Telemedicine to help transform healthcare

In some parts of the world, physicians still make house calls, but this practice is becoming rare. Today, most patients either go to a clinic or hospital, make a quick trip to a pharmacy for instant relief, or stay at home and consult with caregivers via telemedicine. Telemedicine has become more popular, thanks to social distancing and shelter-in-place rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making telemedicine work

Key elements in making telemedicine work are video teleconferencing equipment, a fast and stable internet connection, and advanced telemedicine hardware and software. These elements are indispensable because telemedicine now requires highly visual interactions and access to pertinent medical information.

In particular, internet of medical things (IoMT) devices such as wearable heart rate monitors and sudden fall detectors help push the field of telemedicine further because of how these collect data and update caregivers in real time. When the vital signs of device wearers drop to critical levels, ambulatory services may be called upon automatically to check on patients and provide treatment quickly. Additionally, these machines create a compendium of health information that grant physicians a clearer picture of how their patients are doing come their next virtual consultation.

Healthcare businesses and individual medical practices with telemedical capability also need to comply with the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), and other healthcare legislation. Mostly, these regulations involve compliance with the handling and storage of personally identifiable patient information.

Benefits of telemedicine

  • Easy access – Telemedicine solves the basic problem of access to medical expertise. For example, if a patient in a far-flung town in Wyoming needs to see a cancer specialist in California, telemedicine can make that possible. In a less complicated medical situation, telemedicine solves the problems of mobility. Without having to go to the hospital for treatment, a patient can conveniently dial or log in to an online portal to consult a doctor.
  • Efficiency – One of the more problematic aspects of a doctor’s visit is the long wait. Often, wait times take much longer than the actual consultation. Patients with minor illnesses would rather self-medicate than visit a hospital and suffer a long queue. With telemedicine, a patient can wait in the comfort of their own home. Furthermore, IoMT devices constantly relay health information, often granting physicians more details than most on-the-spot queries and physical examinations.
  • Avoidance of contagion hotspots – At the height of the pandemic, visiting a hospital meant potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. And there wasn’t any assurance that hospitals could take patients in because COVID-19 cases were being prioritized. Therefore, telemedicine helped reduce the spread of the disease and relieved some pressure off of these institutions.
  • Better healthcare – Consulting your physician online doesn’t mean diminished quality of care — provided, of course, that all devices, telemedicine software, and other technical aspects work seamlessly. In some instances, remote medical care enhances the patient’s experience because they get to relax at home instead of going through the stress of commuting and rushing to make an appointment. Follow-ups, post-operation check-ups, and quick consultations can be done using a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone, thereby reducing the possibility of missing an appointment.
  • Lower healthcare costs – Beyond having to spend on one’s commute to the doctor’s, the actual cost of an in-person visit is much higher than the cost of a virtual one. For minor ailments like the common cold and the flu, a physical visit to the clinic might set you back as much as $100, whereas a virtual one would cost considerably less.

Telemedicine is not meant to take over conventional medical care, but rather supplement it. Patients can expect an expansion of this practice among many medical providers, while healthcare providers can expect rapid growth in telemedicine technology, especially as IoMT devices proliferate and healthcare compliance requirements evolve.

We stand at the forefront of technological innovations that will continue to define an industry as dynamic as healthcare. If you need industry-based knowledge, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Telemedicine to help transform healthcare

In some parts of the world, physicians still make house calls, but this practice is becoming rare. Today, most patients either go to a clinic or hospital, make a quick trip to a pharmacy for instant relief, or stay at home and consult with caregivers via telemedicine. Telemedicine has become more popular, thanks to social distancing and shelter-in-place rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making telemedicine work

Key elements in making telemedicine work are video teleconferencing equipment, a fast and stable internet connection, and advanced telemedicine hardware and software. These elements are indispensable because telemedicine now requires highly visual interactions and access to pertinent medical information.

In particular, internet of medical things (IoMT) devices such as wearable heart rate monitors and sudden fall detectors help push the field of telemedicine further because of how these collect data and update caregivers in real time. When the vital signs of device wearers drop to critical levels, ambulatory services may be called upon automatically to check on patients and provide treatment quickly. Additionally, these machines create a compendium of health information that grant physicians a clearer picture of how their patients are doing come their next virtual consultation.

Healthcare businesses and individual medical practices with telemedical capability also need to comply with the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), and other healthcare legislation. Mostly, these regulations involve compliance with the handling and storage of personally identifiable patient information.

Benefits of telemedicine

  • Easy access – Telemedicine solves the basic problem of access to medical expertise. For example, if a patient in a far-flung town in Wyoming needs to see a cancer specialist in California, telemedicine can make that possible. In a less complicated medical situation, telemedicine solves the problems of mobility. Without having to go to the hospital for treatment, a patient can conveniently dial or log in to an online portal to consult a doctor.
  • Efficiency – One of the more problematic aspects of a doctor’s visit is the long wait. Often, wait times take much longer than the actual consultation. Patients with minor illnesses would rather self-medicate than visit a hospital and suffer a long queue. With telemedicine, a patient can wait in the comfort of their own home. Furthermore, IoMT devices constantly relay health information, often granting physicians more details than most on-the-spot queries and physical examinations.
  • Avoidance of contagion hotspots – At the height of the pandemic, visiting a hospital meant potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. And there wasn’t any assurance that hospitals could take patients in because COVID-19 cases were being prioritized. Therefore, telemedicine helped reduce the spread of the disease and relieved some pressure off of these institutions.
  • Better healthcare – Consulting your physician online doesn’t mean diminished quality of care — provided, of course, that all devices, telemedicine software, and other technical aspects work seamlessly. In some instances, remote medical care enhances the patient’s experience because they get to relax at home instead of going through the stress of commuting and rushing to make an appointment. Follow-ups, post-operation check-ups, and quick consultations can be done using a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone, thereby reducing the possibility of missing an appointment.
  • Lower healthcare costs – Beyond having to spend on one’s commute to the doctor’s, the actual cost of an in-person visit is much higher than the cost of a virtual one. For minor ailments like the common cold and the flu, a physical visit to the clinic might set you back as much as $100, whereas a virtual one would cost considerably less.

Telemedicine is not meant to take over conventional medical care, but rather supplement it. Patients can expect an expansion of this practice among many medical providers, while healthcare providers can expect rapid growth in telemedicine technology, especially as IoMT devices proliferate and healthcare compliance requirements evolve.

We stand at the forefront of technological innovations that will continue to define an industry as dynamic as healthcare. If you need industry-based knowledge, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Why hospitals need managed IT services

Technology is the heartbeat of modern medicine, which is why hospital IT budgets continue to grow every year. Whether your practice is struggling with data security or operational efficiency, managed services providers (MSPs) are an excellent option for IT support.

Here’s why partnering with MSPs is beneficial for healthcare providers:

MSPs guarantee response times

When it comes to providing healthcare services, constant uptime and availability can be a matter of life and death. Your IT support team shouldn’t be any different. Most MSPs guarantee maximum response times and support lines that are open 24 hours a day.

If something breaks or you come across technical issues in the dead of night, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether an in-house technician takes too long to pick up the phone or can’t make it in.

MSPs help with business continuity plans

You risk putting your practice in jeopardy if your IT team can’t help you recover from an outage or natural disaster. A business continuity plan is an absolute necessity in your healthcare organization — you simply can’t afford to lose all your valuable medical data in the event of a disaster.

MSPs maintain HIPAA-compliant off-site backups and failover systems so you can prevent any sudden regulatory or customer retention issues.

MSPs provide proactive security

In the world of healthcare data security, complying with HIPAA mandates is essential. Failing to meet regulations may result in huge fines, serious penalties, and even the withdrawal of your license to operate.

MSPs offer security services that include identity-based security and encryption, authorized privileges and access control, and data accountability and integrity.

MSPs boost practice efficiency

Healthcare staffing is often a hassle. But thankfully, MSPs can help set up, secure, and support high-tech solutions that reduce your HR concerns. Practices can take advantage of automation, enterprise resource planning software, and database management to reduce human errors and increase operational efficiency.

If you want to learn more about how great technology and support can benefit your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today — we provide the perfect set of IT solutions and outstanding support to drive your organization forward.

This post was originally published on this site

Safeguard PHI with these tips

Because healthcare organizations handle protected health information (PHI), they are a prime target for hackers. Stolen PHI can be used to carry out a host of fraudulent activities, which is why businesses in healthcare must be extra vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. To prevent data breaches and keep PHI secure, follow these best practices.

Educate your staff

A comprehensive data security training program is necessary to combat ever-evolving threats to the healthcare industry. Training should be done regularly and cover all the different areas of data security, including the different data breach methods employed by hackers. For instance, your employees should be educated on how to spot phishing attacks, which are the number one cause of data breaches, according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Understanding how phishing works will help your employees recognize and avoid falling victim to such scams.

Enforce strict access policies

Implement access restriction policies to keep unauthorized users from getting their hands on PHI. This entails granting employees access to only the PHI they need to perform their tasks. For instance, accountants should not have access to data about patients’ health conditions. Similarly, physicians shouldn’t be able to see patients’ billing information.

Healthcare executives must also hold employees accountable for accessing PHI for no valid reason. Together with regular cybersecurity training, this will minimize the risk of data breaches resulting from insider threats.

Employ full-disk encryption

Full-disk encryption is an inexpensive and quick method to secure private information saved in computers and portable devices. It renders data indecipherable to users who don’t possess the matching decryption key. This means that even if one of your employees’ laptop or smartphone is lost or stolen, the thief won’t be able to access any encrypted PHI stored in it.

Build a resilient infrastructure

Malware is a blanket term for viruses, Trojans, and other harmful programs that cybercriminals use to damage systems and gain access to sensitive data. To ensure the security of PHI, your healthcare organization must build an IT infrastructure that is protected against malware of all kinds.

This involves setting up safeguards to keep malware and other threats at bay, such as advanced firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and email filtering software. You should also consider network segregation and segmentation to block hackers’ attempts to penetrate your networks and steal PHI data.

If malware does manage to infiltrate your network, stop it from spreading by deploying next-gen anti-malware software that can detect and quarantine any signs of a breach. If such systems fail, you’d also need a data backup and recovery plan so you can continue caring for your patients even during a major incident.

Implement physical security measures

Many healthcare organizations still rely on paper-based PHI and store these in file cabinets. Secure these valuable assets by installing physical security controls, such as surveillance cameras and card entry systems, in the areas of your facility where records are stored. You should also implement strict record log-out procedures, which will help ensure that only authorized personnel can access records that contain sensitive data and that these are returned promptly.

To learn more about how you can secure PHI and other digital assets, drop us a line today. Our team of professionals can provide you with the knowledge and assistance you need.

This post was originally published on this site