Member Insights by Eric Madden, Astute Technology Management
Last year saw a record amount of investment in healthcare technology, which was a significant increase over the year before that. These new technologies are rapidly re-shaping the healthcare industry, driving better outcomes at lower costs, and creating a better experience for both patients and staff.
But what’s the best way for healthcare providers to embrace these new trends? Every week there’s a new article about either this new technology or that one. At the end of the day, where is the best place to spend your limited budget?
As a partner to healthcare organizations throughout Ohio for several decades, we thought we’d run through some of the important technologies set to shape 2019 and help our friends and partners in the healthcare industry understand how a managed security provider can help take advantage of them.
#1 Strengthen Cybersecurity and Compliance
Cybersecurity will continue to be a top priority for IT directors and CIOs in the healthcare industry, with good reason. A report from FortiGuard Labs found that during the last year, the healthcare industry experienced 32,000 attacks per day per organization. Compare this to only 14,300 attacks per organization in other industries, and you see the scale of the problem facing the healthcare industry.
Why are hackers so intent on stealing healthcare data? Because, in the immortal words of bank robber Willie Sutton, “that’s where the money is.” According to a report from Reuters, health credentials are worth about 10 to 20 times more than your stolen credit card information is worth on the dark web.
The number and severity of these attacks, mixed with improper data handling by employees, means that the collection of HIPPA fines has continued to grow every year for over a decade. As healthcare organizations move to incorporate more digital technology into their operations, like telehealth systems, the chance they make a compliance slip-up only increases.
Mitigating cybersecurity and compliance concerns will take a careful analysis of your network entry points and vulnerabilities, clear policies around data sharing and access, and vigilant enforcement of controls that leaves no room for error. Not a simple task, but one of central importance to both security and compliance.
#2 Make the most of the Artificial Intelligence Revolution
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has continued to show strong growth in the healthcare field and is approaching the point where even small providers and doctor’s offices can start to benefit from its implementation. There are so many potential use cases for AI in healthcare, it’s hard to mention them all in one blog post. For back office tasks like bookkeeping, AI can automate repetitive work, speed the querying of financial data, and free accountants to focus on more strategically important tasks. Other administrative duties that can benefit from AI include using optical character recognition (OCR) to scan forms with greater than human accuracy, and rudimentary data entry work. But that’s just the beginning of its potential impact.
AI’s most exciting uses in healthcare are allowing humans and technology to monitor health and activity in more intelligent ways. In medical imaging, AI is already being used to analyze medical charts and more accurately detect abnormalities that radiologists couldn’t. For more information on the many emerging use cases, which drove investment in the field to over $500 million in 2018, you can see this list by the America College of Radiology’s Data Science Institute.
According to both technologists and healthcare experts, 2019 is going to be a breakout year for AI in healthcare. That means CIOs and IT directors who haven’t thought about how AI technology can fit into their networks and operations probably should.
#3 Hybrid Cloud Built for Healthcare
Hybrid cloud is a model in which public cloud applications, provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, IBM, or other public cloud providers interwork with your on-premises IT systems. When done properly, hybrid cloud solutions can provide many of the benefits associated with cloud computing, such as increased network flexibility and scalability, while also allowing your organization to retain control over its critical IT systems and data.
The balance between data security and efficiency that hybrid cloud offers makes it ideal for the healthcare industry and is driving quick adoption by providers. According to the Enterprise Cloud Index Report survey, the percentage of healthcare providers using hybrid cloud technologies is set to increase to 37 percent from just 19 percent in the next two years.
To spur this adoption, major technology vendors are releasing new products and solutions to ease the transition to the cloud. Both the latest version of Windows Server 2019 and VMware Cloud provide support for hybrid deployments, making the migration of services and healthcare data even easier. AWS, long a champion of the public cloud model, just recently capitulated to the increasing demand for hybrid solutions by releasing Outposts at the end of 2018. Change is in the air.
It’s not just better efficiency that’s driving cloud adoption, though. The cloud can help break down information silos and improve communication between doctors too. According to this study by the Joint Commission, 80% of serious medical errors occur as a result of miscommunication when transferring patients between providers. The rapid, secure communication that hybrid cloud solutions enable can help solve those problems by encouraging doctors to freely exchange ideas and access records with ease.
Astute Technology Management – 20 Years of Keeping Healthcare Organizations Compliant
This blog touched on just some of the most important trends, there are many other transformative technologies like telemedicine, virtual reality, and blockchain that are on the horizon as well. To help you make the most of these technologies, and the countless other advancements that are in the works, we strongly recommend you enlist the help of a skilled technology partner, like Astute Technology Management.
We have a deep understanding of the healthcare community’s needs, whether that be installing or optimizing your EHR software, integrating your communications and technology infrastructure for lower costs and greater reliability, or any of the other common concerns we’ve learned about through our 20 years of service.
If you’re a healthcare provider and would like to know more about our IT services, feel free to contact us any time. We’re passionate about helping healthcare organizations in Columbus Ohio improve their operations and profitability with better technology!