Cybersecurity in the Healthcare Space: 2018 Trends & Warnings

september-newsletter-securityLast year we reported the disturbing rise of ransomware in healthcare, specifically within ASCs as well as explaining how employees are used as targets for identity theft. Organizations have been victimized by hackers who steal patient identities and disable access to key patient treatment and status records until ransom demands are met.

While it sounds like something out of a dramatic cinematic film, ransomware is very much a harsh reality. Traditional technology networks are vulnerable and lucrative to attacks. Small to medium-size health care facilities are marked as primary ransomware targets because their security infrastructure is often lacking.

Ransomware attacks have infested healthcare organizations for years. In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware targeted medical devices and caused extensive problems for healthcare companies. Earlier this year, SamSam ransomeware hit a number of healthcare organizations.

Ransomware attacks obviously concern healthcare IT professionals. According to a survey by security firm Imperva, a ransomware attack is the type of cyberattack that most worries healthcare IT professionals. Almost 10 percent of those surveyed had paid a ransom or extortion fee, while almost half didn’t know if they had paid a ransom or not. More than one-third of healthcare organizations have suffered a cyberattack within the last year, the survey found.

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Training Course – November 5th – 9th, 2018

Mark your calendar! This Fall, Auxo Medical will be offering a Steris Sterilizer and Washer/Disinfector service training course!

The course will be offered November 5th – 9th, 2018 at Auxo Medical in Richmond, VA.

November 5th – 6th 2018  – Steris Stage 3 Small Century Series Sterilizers
November  7th – 7th 2018  – Steris 444 Washer Disinfectors
November  9th, 2018 – Review for the final half day.

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Internet of Medical Things (IoT): The Vast Impact Inside & Outside of Hospital Walls

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A patient’s heart monitor sends an alert to a physician that her arrhythmia is back.

A senior forgets to take their prescribed medication on time, and a devices helps remind them to take it and also documents what time they took it.

 A man’s implanted device monitors blood glucose symptoms and delivers a corrective insulin stimulus, alerting the physician simultaneously.

All of these examples are the epitome of the “Internet of Medical Things” (IoMT). The Internet of Medical Things refers to an ecosystem of medical devices and applications that collect data that is then provided to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks. Wi-Fi enabled devices are a catalyst for machines to communicate and link to cloud platforms for data storage. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) has influenced several industries, and the healthcare field is no exception. The medical industry across the board has gradually started to enter the integrated world of IoT.

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Preventing & Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)

HAIsHealthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. Earlier this month in our blog, we took a look at HAIs and how they are transmitted. In this post, we will cover insights on how to best prevent and reduce HAIs.

Precautionary Measures

Immune systems are oftentimes weakened upon being admitted to the hospital due to the illness patients are facing. Patients are in a compromising position to battle additional challenges, due to infections generated within the healthcare facility walls. In 2014, an estimated 17.8 million visits to physician offices were due to infectious and parasitic diseases.

Programs that have been successful in reducing HAIs generally focus on improving multiple interventions, such as hand hygiene, use of contact and other precautions, active screening, and vigorous decontamination rather than relying on a single approach.

Examples of best practices by a healthcare provider include careful insertion, maintenance, and prompt removal of catheters, as well as the careful use of antibiotics.

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Paying the Price: What Causes Healthcare-Associated Infections and How They Are Contracted

Paying the Price: What Causes Healthcare-Associated Infections and How They Are ContractedHealthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a growing concern for everyone impacted within the field of healthcare — both patients and providers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that every day, one in 20 patients will contract an HAI. Equally disturbing, the economic burden of HAIs is suspected to reach over $30 billion a year.

Hospitals are the perfect environment for infections to manifest. Being isolated in a small area, day after day, with many other people who also have suppressed immune systems, understandably leaves patients highly susceptible to infection.

There are a number of patient safety networks and associations who have joined forces to improve infection control and lower the number of patients who contract these conditions.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, norovirus, and Escherichi colithese are just some of the better-known bacteria and viruses responsible for HAIs, according to Beckers Hospital Review.

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A Look Inside the Expanding Landscape of HAIs

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Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions, and many HAIs are preventable. HAIs can occur in a number of health care facilities, such as acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient care e.g. physicians’ offices and clinics, dialysis treatment facilities, and long-term care facilities e.g. rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. HAIs can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other pathogens.

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How to Integrate Value-Based Care into Your Practice

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Transitioning from the traditional volume-based to value-based payment and care delivery models in health care has been one of the most significant industry-wide efforts during recent years. However, the speed of adapting this new model has been slow. For instance, in a 2016 survey of executives at provider organizations, 94 percent indicated that they are on the path to value-based care, but only 27 percent have finished pilots or are in the process of implementation.

Physicians play a substantial role in delivering value-based care so it is certainly worth investing time and energy to understand how they can help move the organization in the right direction.

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Outpatient is the Future of Total Joint Replacement

Ambulatory Surgery Centers are Paving the Way

Outpatient is the Future of Total Joint Replacement

 

Elective outpatient hip and knee replacements increased by 47 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a study by Sg2. This insight is an early indicator that total joint replacements (TJR) are becoming more common in the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) setting as a higher number of surgeons become experts on minimally invasive technology and pain management techniques for outpatient procedures.

Total joint surgeries moving toward outpatient can also be attributed to:

  • The transition to value-based care since ASCs are a high quality, low cost option
  • Insurance companies are more willing to cover outpatient TJRs
  • Studies show that patients who fit a particular criteria can achieve desired results in the outpatient setting

In this month’s newsletter, we’re peeling back the TJR outpatient trends, cost analysis, and how ASCs are taking a driver’s seat in the total joint arena.

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ASCs Bring Extra Value in Value-Based Care

Value-Based Care

Value-based healthcare is a delivery model in which providers are compensated based on patient health outcomes. Under value-based care agreements, providers (including hospitals and physicians) are recognized for helping patients improve their health, reduce the ramifications and incidence of chronic disease, and live a healthier lifestyle in an evidence-based process.

Value-based care is different from a traditional fee-for-service (FFS) approach. FFS providers are paid based on the amount of healthcare services they deliver. The “value” in value-based healthcare is derived from measuring health outcomes against the cost of delivering the outcomes.

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#AskAuxo: Medical Equipment Maintenance Q&A

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All month long, we have been focused on the importance of medical equipment maintenance. For this #ASKAuxo blog post, we wanted to dig a little bit deeper. We asked an expert about the fundamentals of proactively keeping equipment fully functional and reliable.

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