The medical industry is extremely complex. To be successful, healthcare providers must navigate confusing insurance channels, adhere to strict regulations, and most importantly, ensure patient well-being. It is also critical for healthcare providers to have the technology, security, and procedures in place to ensure their doctors, nurses, and administrative staff can provide the highest level of care at all times. If any one of these areas isn’t up to par, it could be catastrophic for the provider, its patients, and their families.
In May 2018, a California-based network of hospitals experienced a 24-hour technology outage caused by the activation of a fire suppression system in one of their data centers. As a result, hospital staff had no access to their information systems, phones, and electronic health records. This outage required nurses and doctors to care for patients without any access to their information, including patient history, medications, treatment options, and other essential information required to provide safe and effective care.
Fortunately, this provider had the necessary continuity procedures in place to ensure new patient data was recorded (they tracked all data on paper during the outage) and resolved the issue as quickly as possible.
Have you evaluated your IT infrastructure, security measures, and emergency response policies recently?
Here are three steps you can take to gain insight into your environment and the essential technology functions that keep your organization running:
Conduct an IT Assessment – An IT assessment is a great way to get a snapshot of your current environment. This assessment compares your technology and policies against industry best practices and provides you with a roadmap to help close any gaps. It also allows you to identify areas that may not meet the requirements defined by strict compliance regulations.
Hire a Strategic Consultant – An outside strategic consultant first works with you to understand your people, IT pain points, and budget. Based on their knowledge of both your industry and specific organization, they can provide you with concise action items to best align technology and processes to meet your needs.
Analyze Your Security Posture – Although outages can cause significant downtime, security breaches can be far more expensive because it ultimately affects your reputation, which can be far more difficult to restore. Conduct a security assessment in your environment to uncover any hidden gaps that a cyber attacker could exploit to gain access to extremely sensitive patient information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or medical history.
Outages, security events, and outdated technologies can all cause significant problems for healthcare providers. By taking simple steps and investing in your technology, you ultimately invest in your mission to provide the best patient care. If your organization could benefit from an in-depth analysis of its technology, security, and all their associated functions, contact us today to see how we can help.