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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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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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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4 Reasons You Should Make Preventative Maintenance of Medical Equipment a Top Priority

untitled-design-80Preventive maintenance programs are designed to ensure equipment is in quality working order to maintain reliable operation, protect patients, minimize the risk of injury to patients, and avoid pricey, unscheduled repairs.

Maintenance. The word itself can often times come with a negative connotation due to the term “High Maintenance.” But when it comes to medical equipment maintenance, the key here is PREVENTative. In this issue’s Auxo Medical newsletter, we’ll peel back why the importance of preventative maintenance cannot be overemphasized.

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Streamlining Medical Equipment Processes with a Single Source

Doctor suggesting hospital program to patient

What are the benefits of using a single source vendor for purchasing medical equipment? This seems like an obvious answer for a common question, but the truth is, there is so much more to it than cost savings.

These days more than ever before, the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) procurement team is under a lot of pressure to provide high quality equipment, within or under budget, while considering the needs (and opinions) of front line medical stakeholders.

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SECTION 179 = SENSE OF URGENCY!

It’s Not Too Late … But It’s Time to Hustle

Bet you’re like most everyone … as the Holiday Season approaches, we all tend to say, “Where did the year go?” More central to this article is “Where did the 2017 Tax Year Go?

And that brings us to the topic at hand, your potential to save big-time on your 2017 tax bill. That prospect is the significant tax advantages of the Section 179 deduction … but only if you act by December 31, 2017.

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Ransomware & Identity Theft Update

The Exposure & Defenses for ASCs and Employees

Back in August, we reported in the Auxo Medical Examiner of the increasing victimization of health care facilities by hackers who disable access to key patient and status records until ransom demands are met. In addition to patients, employees often suffer as well because of a workplace breach of their confidential information.

In recent days, we’ve all seen the recent headlines of a data breach that literally may affect 50% of Americans.

Giant Equifax data breach: 143 million people could be affected

Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the U.S population.

Given the snowballing ransomware cyberattacks of ASCs and other health care facilities, coupled with escalating identity theft initiated by hackers for illicit use or sale to other thieves … this issue will deal with two specific data breach exposures:

  • The burgeoning interconnectivity of medical devices, and
  • Protection against theft of employee records.
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Millennials in Healthcare

Healthcare Employers and Managers

The times are changing  –  and healthcare managers need to get with the times.

How would you like to have employees who:

  • Crave meaningful work and passionate about helping others;
  • Seek and respond well to constructive feedback;
  • Embrace training and mentoring to advance their careers; and
  • Creatively apply technology in the workplace?

If your answer is “yes”, you have just accepted the profile of the single largest segment of the workforce – Millennials. What’s not to like?!

This generation has now surpassed the Boomers and projected to be fully half of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Also known as Gen Y, this generation born between 1980 and 2000 will escalate to 75% status by 2030.

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ASCs and Hospitals

ASCs and Hospitals

Of Ransomware, Hackers, FTC and HIPAA

You’ve seen it … you’ve heard it … you couldn’t miss it!

Health care facilities have been victimized by hackers who steal patient identities and increasingly disable access to key patient treatment and status records until ransom demands are met. Additionally, employees may suffer because of a workplace breach of their confidential information.

Traditional technology networks are generally vulnerable and lucrative to attack. ASCs as well as small to medium-size hospitals are marked as primary targets for breaches because their security infrastructure is often lacking. That underscores a July 2016 report that revealed that the healthcare industry is hit significantly harder by ransomware hackers than any other sector … to the tune of 88% of attacks targeted hospitals.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what are current threats as well as those to be anticipated based on advances in medical technology. Additionally, we’ll review technical safeguards under HIPAA regulations and employer responsibilities as viewed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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Merger and Acquisition

ASCs Merger and Acquisition

ASCs at Center of This Major Trend – 5 Major Drivers

ASCs merger and acquisition activity continues its decade long growth trend. Industry experts anticipate the outlook for 2017 and beyond will likely maintain or exceed that momentum.

There are 5 major drivers that fuel this buying spree to consolidate and deliver patient care in non-hospital settings.

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