Healthcare workers are being empowered by several key trends. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), also known as consumer IT, is widely believed to be the future of IT. Social media and social networking are also empowering healthcare workers with new ways to collaborate. These trends deliver powerful tools include personal smartphones and tablets with a myriad of powerful apps, several social media platforms and tools, file transfer services, personal email, USB sticks, and many others.


Read new whitepaper on health IT security, user experience and risk

While powerful tools, these alternatives also bring many privacy and security risks, and may not be in compliance with the privacy and security policy of the healthcare organization. If security safeguards deployed on healthcare systems, such as slow encryption or cumbersome 2-factor authentication, impede healthcare workers and their ability to deliver great patient care, then healthcare workers may be compelled to use one or more of these alternatives, which may in turn lead to non-compliance issues and additional risk. Securing healthcare systems with safeguards that are strong but also enable a great user experience is increasingly important going forward, as powerful but risky alternatives grow. Security must be performant, robust, usable and cost effective for end user acceptance, improved compliance and lower risk.

Intel provides hardware assisted security that improves security solutions by accelerating them, hardening them, making them more usable, and/or reducing cost. McAfee provides several security solutions for healthcare that are tightly vertically integrated with Intel hardware assisted security to provide strong security solutions with a  great user experience, enabling improved healthcare worker compliance and lower risk to the healthcare organization. These security solutions enable healthcare to safely embrace trends such as migration to EHRs (Electronic Health Records), HIE (Health Information Exchange), mHealth (Mobile Health), and Personalized Health and Personalized Medicine, benefitting from them while minimizing risk of security incidents such as breaches.

Read more in the whitepaper Healthcare Security: User Experience, Compliance and Risk about the importance of healthcare user experience with security, how it can impact compliance and risk, and innovative integrated solutions from McAfee and Intel that deliver strong security with a great user experience.

For more information about what you will learn when you read the whitepaper, and to hear some examples of health IT security workarounds to watch out for, take a look at the video below and listen to the podcast I did with Raj Samani, vice president and chief technology officer, EMEA, at McAfee.

What questions do you have?



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Meaningful Use was always meant to be a progressive process. The wise heads that designed the program had the good sense to realize that their lofty goals in shaping physician behavior around a piece of somewhat alien software (the EHR) would not be achieved in one fell swoop—even if you were willing to pay docs to offset some of the inevitable pain.


That’s why the program has three stages, spaced both by time and difficulty. Stage 1 (which we are currently in) has been the gateway drug, providing rich incentives to induce providers without an EHR to make the leap and to convince experienced EHR practices to structure their processes to comply with the regs.


The goal all along was get everyone on an EHR, with the sound reasoning that it is impossible to build a modern, evidenced-based, data driven, population oriented health care system on a foundation of paper charts.


It’s worked. Stage 1 has helped significantly drive EHR adoption, as droves of previously reluctant providers realized this would be last time the government was likely to richly pay them to do something they would eventually have to do anyway. And Stage 1 not only paid well, but it was fairly easy.


As should be expected, the preliminary Stage 2 requirements released early this year ups the ante a bit. While these requirements are not final (CMS is in the process of the reviewing public comments and is expected to finalize Stage 2 this summer) most wags agree that the final MU2 will be similar in spirit and scope to the published preliminaries.


How does it up the ante? There are two major ways:


•    Providers are required to do same things that they were doing in Stage 1 on more patients. Example: Stage 1 required that you recorded demographics, vital signs, and smoking status on 50 percent of your patients. Stage 2 requires you to record the same parameters on 80 percent of patients. The point is to make certain activities a habit (if you were doing something on 80 percent of your patients, is they any reason that you wouldn’t do it on 100 percent?).


•    Requirements that were optional are now required. Meaningful Use requirements are structured as core items (which are all mandatory) and menu items (you make choices from a list). This allows you to avoid some of the more challenging requirements. MU2 moves items were menu in MU1 to core. Example: Drug formulary checking (the process of determining whether a prescribed medication is on a patient’s health plan formulary) was optional in Stage 1; it is required in Stage 2. The intent is to force providers to branch out and use new capabilities within the EHR. A good portion of the proposed changes in MU2 involve this shift from optional to mandatory including fairly challenging new requirements for med reconciliation, transition of care, patient education and clinical reminders.


While it is probable that the final regulations will be tweaked in response to public comments, the overall direction and spirit of regulations is unlikely to be modified. The direction is pretty clear: the Feds want providers and practices to improve their EHR competence. If Stage 1 was the gateway drug, it was also the bike with training wheels. In Stage 2, it’s the same bike, but no training wheels.


What questions do you have?

Health IT gets a lot of attention within physical locations like hospitals and clinics. But what about healthcare technology that helps those on the front lines, away from brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities?


In the below video, an American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance crew in Portland, Ore., shows how computers have improved their ability to care for people in an emergency. Intel-powered devices are used throughout their shift, from the dispatch center to monitoring equipment to ruggedized laptops. They explain that their ability transfer patient information wirelessly to the hospital before the patient arrives can save precious minutes in life-or-death situations.


What questions do you have?


It is a lively time for healthcare practice management to say the least. Key clinical, administrative and financial workflows need to be updated in order to accommodate new standards such as ICD-10 for coding and HIPAA 5010 for electronic transmission of healthcare transactions. New care delivery models such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) require further changes to enable collaboration, or team-based care, across providers and agencies. This rapidly changing environment is putting a strain on Health-IT departments. How can IT enable clinical end-users to do their jobs efficiently, enable collaboration across organizations and comply with an ever growing set of standards and regulations?


New case study on cloud helping to solve the looming health IT crisis


Some healthcare organizations are turning to the cloud, specifically software-as-a-service (SaaS), to enable key components of the overall solution. Software companies with expertise in healthcare can build support for standards and regulations right into their applications, reducing the compliance burden required of a dedicated IT staff. Updates to SaaS applications generally are less intrusive to end-users as they are centrally hosted and managed. Furthermore, such applications can be accessed from a multitude of locations and client devices, providing the basis for the type of collaboration and information sharing that will be required as ACO’s and other collaborative care models become more commonplace.


However, one key obstacle preventing Health-IT departments from embracing cloud technologies more fully is the perception that the cloud is less secure than an in-house enterprise environment. Intel is working very closely with McAfee and other industry partners to ensure that cloud environments can be just as secure as their best-in-class enterprise IT counterparts.


This case study describes why South Florida Medicine selected CareCloud as its practice management platform and some of the key benefits that they have realized as a result. CareCloud’s infrastructure is hosted at Terremark and based on Intel’s latest and greatest Xeon platforms. Intel and Terremark have worked closely together on hardware-assisted security solutions to help ensure that organizations like South Florida Medicine can take advantage of the cloud in a safe and secure manner.


If you have any questions about Intel’s cloud activities or their application to healthcare solutions, please add to the discussion below. You can also follow me @CGoughPDX on Twitter.


What do you think?

ICD-10 and Meaningful Use continue to be two of the hottest topics in health IT. For more informatoin on these subjects, we caught up with Brenna Quinn, Sr. VP, Solutions Development, Health Services, at Siemens Healthcare. In the below video, she talks about ICD-10 and Meaningful Use and how these requirements weigh on the workflows of healthcare CIOs. Watch and also see the company’s new health IT solutions that fit in with healthcare reform.


What questions do you have?


Off-the-shelf consumer tablets are not always the right device in a healthcare environment. The most robust healthcare tablets are convenient, durable and able to be disinfected. In the below video, Motion Computing and one of its French customers explain why tablets need to fit into clinician’s workflows and patterns to be successful.


What do you think?


Intel spent a day recently with nurse practitioner Ginger Harris as she went on home visits with a new Intel-inspired Ultrabook. As our population grows older, technology plays a significant role in providing home-based care for people who have trouble getting to the doctor's office. Critical for "on-the-go" clinicians is a reliable computer that is lighter, faster, and "instant-on."


Watch the video to see what Intel-inspired Ultrabooks can bring to mobile health workers. What questions do you have?


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