Security Concerns, Cloud Adoption Top of Mind for Health Care IT Pros

1 - Security Concerns, Cloud Adoption Top of Mind for Health Care IT Pros
2 - Health Care Moves to the Cloud
3 - Patching Together Solutions
4 - The Interoperability Challenge
5 - Disaster Recovery
6 - Put It in Writing
7 - A Shifting CIO Role
8 - A Little Help From New Friends
9 - The Internet of All Things Health Care
10 - Telemedicine
11 - Warming Up to Security Services
12 - Room for Improvement
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Security Concerns, Cloud Adoption Top of Mind for Health Care IT Pros

A new health care IT study revealed a transition to the cloud; IT as a revenue driver; and the need for compliance and cyber-security to go hand-in-hand.

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Health Care Moves to the Cloud

"Healthcare decision makers are slowly but surely becoming more open to the cloud," the report said. Most organizations have 80 percent of their production workloads in house, but they're shifting to the cloud. Applications for HR, payroll and electronic health records are among the earliest ones being transitioned over, and significant shifts are being planned for the next two years.

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Patching Together Solutions

There's a common practice, the study found, of using different electronic health records (EHR) companies for different purposes. Among those surveyed, 53 percent used two or more EHR providers. The leading providers used by those polled were Cerner (29 percent), Epic (27 percent) and AllScripts (22 percent).

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The Interoperability Challenge

When it comes to issues around EHRs, the study found a number of themes, including a need for technology to work simply and well for people, since adoption affects business objectives; a need for the different health care systems to be able to communicate; and the acknowledgement that integrating disparate systems is a considerable project.

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Disaster Recovery

"It's important to note that while compliance is not negotiable, it is also not equal to a healthy DR practice," the report reads. Your plan, it adds, "is only as strong as its weakest link, thus regular testing is critical." Among those surveyed, 56 percent said they tested their disaster recovery plan once a year, 25 percent tested it once a quarter, 8 percent never tested it and 6 percent had no idea.

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Put It in Writing

When asked whether they had a documented disaster recovery plan in place, 85 percent of study respondents didn't know, 12 percent said "yes" and 3 percent said "no."

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A Shifting CIO Role

It's hard for CIOs to "keep up with the demands of their own organizations," said the study. What used to be a day-to-day role is now a deeply strategic one, with a trio of goals: to lower costs, provide better quality of care and provide a better patient experience. When asked about their goals for 2016 and beyond, participants gave a number of responses, the most popular of which was upgrades, or refreshes, of interoperability software.

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A Little Help From New Friends

As health care IT becomes more complex, CIOs are creating additional roles and overseeing growing departments. Among those surveyed, 66 percent said they'd created new IT roles in the last 24 months. These included data and security analysts, application delivery engineers and security czars.

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The Internet of All Things Health Care

The Internet of things (IoT) is changing the patient experience, from smart thermometers and pacemakers to reducing the frequency of—or even need for—check-ups, said the report. These innovations, however, also introduce CIO challenges. Security and data privacy was the most cited (59 percent), followed by the ability to securely connect to a network (41 percent).

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A component of IoT is telemedicine, which offers a remote way for patients to check in with health care professionals. The Peak 10 study found that 46 percent of organizations had already implemented a telemedicine solution and reported higher patient satisfaction levels (46 percent) and a competitive advantage (42 percent).

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Warming Up to Security Services

While health care providers have traditionally hesitated to work with third parties, said the report, IT decision-makers are changing that. Among those surveyed, the most-purchased third-party services are antivirus software (89 percent), email and Web security (85 percent) and firewalls (81 percent).

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Room for Improvement

When asked to grade their internal security programs—with A being excellent and F being failing—the majority of respondents (54 percent) gave themselves a B; 32 percent a C, and 1 percent a failing grade. "IT departments strive to cover as much ground as possible, but keeping up with security as a whole often results in the need to drop all IT pursuits and respond to an alarm," said the report.

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