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Cover Story

Overcoming IT security breaches By David Kennedy,

vice president and chief security officer, Diebold The healthcare industry experienced

more information technology (IT) security breaches in 2011 than any other industry. From January through October 2011, the healthcare industry was responsible for 170 of 480 total breaches (double that of any other industry), according to But the future presents opportunities to avoid violations and

protect patients’ and organizations’ sensitive information. Most of the 2011 healthcare security breaches occurred when portable data devices, such as laptops and fl ash drives containing sensitive and private information, went missing, according to Although healthcare institutions can’t always avoid theft, they can take precautions by using encryption, which keeps data secure even if the portable device is stolen. Unfortunately, only one-third of healthcare organizations are currently using these types of security practices, according to a Ponemon Institute study. IT security goes much further than HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and protecting privacy and ensuring confi dentiality, integrity and availability of systems need to be priorities. Based on the Ponemon Institute’s “2010 Annual Study: U.S. Cost of a Data Breach Study,” the average cost per lost or stolen record is $214. This quickly adds up when one considers the average number of records lost for an organization is approximately 16,000, translating to a cost of about $3.4 million for each incident.

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In the digital age of storing personal health information on portable devices,

cloud computing and an expansive use of technology, it has never been more important to focus efforts around proactive security and ensuring an organization is protected from an attack or breach.

The year of the quick IT win By Dave Dyell, president, iSirona

There are some trends that I hope go away in 2012. But there are others that I truly hope continue strong into 2012. One such trend is the simultaneous implementation of EMRs and medical device integration (MDI).

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Why are hospitals conducting these two initiatives at the same time? Why, in the midst of a daunting CIS change, would a CIO take on an MDI initiative as well? One reason is data integrity;

many EMRs today are error fi lled. One study found vital-signs errors in 14.9 percent of records. The point is that if the data in the EMR is wrong – or even if it’s right, but hours old – then the

14 January 2012 Tablets are the future of healthcare

By Tom Giannulli, M.D., chief medical information officer, Epocrates

The adoption of tablets among healthcare providers accelerated in 2011. More than 20 percent of U.S. physicians are currently using one in practice, with an additional 46 percent planning to purchase within the next year (Epocrates, 2011). Future physicians are getting on board too, with an 800 percent usage increase in just one year. Popular devices, such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom, coupled with custom-built native medical apps, are changing the way healthcare providers practice medicine. An increasing number of hospitals and larger practices are supporting tablets in clinical settings for accessing reference applications, documentation, practice management and medication-management tools, such as e-prescribing. As this trend continues, more clinicians will realize the true potential of this mobile technology for workflow improvements, productivity advancements and, most importantly, enhancements in patient care. These benefi ts, coupled with the usability and accessibility of tablets, mean they are poised to become ubiquitous within the practice of medicine.

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Tablets will also play an important role in the future of EHR systems. SaaS-based EHR models

have emerged as cost-effective solutions for smaller physician practices looking to become meaningful-use compliant without the signifi cant upfront costs of traditional systems. A tablet can be used as a tool in conjunction with a SaaS- based EHR as a superior outlet for point-of-care activities due to its size and portability. It easily fi ts into a physician’s workfl ow, promotes a higher level of approachability among patients and is easily maintained. The tablet is a powerful tool for the medical community; 2012 will be an exciting year to watch where it will take us.

EMR is nothing more than a gateway to bad information. Hospitals improve EMR data integrity through MDI. Because MDI channels data from medical devices directly into the EMR, it does away with unfortunate transcription errors. Perhaps more importantly, MDI happens in real time, turning the EMR into an accurate and timely (not to mention “meaningful”) tool for clinical decision making. Another reason for concurrent EMR and MDI implementations

is workfl ow. Without MDI, hospitals investing in EMRs must rely on their nurses to populate them. As far as data chains go, MDI is far more cost effective. In fact, one study estimates that MDI can save a 150-bed hospital 2,408 hours in nursing time annually.

In the last 12 months, I’ve seen smart CIOs synchronizing their EMR and MDI initiatives. There is great synergy in this IT combination, and I predict we’ll see a lot more of it in 2012. After all, if biomed and IT teams are already under the hood of a CIS or new EMR, it makes sense for them to implement a quick IT win: software-based MDI.


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