Cavirin,cloud computing

Moving healthcare to the cloud: Managing security risks

Part 4 of 5 of “Moving Healthcare to the Cloud”

Written by: Anupam Sahai, Vice President, Product Management, Cavirin

In the last blog of our Moving Healthcare to the Cloud series, we discussed the key considerations for healthcare organizations that are defining a cloud migration project. In this blog, we examine the technologies to apply in order to assess, manage and reduce the risk of security attacks.

While the cloud is proving to be less risky, more secure and more innovative than traditional on-premises IT, it is still not foolproof nor without risk. Healthcare organizations need to take every precaution in the cloud to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

In many cases, data must be properly encrypted, with keys stored separately from where the data is stored in order to maintain confidentiality. The number of admins who have access to the keys to decrypt the data should also be limited and all access should be logged and verified. Data integrity can be ensured only if admins and users who have appropriate levels of authorization can modify, manipulate, or delete the data.

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Cavirin,cloud computing

Moving Healthcare to the Cloud: Defining the Project—The Who, What and Where

Anupam Sahai, Vice President, Product Management, Cavirin

Part 3 of 5 of “Moving Healthcare to the Cloud”

Written by: Anupam Sahai, Vice President, Product Management, Cavirin

In the last blog of our “Moving Healthcare to the Cloud” series, we discussed why it makes sense for healthcare organizations to move their IT infrastructures to the cloud. In this blog, we examine the process for defining cloud migration projects.

Although every step in the overall cloud migration process is critical, just how well you define the project at the start could very well set the stage to streamline success—or cause a lot of pain along the way.

At a high level, you first need to decide exactly what to move to the cloud:

  • Which business functions? This covers the entire spectrum of the healthcare organization—from patient medical services to billing, procurement, insurance claims, compliance, human resources, marketing, communications and physical security as well as the general operations of buildings and grounds. Business processes to which end users require anytime, anywhere access from multiple devices—as well as those processes through which end users collaborate frequently—will likely benefit the most from moving to a cloud environment.

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Amazon Web Services,ClearDATA,cloud comp,cybersec,data warehouses,Platform-as-a-Service

Clearing up the ambiguity of the cloud

Matt Ferrari, CTO ClearDATA headshot

Matt Ferrari, Chief Technology Officer, ClearDATA

In the 1990s and 2000s, the options for hosting data on the Internet were archaic, suffering from availability outages, performance issues and the inability to scale. In addition to these technical issues, most healthcare CIOs at that time demanded the ability to “touch and feel” their data. The notion of moving to the cloud was not one that brought a great deal of peace of mind.

In time, non-mission critical workloads such as e-commerce slowly transitioned to cloud computing environments. As the IT began to mature and evolve, and due to the large capital expenditures required to facilitate important tasks such as de-identifying patient data, many healthcare administrators began to welcome Amazon Web Services with its massive public cloud. When cloud service providers started providing PCI security assessments and HITRUST capabilities, highly regulated workloads were relocated to the cloud as well. During this period of transformation, the cloud pushed our industry to find a stronger focus on IT performance, availability and security, and that is where we continue to trend today.

To learn more about the current, and future, states of utilizing the cloud in healthcare, I contacted Matt Ferrari, Chief Technology Officer, ClearDATA.

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

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cloud,Cloudification,HIPAA Omnibus Rule,managed security service provider,Proficio

The cloudification of healthcare: Benefits and risks

Ken Adamson, Vice President, Proficio

Written by: Ken Adamson

Many organizations are moving most of their business-critical applications and workloads to the cloud. The healthcare industry is no exception – hospitals, payers and other organizations also are making moves to the cloud.

While they’re working hard to improve their security measures and making great strides to better protect their data, security challenges continue to evolve.

Healthcare, everywhere

As the organizational structure of healthcare facilities continues to advance, cloud adoption brings numerous benefits for these institutions. Not long ago, patient files were all on paper – placed into a folder that never left the physician’s office. But with the consolidation and reorganization of many healthcare organizations, this approach has become outdated and replaced by electronic records.

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blockchain,cloud,cybersecurity,HIMSS,HIPAA,IOT,Revation Systems

HIMSS 2017: Security, cloud and the future of healthcare

Perry Price, President, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Revation Systems

Written by: Perry Price

With 45,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors assembled at the country’s leading healthcare conference, HIMSS 2017 bustled with the latest and greatest in health IT innovations. While sifting through the hum of thousands of conversations could be challenging, the discussions spurred from so many key influencers coming together to discuss their visions for the future was enlightening. After three days of mingling with some of the brightest minds in healthcare and IT, attendees came away with two major themes emerging above the noise: security and the cloud.

As Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO of IBM, reflected in her keynote, the U.S. finds itself on the precipice of transformation and change in 2017 as the country transitions into a new White House administration. This transformation, paired with advances in health IT, are resulting in a year of tremendous possibility and opportunity for accelerating the quality of care — particularly within the scope of security and cloud technologies for healthcare.

IoT cybersecurity: Friend or foe?

Although recent advancements in technology have increased the work efficiency for medical professionals and, consequently, improved care for patients, there is a fear that private health information (PHI) security may be compromised. This new technology coming into play weighs heavily on the minds of many in the industry. With an increasingly interconnected world, the topic of cybersecurity in healthcare has, perhaps, never buzzed quite as loudly as it did at HIMSS 2017.

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21st Century Cures Act,Ambra Health,Cancer Moonshot Initiative,cloud computing,interoperability,patient access

Interoperability and patient access just became law

Morris Panner, Chief Executive Officer, Ambra Health

When President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 34) into law in December, the world of healthcare IT was turned on its ear. Interoperability and access – two concepts that have eluded old-school healthcare IT vendors – became enshrined as the cornerstone of the newest and most comprehensive healthcare innovation legislation to date.

In addition, although the Act didn’t intend to push healthcare IT into the cloud age, it may very well have, as the required access and sharing will be exceedingly difficult to accomplish without an agile cloud-based system. Like the financial services industry and others before it, the cloud may become a key driver of how information can be easily shared and consumers can be empowered.

Some leading edge vendors and institutions were already making waves by breaking down data barriers both within and across facilities that have previously impeded the creation of a holistic patient health record. The holistic patient health record not only reduces risks of medical errors and dangers such as radiology overexposure, but it can also provides a goldmine for medical research across shared and readily accessible data.

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cloud computing,encryption,payment card information,PCI,personally identifiable information,PHI,PII,private health information,Revation Systems

Security in the cloud: Why it’s different and why defining encryption matters

Perry Price, President, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Revation Systems

Easy. Accessible. And always on. These attributes describe a large part of the appeal of the immediate information-sharing made possible by cloud-based digital communications solutions of the 21st century. Ubiquitous in the retail sector, these cloud-based solutions – initially shunned by highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare – are now being embraced by those very industries as they seek to provide customers with the simple, affordable and convenient solutions they have come to expect – and now demand – in other areas of their lives.

But today’s always-immediately-accessible digital information has also given rise to the flip side of the coin: if information is readily available anytime, anywhere, how do organizations ensure that that same information is not readily available to anyone?

Hardly a day goes by without a report of a data or security breach. And it’s no wonder that the same organizations – and customers – who benefit from easy access to cloud-based digital information also worry about whether the personal information that is shared will remain secure.

With new cloud-based digital solutions popping up all over the place, many healthcare organizations are looking to the cloud to ensure a higher level of security. But does the cloud guarantee that? How is securing information that is stored in the cloud different from securing more traditionally housed information? And how do organizations ensure they choose a vendor solution that provides the highest cloud-based security standards possible?

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Annual Notice of Change,ANOC,Centers for Medicare & Medicaid,CMS,EOC,Evidence of Coverage,MAO,Medicare Advantage,Medicare Advantage Organization,Medicare marketing materials,Prinova,SaaS,software-as-a-service

Automating the preparation of CMS-compliant Medicare marketing materials


Nick Romano, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Prinova

The Medicare Advantage program has proven to be a very popular choice for qualified Medicare participants over the past decade and this trend is very likely to continue. More than 17 million, or 31 percent, of the rapidly growing group of Medicare recipients have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans offered by private payers. Competition is increasing among payers as they position to expand into new markets to capture a larger share of this growing population and the associated program funding. As a result, an individual participant has more plans to choose from than in previous years, which has transformed open enrollment into a highly competitive feeding frenzy among payers. 

Entering new markets and attracting new participants requires the Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) to issue accurate and compliant marketing materials to participants in the service areas where they sell their plans.  Doing so in a timely manner presents challenges for those who are reliant on highly manual material preparation processes. The pressure to prepare updated materials between bid submission, desk review, benchmarks, and print production is exacerbated by manual preparation techniques. As a result, ensuring compliance with the federally mandated requirements for plan communications such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) can be an arduous, time-consuming and costly process without the necessary content automation technology.

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cloud computing,Engage,INHS,Inland Northwest Health Services,Meditech,NetApp AltaVault,PBBAs,purpose built backup appliances

Why hospitals should consider off-site backup to cloud services


Sean Harnett, Assistant Director of Network Services, INHS/Engage

With each day that passes, hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and protect burgeoning amounts of patient data. Sophisticated healthcare applications, data-intensive technologies, new IoT sensors, increased use of medical imaging, and mobile devices are generating more patient data that ever before. This, combined with stringent regulations mandating secure, long-term records retention and limited budgets makes it harder than ever for mid-sized hospitals to manage and contain cost, which unfortunately is often reflected in quality of patient care.

Faced with ever increasing amounts of data, hospitals that have traditionally relied on traditional tape-based backup now find themselves watching time and cost associate with the creation, management, transportation and storage skyrocket. Many IT decision-makers find themselves considering purpose built backup appliances (PBBAs) but quickly find this means purchasing expensive, redundant boxes with limited scalability outside of sizing up to the next appliance. Software ties across hardware lines also means that vendor lock-in limits future choice, a difficult consideration for forward-thinking IT managers who understand the value inherent in the freedom of choice.

These industry challenges, as well as increased layers of complexity and expense are forcing hospital administrators to literally think outside of the box.  Just as a pearl is created by pressure, a new generation of hospitals is emerging as a result of increased pressure to skillfully move, manage and protect data. These new hospitals will gracefully navigate through their ever growing data lakes, analyzing trends in patient outcomes, offering single patient records that can be updated in real time and increasing collaboration with the larger medical community.

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cloud computing,Infrastructure and operations,Insight Enterprises,Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The state of the cloud in healthcare

Jessica Hall - Headshot

Jessica Hall, a writer for Insight Enterprises

In comparison to other industries, companies in the healthcare sector often underutilize cloud technology, which can make them more nimble, secure and cost-effective. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals will agree that cloud computing not only transforms and modernizes a company’s approach, but it’s also the perfect solution to three common problems in the industry.

The reliance on paper records is burdensome.

While many healthcare organizations continue to rely on physical copies of medical records, digital copies hosted in the cloud can solve the myriad problems that the traditional model presents. One of the biggest problems related to the reliance on paper is that information is susceptible to destruction. If a fire devastates your building or a paper record is lost, they can’t be recovered easily.

In the cloud, your data will typically go through multiple back-ups on a number of servers, allowing you to retrieve information effortlessly. Additionally, you’re safeguarded against service disruption if you select a provider who distributes your digital assets among numerous data centers, ensuring events that impact one part of the globe won’t affect your company.

Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery uses cloud-based tools to document critical information related to patient procedures. With drop-down menus instead of a pen and paper, they’re able to record information faster, leading to a better and less time-consuming patient evaluation.

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