IT Healthcare Experts Are Managing Complex Issues: Integrating Data-Driven Tools, Protecting and Safeguarding Healthcare Networks

The healthcare industry continues to be the target for cyber criminals, online hackers and insider attackers due to the sensitive and personal information on patients. The healthcare organization has many decentralized systems within the facility that are not patched regularly and for this reason become a prime target for online criminals.

The hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare organizations are using embedded systems that can’t be patched successfully. If the IT department were to try to patch, it would interfere with the way the vendor supports their products.

Healthcare facilities are vulnerable and the health data is at high risk of online predators for pharming, ransomware attacks, Trojan malware and phishing on patient personal data, private business records and identity theft. The diverse technologies within the healthcare facility are at risk due to the sensitive nature; causing highly disruptive outcomes on healthcare operations that harms patients and creates costly data breaches.

Understanding Online Threats

Cyber attack stats

  • In 2016 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that $6.2 billion was lost by the U.S. Health Care System as a result of data breaches.
  • 4 out of 5 physicians in the United States have experienced some form of cyber attack.
  • The average cost of a data breach for a healthcare organization is now $2.2 million.
  • 86% of people say they have experienced a phishing scam

Ransomware attack stats

  • It was reported these ransomware attacks have increased from 19 in 2016 to 36 in 2017.
  • In 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack targeted thousands of computers around the world and spread its virus within networks globally.
  • In the United States there were 2,673 reported ransomware attacks
  • In 2017 ransomware attacks dropped to 1,783
  • There were 10 top major breaches in healthcare in 2017 and six were ransomware attacks affecting 500 patients.
  • In 2017, the average ransom demand was $522 High price for getting your information back

Ransomware is a type of malicious software from crypotovirology that locks and encrypts the victim’s computer data and then threatens the targeted victim by threatening to publish their personal data or continuously block access to the user’s information unless a ransom is paid. The outcome is extremely harmful and causes major damage and usually the cyber criminal demands ransom by a set time in order to restore access. Types of ransomware can appear in various ways from Crypto malware, Lockers, Scareware Doxware, and RaaS.

Pharming is an illegal method of web traffic redirected from another company’s website (such as banks) to a fake company designed to look similar. The purpose is to steal data and user’s information when the user tries to log into their system.

Phishing is an illegal method where they criminal using what appears to be a legitimate looking email (from a financial institution) in an attempt to steal personal information on the user in an attempt to steal user’s identity.

Trojan Malware is the greatest hacking threat to the healthcare sector. Hacker are using a subtler way to attack that are more devastating and painfully long lasting on intellectual property, personal data and healthcare networks.

  • Healthcare Cyber attacks Cost $1.4 million on average in recovery
  • Trojan attacks increased by 132% since 2017
  • In 2018 Trickbot plagued the healthcare sector
  • Life Bridge Health was the victim of a serious malware attack. During this attack, hackers gained access in September of 2016, though the healthcare company didn’t discover this breach until March of 2018 and 5000 patients were affected by the attack
  • 83% of the global malware detected in the world comes from Trojan-type malware

Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

Aptude is your own personal IT professional services firm. We provide our clients with first class resources in a continuous, cost-containment fashion.

Our support services will free up your senior IT staff from the overwhelming burden of day-to-day maintenance issues. Now they’ll have time to launch those new projects and applications you’ve been waiting for. Simply put, we can free up your resources and contain your costs. Let’s have a quick chat to discuss our exclusive services.


Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

Aptude is your own personal IT professional services firm. We provide our clients with first class resources in a continuous, cost-containment fashion.

Our support services will free up your senior IT staff from the overwhelming burden of day-to-day maintenance issues. Now they’ll have time to launch those new projects and applications you’ve been waiting for. Simply put, we can free up your resources and contain your costs. Let’s have a quick chat to discuss our exclusive services.


Healthcare providers/IT Internal Barriers and Engagement

First let’s begin to look at the Healthcare medical staff and IT professionals. They have one thing in common poor customer service and a disfavored self image of the professional within the medical facility from staff to patients and families alike. Many of these unfortunate issues are due to slow response times to inadequate help and overall poor care of the patient or staff member. Studies have confirmed people who feel they are not being heard and are pushed beyond their limit puts the business at risk for malicious outcomes from computers to networks.

Studies show that angry employees, poor management, and staff that are not treated respectfully causes sloppy work that spreads throughout the department resulting in policies and procedures that are not followed correctly. Long work days and continued pressure to manage more patients and more clinical work than normal creates a ripple effect throughout the medical team. Accidently downloads, sharing files or viewing patient’s personal data in a public setting puts everyone at risk for cyber attacks.

Users are the biggest problem from internal threats to not logging off the computer when user leaves for the day. IT needs to have an open communication dialogue where continued education and training is enforced and periodic checks with the user and asking if they have questions or concerns help bridge the gap. Users don’t use encrypted files, resulting in cyber attacks.

Improve Communication

  • Tailor a nonjudgmental atmosphere with sensitivity to cultural differences
  • Provide personalized communication, compassion and engage patients and medical staff
  • Keep an open-minded, friendly and careful listening attitude that is attentive, genuine and encourage conversations and build respect
  • Solicit questions that support understanding, education and create surveys to ensure your listening appropriately and correctly

From the doctor to nurses and the IT healthcare provider are under-valued and treated with disapproval and contempt by employees and patients by demanding help on daily basis and quickly resolving their own problem.

Issues are resolved but the patient, employee and family members all walk away with irritation and disgust.

The problem never really is resolved and the underlining issue of poor treatment continues throughout the healthcare section. A common problem is that the patient, employee, medical staff nor IT healthcare provider feels valued and appreciated; and that their voice is heard by their peers and healthcare facility.

Both patients and family members are altogether ignored paying no attention to their needs of repeated requests for assistance by the medical team such as nurses and doctors.

Nurses, healthcare staff and medical employees have the same issue and are ignored by IT the IT professional needs to move quickly and resolve customer issues as well as the medical team.

The rise in poor image continues to plaque both industries IT and Healthcare and with long work days while managing over their limit of patients, staff members and healthcare employees. The result is resentment and exhausted workers. Many do not take into account the damage that is being done on a daily basis through poorly responding to requests and low response rates.

IT professionals now have to deal with super-users and groups bypassing them altogether and the doctors, nurses and medical team deal with patients with the same issue of super-users that try to treat their own diseases or illness through a combination of buying drugs and homeopathic medicine online. Causing significant damage and correcting these issues within the healthcare community, hospitals and medical care facilities has been an overwhelming tough challenge.

Bigger issues that deeply damage and badly affect the IT Healthcare sector are listed below and remain the

Top threats for IT and the Healthcare Sector

  1. Rand Security Fallout, Data Breeches, Cyber Identity Threats: From cloud security, securing mobile devices in the enterprise to multilayered security across gateways, networks, servers, clients and applications.
  2. Resistance from healthcare executives: To install new big data analytic systems, data and reporting tools and the electronic health records (EHR)
  3. Dirty Data, Outdated Healthcare Infrastructure: And decentralized networks within the healthcare facility. Unsecure phones, devices and other systems are vulnerable.

Cyber-Security Tools: Hospitals and the healthcare sector are the most at risk and have struggled to protect their systems, networks and devices. The healthcare facilities need bigger budgets to tackle the problem in order to keep cyber-hackers and online criminals at bay.

Single sign-on is no longer enough and double sign on is now the norm. Users should not be allowed to download games, instant messenger and photo-sharing tools needs to be prohibited. The weakest link is the user and not being vigilant. Continued education and online training is top priority.

Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

Aptude is your own personal IT professional services firm. We provide our clients with first class resources in a continuous, cost-containment fashion.

Our support services will free up your senior IT staff from the overwhelming burden of day-to-day maintenance issues. Now they’ll have time to launch those new projects and applications you’ve been waiting for. Simply put, we can free up your resources and contain your costs. Let’s have a quick chat to discuss our exclusive services.


Integrating Data-Driven Tools

Big Data Analytics: In Healthcare security and data concerns seem to be the toughest challenge within the healthcare industry due to slow response rate from the healthcare team. Adding Big Data Analytics to their network systems is not completely being embraced by healthcare facilities. The medical staff is now asked to add another complicated system to their daily work — and to incorporate actionable insights quickly and responsively. Providers are still trying to understand electronic health records (EHR) as data diagnostic analysis; now have to use another complicated multifaceted data system.

From security to visualization applying big data analytics into clinical and operational healthcare processes comes with challenges and opposition among the healthcare medical staff. Pressure to cut cost, improve healthcare and quality patient care — big data analytics program gives doctors relevant critical information and resulting in more efficient care. Helps healthcare providers meet these goals and assists in altering medical approaches through clean, comprehensive data gathering, collecting, storing, reviewing, and archiving on value-based care.

A complex program allows the medical team to present accurate patient-recorded healthcare data to family members, patients, medical facilities and the healthcare staff in a more complete and dynamic way to help solve and predict problems before it occurs.

The sophisticated program keeps track of inventory, delivers superior reporting and empowers doctors to share medical information easily across demographics by breaking down silos across states — has real-time alerting allowing doctors to manage patient care more efficiently.

Implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR) System the benefits of implementing and optimizing an EHR system is instant accessibility of patients medical history, lab results, medical tests, track treatment plans, and more efficiently plan the course of patient care. Continue to optimize the system by continuing improving the process and policies is critical.

EHR improves communication and engagement between physician and patient. Streamline clinical workflows and boost usability, clinical efficiency, and optimize activities by redesigning EHR note templates to display less data to clinicians. This will help cut through online overload, clutter and information excess. Create EHR ambassadors and leaders to drive improvements and specialists that specialize in clinical workflows.

Institute a Best Practices Plan:

  • Develop a CyberRisk Mitigation Strategy
  • Continued Education and Employee training
  • Developing a data governance plan
  • Use security software that protect against mobile phone and devices
  • All systems need to be up to date regularly with security software
  • Operating system and other software – frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could found by cyber attackers
  • Don’t download games to your computer – including email attachments that enables macros in order to view the contents

Some big barriers that currently exist include:

  • Incompatible data systems across demographics, states, and different databases. Technical data sharing problems exist and being able to interface correctly across all systems is the biggest issue.
  • Patient confidentiality issues with different laws across different states that protect patient information and these issues would be difficult to navigate systems easily
  • Sharing patient data institutions, doctors and medical teams are not embracing or eager to share patient information with other medical institutions.

The Takeaway

Establish ongoing education and training about smart ways keeping users from online criminals and raise their awareness about the threats by sharing article, news feeds and encouraging open communication.

Adapting a security-minded organization culture with online training, meeting with users individually and routinely is critical to decreasing the likelihood of attacks. Enforce policies that safeguard networks, by never allowing users to transmit electronic health information across public networks without encryption.

Laptops containing electronic health information out of a secure area need to transmit and receive data through encrypting the files. Users should secure data with encrypted devices that are readily available. Connections between authorized mobile devices and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are always encrypted.

Adapt Healthcare IT tools that improve usability, communication within medical team and adding functionality systems that improve clinical efficiency, day-to-day operations by reducing the amount of information clinicians see and prominently display only the critical patient information will help reduce work process overload. Institute a backup plan and multiple security safeguard endpoints to recover targeted attacks aimed to destroy networks. Incorporate optimization and continue to improve your online security process and procedure with new methodologies, smart tactics and online safeguards.

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