Build and maintain a secure IT infrastructure – for everything from charts to clinics to the cloud — healthy enough to support transformative care.
Delivering quality healthcare and positive patient outcomes combined with a painless clinician experience requires providers to have a strong technology foundation supporting these efforts. Integrated, secure and reliable technology is no less essential to payers and patients.
In other words, modern medicine has undergone a digital transformation revolution. Optimizing systems, securing information while making it sharable across applications, and breaking through data silos is key to functional health IT – especially considering the digital pillars of electronic health records (EHR) and telehealth. While technology as a healthcare enabler is a simple concept to grasp, it is incredibly complex to execute.
Structured cures IT ills. We work closely with healthcare organizations to build and deploy scalable and cloud-ready health IT that safeguards data while making it readily available to those with authorized access. We understand how to design intelligent, software-defined networks — from the data center, to the edge, to the cloud — that promote patient-centered care and alleviate clinician burnout.
Discussing Digital Disruption in Healthcare
Anyone who’s visited a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office knows technology is everywhere in medicine. Patient intake happens on handheld devices or kiosks. Practitioners chart in cloud-based EHR systems via tablets or laptops and send e-prescriptions right to pharmacies. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) biosensors like glucose monitors, pacemakers, and ingestible smart pills are genius, but hardly new. Families of patients depend on robust Wi-Fi access to wayfind in large hospital complexes or to pass time in a waiting room by surfing the internet or streaming video.
And now telehealth, once relegated to rural healthcare, is mainstream – bringing together practitioners and patients via video for safe, convenient consultations.
Although vastly different technologies, each has this in common: They require reliable connectivity; secure, optimized and integrated infrastructure; and smart, AI-driven analytics to automate operational functions, or at least capture and crunch data for human review.
Virtual Care & Telehealth
Patients in some progressive but underserved rural areas have experienced quality long-distance healthcare for many years, but virtual care and telehealth provided the country with a real shot in the arm during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Rather than visit a doctor’s office or healthcare clinic and risk exposure to the virus, at-risk patients everywhere could boot up a collaboration platform to talk to their care providers and receive timely evaluation.
Optimized and integrated collaboration platforms in healthcare proved to be far more than a Band-Aid and will remain a critical component in healthcare delivery and the continuum of care long after the pandemic has ended.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
A digital version of old paper charts, EHRs are meant to streamline accessibility, information sharing and workflow among providers to improve patient care. Obviously, EHRs (and the rapidly growing roster of healthcare apps) require infrastructure to support them, either on-premises or – increasingly – in the cloud.
Curiously, excessive data entry burdens posed by poorly designed EHR systems (combined with onerous regulatory reporting and insurance billing requirements) are often cited as a major factor in clinician burnout. The key here will be for EHR vendors (and specifically their DevOps teams) to work with lawmakers, regulators and industry groups like the American Medical Association to devise efficient and user-friendly platforms to reduce strain from charting.
Meanwhile, safe and reliable data storage repositories, mobile devices, data analytics systems and strong security measures are just a few of the necessary technologies making widespread use of EHR possible. And, as the federal government increasingly supports the seamless and secure exchange of electronic health information among patients, providers and payors, EHR systems will continue to evolve.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
The IoMT is an interconnected system of biosensors, software applications and analytics – plus the patients and the practitioners who manage their care. IoMT devices hold the promise of better diagnoses (and better outcomes!) through data, potentially saving hundreds of billions of dollars a year in healthcare expenses. And, more importantly, saving lives.
Like EHR, the IoMT requires reliable connectivity, secure and authorized access, and data availability, often across multicloud architectures, so the provider can see and interpret sensor data – whether the patient is in a hospital bed in the same room or wearing a smartwatch hundreds of miles away.
Patient & Clinician Experience
Improving user experiences for providers, patients and their families – inside and outside of healthcare facilities – has received significant investment over the last several years. Advancements in wireless technology, remote connectivity, communication platforms, and authentication and single sign on systems drove many of the positive changes.
Whether it is faster admitting processes, easier campus wayfinding, more accurate and attentive care, or even just more streamlined communication between providers and insurance companies, patients and their families now enjoy a much simpler more transparent experience when receiving care and dealing with the healthcare industry in general.
Next, technology’s focus must turn to the problem of alleviating clinician burnout. Even before the pandemic, this was a serious problem facing the healthcare industry with most studies revealing a staggering percentage of clinicians (30-50 percent) reporting feelings of “stress, fatigue, and burnout (characterized by loss of enthusiasm for work).” The pandemic has only exacerbated these findings.
Excessive charting requirements and convoluted workflows contribute to burnout. Making user experience as fast and as easy as possible through modern technology – with secure single sign-on protocols, robust Wi-Fi, and mobility-first IT architectures – is something that facility administrators can do even if regulatory requirements and the software platforms themselves are not changed in the immediate future.
Security & Compliance
Medical records are among the most valuable on the dark web, worth far more than credit card or Social Security numbers. As a result, hospitals and healthcare facilities are increasingly being targeted by well-funded, motivated and organized teams of criminals bent on disruption and profit.
Security strategies and layered technologies must permeate provider organizations in order to protect patients and their healthcare data. This starts with the building blocks of next-generation security and zero trust frameworks like multifactor authentication, least-privilege policy creation, network microsegmentation, data loss prevention and endpoint protection programs.
Regular security reviews – through vulnerability assessments, policy gap analysis, and even penetration testing – can help keep systems fortified against attack. Finally, and critically, it is imperative for healthcare organizations to establish and maintain comprehensive end-user training. Equipping users with the knowledge and skills they need to avoid phishing scams and ransomware provides a powerful front line of defense that can help keep the entire system healthy.
Structured specializes in regulatory compliance for healthcare, offering assessments and remediation services to identify and close security gaps – allowing you to sail through rigorous HIPAA and HITECH audits and meet ever-evolving standards for protecting PHI.
Structured has a full complement of compliance services for the healthcare industry, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, control validation, and regulatory gap analysis/compliance audits.
Consider working with us to meet regulatory requirements for:
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Requires the application of three rules concerning the handling of protected healthcare information (PHI) to a healthcare covered entity; privacy, security, and breach notification. Business associates of a covered entity are required to be covered by agreements, specifying their responsibilities with PHI.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
Sets requirements for any organizations “that store, process or transmit cardholder data.”
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
Regulates any entity that handles the sensitive information of California residents in the execution of business and marketing. Security requirements are included and substantial breach fines apply to loss of data control.
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Bridge the Gap
Experience, People, Processes and Technologies since 1992
Discover what’s possible. The digital age is creating enormous opportunities for organizations to innovate, automate, and grow — and technology is the springboard. Embrace the digital age and transform your business with Structured.