common Challenges in Healthcare IT

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are the lifeblood of any medical practice, any threat to these EHRs could damage a practices’ ability to function; application slowness, cyberattacks, and ransomware are just some of the potential threats.

At Protected Harbor we know how to manage, host, and resolve any issue a practice may face when it comes to their technology and more importantly, their EHRs.  Application slowness has a large impact on not only productivity but patient satisfaction overall. When it comes to entering patient information from a doctor or nurse’s perspective, especially in fast-paced environments, expediency is key. Commonly, EHR systems are slow and cumbersome to use for several reasons, hardware issues, software, network connectivity, etc. so, although it’s imperative to not only keep your data secure it must be quickly accessible as well.

Cost is also at the forefront of unforeseen issues, hardware upkeep, software licenses, and security costs can all add up rather quickly regardless of the size of the medical practice. With the direct connection hardware and software have to expediency it’s a cost that must be accounted for falling only second to security.

Although the aforementioned costs are unavoidable, security is of the utmost importance. With strict HIPPA policies, a security breach is enough to potentially drive under even the most fiscally stable medical practice. As you can see below, courtesy of Becker Hospital Review there’s been a noticeable uptick in healthcare breaches since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic:

-Healthcare breaches increased 55.1 percent from 386 in 2019 to 599 in 2020.

-Hacking and IT incidents accounted for 67.3 percent of data security compromises in the healthcare sector in 2020, affecting 24.1 million people.

-Unauthorized disclosures were the second most common type of breach (21.5 percent), followed by loss or theft (8.7 percent) and other breaches (2.5 percent).  

-The average healthcare firm took 236 days to recover from a breach. 

-The average cost per healthcare record breached increased from $429 in 2019 to $499 in 2020, costing healthcare organizations around $13.2 billion in 2020.

-Thirty-seven out of 50 states reported more breaches in 2020 than the previous year. Bitglass attributed this to rapid cloud expansion, use of personal devices, and working remotely amid the pandemic.

These problems can be magnified when you take into account things like dependency on a failed third party causes cascade failure, the fact that healthcare billing is based on small files (HL7 and others), systems designed for processing thousands of files were never designed for billions of files, file transfers that are dependent on antiquated FTP technology resulting in successful attacks. Monitoring and alerting becoming impossible as multiple interconnected systems become intertwined.

How to Overcome Challenges in Healthcare IT?

At Protected Harbor we understand these needs fully and have a system in place that can address them specifically. We have a detailed process when it comes to identifying the potential needs of a practice. We begin with a deep dive into your system to identify any potential threats or weaknesses you may have within. After identification, we craft a carefully tailored Technology Improvement Plan, including ways to optimize your system, increase your security, and overall, strengthen your IT infrastructure from start to finish.

With your information in one of our Protected Data Centers, you’ll be able to take full advantage of our cutting-edge Application Out Avoidance (AOA). This process monitors log integration of a device, firewall, and server events to create a complete picture of an issue, and then a scripted process to resolve the issue.  Application Outage Avoidance includes not just monitoring, but also actions to resolve monitored events, preventing problems before they start.

With patients becoming more consumer-like in their search for healthcare practices companies must react accordingly. A way to streamline the process and reduce wait times is to utilize cloud hosting and more web-based applications. With our Protected Full Service suite of options not only can we protect your data but minimize the potential headache of both apparent as well as unforeseen challenges. Protected Full Service offers:

Flexibility Remote cloud-based access to your applications, desktops, and data from anywhere, keeping your team productive, no matter where they work.

Up Time – More than just monitoring, we go above and beyond. Application Outage Protection. AOP is the combination of embedded monitoring, anti-virus, and script procedures working together to form a protective bubble around your office.

Cost Control – Flat rate pricing, through monthly or yearly subscription models. Plus, reduce capital expenses and enjoy more predictable operational expenses.

Security – Protected Harbor provides a DaaS secure access point for users and simplifies desktop and app management processes and procedures.

Preparing for Future Challenges

With an ever-changing technology landscape moving to cloud utilization isn’t a “cure”, it can reduce costs, improve security, and most of all, increase the speed at which applications can operate. It can be costly to keep up with licenses, maintenance, etc. but Protected Medical Data Centers are not only a solution for the present but also for the future. Overall, there is no box or magic solution to see what challenges lay ahead in the medical data landscape. Problems are solved by evaluating the source of the failures, determining the severity of the failures, identifying the failures that cause the greatest systemic interruptions, making a plan that identifies all the issues, and then addressing the issues one by one. Keeping that in mind is crucial to understanding how we solve problems and create solutions at Protected Harbor.

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