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Health Management Technology News
  February 20, 2014
In this issue:

Triple-S Management faces $6.8 million penalty tied to security breach

Sixteen health information organizations join forces

CIOs still control most IT spending

Toshiba says plans M&A to expand healthcare business

Extreme Networks selected to power the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS 2014

Triple-S Management faces $6.8 million penalty tied to security breach

Triple-S Management GTS -1.23% Corp. said the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration plans to impose a $6.8 million penalty related to a security breach at the health insurer's subsidiary, Triple-S Salud Inc., or TSS.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, Triple-S said the monetary penalty and other administrative sanctions—including the suspension of all new enrollments of Dual Eligible Medicare beneficiaries and the obligation to notify those affected of their right to disenroll—stemmed from a breach involving 13,336 of the company's Dual Eligible Medicare beneficiaries.

The Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration alleged that Triple-S failed to take all required steps in response to the breach, the company said.

Last September, TSS mailed a pamphlet that inadvertently displayed some recipients' Medicare Health Insurance Claim Number, a unique number assigned by the Social Security Administration that is considered protected health information, the company said.

TSS conducted an investigation and reported the incident to Puerto Rico and federal government agencies, and complied with the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration's requests for information concerning the company's Dual Eligible Medicare beneficiaries, Triple-S said, adding that TSS took additional steps, including issuing a breach notification through the local media and notified all affected beneficiaries by mail regarding the situation.

"We take this matter very seriously and are working to prevent this type of incident from happening again," said Triple-S in the filing, adding that currently it is unable to assess the financial impact of this incident on TSS and cannot estimate the impact of the sanctions.

Read the full Market Watch article here

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Sixteen health information organizations join forces

Today, 16 health information organizations (HIOs), located throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states, announced they will work together to address data exchange challenges across regional and state lines. One of the group's primary goals is to advocate for more robust forms of health information exchange (HIE), such as query-based HIE, and ensure that health information appropriately follows patients that require health care services outside of their home town or home state. The group is also advocating for the unique needs of rural areas related to health information technology and HIE.

Founding members of the Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations include:

  1. Colorado Regional Health Information Organization
  2. Community Health Information Collaborative (Minnesota)
  3. Coordinated Care Oklahoma
  4. Health Information Network Of Arizona
  5. HealthShare, Montana, Inc.
  6. Idaho Health Data Exchange
  7. Iowa Health Information Network
  8. Kansas Health Information Network, Inc.
  9. Missouri Health Connection
  10. MyHealth Access Network, Inc. (Oklahoma)
  11. Nebraska Health Information Initiative
  12. North Dakota Health Information Network
  13. Quality Health Network (Colorado)
  14. South Dakota Health Link at DOH
  15. Southeast Texas Health System
  16. SMRTNET (Oklahoma)

A seventeenth organization, the Community Service Council, based out of Tulsa, Okla., is not an HIO but has joined the Mid-States Consortium of HIOs as a supporting organization.

A key premise in the establishment of the Mid-States Consortium of HIOs is that critical health information must be available to physicians and other health care providers at the point of care, regardless of the location where a patient needs care. Patients are very mobile and receive health care from many different providers, sometimes crossing state lines for services. The Mid-States Consortium members are committed to ensuring important clinical data from these provider visits is available in a highly secure, connected system. "The members of the Mid-States Consortium are committed to addressing the most difficult data exchange issues confronting health information organizations today," said Jeff Messer, director of outreach and development, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO).

"All members signed a charter indicating their willingness to collaborate on issues that are challenging health information exchange across the nation," said Laura McCrary, Ed.D., executive director of the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN). The Mid-States Consortium members are discussing issues such as data use agreements that enable data exchange across regional and state lines as well as outline permissible secondary data use across HIOs. "These are the most difficult issues for HIOs to resolve as they require a high degree of trust," said McCrary.

Read the full Sys-Con Media news release here

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CIOs still control most IT spending

CIOs still have the last word over most IT spending, but over time they will work more closely with business units on buying decisions, a Forrester Research survey finds.

Only 6.3 percent of new technology purchases in the U.S. were made and implemented solely by business units in 2013, according to the report's author, Forrester vice president and principal analyst Andrew Bartels. Some 9 percent of spending involved technology the business unit chose but the CIO's team implemented and managed.

However, "the ideal tech-buying process is one in which the business and the CIO's team work together to identify a need, find and fund a solution, choose the right vendor or vendors, implement it, and manage it," Bartels wrote in the report. "We estimate that more than a third of tech purchases will fit that profile by 2015."

Moreover, the share of tech purchases the CIO's group "primarily or exclusively makes" will drop from 55 percent to 47 percent by 2015, Bartels added.

Still, "pundits who make sweeping statements about tech spending shifting from the CIO's department to the business fail to appreciate the complex process involved in buying and owning technology," he wrote.

Business units' share of new technology spending went up from 2010 to 2012, fueled by purchases of smartphones and tablets, but this trend will wane as such items become part of consolidated IT budgets, according to Bartels.

Meanwhile, business unit purchasing of SaaS (software as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is growing, "though the actual volume of spending is relatively small because many of these purchases have first-year costs measured in the tens of thousands of dollars," he added.

Although control over tech spending is shifting slightly away from CIOs, they shouldn't be alarmed, according to Bartels: "The fact that business users are taking the lead in identifying opportunities to apply technology solutions to business problems is a good thing, not something to be deplored."

But CIOs should make sure their relationships with various business executives are strong, so they will come to the CIO's office for help, he added.

Read the full Computerworld article here

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Toshiba says plans M&A to expand healthcare business

Toshiba Corp plans to spend billions of dollars on mergers and acquisitions to boost annual sales in its healthcare division to 1 trillion yen ($9.78 billion) by March 2018, President Hisao Tanaka said on Thursday.

The Japanese conglomerate sees healthcare as key to its growth. It aims to raise the sector's revenues by 50 percent to 600 billion yen in the business year to March 2016 and wants its operating profit margin to reach over 10 percent within the same period.

Beyond that, the company will need mergers and acquisitions, Tanaka said. He did not give details any potential targets.

Toshiba, Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corp are all seeking to expand their healthcare businesses to tap growing demand from an ageing population at home and boost revenues as their consumer electronics face stiff competition from foreign rivals.

Imaging diagnostics for medical use are the main product of Toshiba's healthcare sector. The company currently has an 11 percent share of the 2.2 trillion yen global imaging diagnostics market, a stake it wants to boost by 2017/18 so that it can become one of the world's top three makers of the technology.

Toshiba also wants to expand its preventative health products and services such as nursing and aftercare, a market it says is currently worth 10 trillion yen.

Read the full Reuters report here

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Extreme Networks selected to power the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at HIMSS 2014

With more than 40,000 healthcare professionals preparing to kick off the world's largest healthcare technology exhibition in Orlando, FL next week, Extreme Networks (Nasdaq: EXTR) today announced it has been selected as the new network provider for the HIMSS Intelligent Hospital Pavilion, the technology centerpiece of the event. With this esteemed designation as the "network provider for the Pavilion," Extreme Networks will reliably connect and support leading healthcare applications, mobile technologies and devices from more than 75 different vendors by providing its high performance wireless switching, wired switching and networks analytics solution as the foundation for analyzing connectivity at the Pavilion.

The HIMSS Intelligent Hospital Pavilion will showcase the most innovative healthcare technologies that improve levels of care, the efficiency of staff, and the safety and comfort of patients. As a part of this effort, Extreme Networks will rely upon and implement its recently announced Purview analytics technology to monitor and analyze the application and data activity within the Pavilion.  Extreme Networks' Purview technology is the healthcare industry's first and only solution to offer care providers, clinics and hospitals unprecedented visibility into the application use across their networks, by detecting behavior, devices and content over both wired and wireless networks. By providing the context and details of the network's users, devices, locations and applications in use, healthcare organizations are able to improve the experience of connected, mobile users and optimize application performance in a secure environment.

Harry Papas, CEO, HIMSS Intelligent Hospital Pavilion

"2014 marks a breakthrough year for the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion, as we have added a 1,500 square foot intelligent home, brilliant IP video and top-of-the-line wireless tools and devices to our setup at HIMSS. We'll be showing off the most advanced technologies in action that span the entire continuum of patient care and Extreme Networks has played a key role in this effort. From supporting the latest medical applications and connected services to the fastest mobile devices, we could never have done what we are doing without Extreme Networks."

Jay Dickey, CIO, Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH

"Extreme Networks has helped us with our mission to enhance patient care and save lives by addressing the challenge of obtaining network insights that allow us to improve application performance and leverage healthcare business analytics. In addition, Purview technology has brought my IT department to the business table with our CEO, the head of medicine and our board, making our network more strategic as a whole. Most importantly, Purview technology has also spurred a positive attitude change amongst our employees because application response time has decreased significantly."

Read the full Miami Herald report here

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