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Cybersecurity and Interoperability are Dominant Themes at HIMSS 2019

Cybersecurity and Interoperability are Dominant Themes at HIMSS 2019Another HIMSS show is in the books and the impact this year was tremendous, especially in terms of discussions and announcements. Presentation topics varied from artificial intelligence to supply chain management to telemedicine and beyond, but interoperability and cybersecurity were either main themes or cropped up in discussions throughout the event. Here are some highlights from the conference:

Proposed Regulations Will Speed up Interoperability Initiatives

Both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced new proposed rules. CMS’s new rule proposal,“… outlines opportunities to make patient data more useful and transferable through open, secure, standardized, and machine-readable formats while reducing restrictive burdens on healthcare providers …” Similarly, the ONC’s proposal states that, “The implementation of these provisions would advance interoperability and support the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information.” Both call for the implementation of APIs from Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FIHR), a standard for healthcare data exchange.

Interoperability is a high priority for these organizations because it promises to deliver:

  • More control and access to data for patients
  • Reduced information blocking and more competition in the marketplace
  • Better, faster and more efficient coordination of care among internal and external care teams
  • More data available to take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) applications

By leveraging interoperability, tech companies that are not traditionally in the tech space such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Uber and Lyft, among others who exhibited at HIMSS 2019, can invest and innovate in healthcare, truly revolutionizing the industry. And to my last bullet point on the benefits of interoperability, these companies can contribute a sea of data that would make AI more effective in healthcare and help better predict illnesses and conditions. We’re encouraged by healthcare industry initiatives from companies such as Slack, as described in our recent blog article.

At OnPage we’re proud to have the industry’s easiest integration framework. Our API platform for healthcare is available to developers, and our own team works with customers to develop out-of-the-box integrations with leading systems. With our expertise and secure communications features, we ensure that our integrations adhere to security and HIPAA-compliant standards.

More Should Be Done to Combat Cybersecurity

Another of the HIMSS 2019 themes was cybersecurity. The topic not only came up during sessions, but also in presentations in the exhibit hall as well as new research. According to DrFirst’s research, the number of breaches involving personally identifiable information (PII) records rose significantly (126 percent increase) from 2017 to 2018. Specifically, 197,612,748 personal records were exposed in 2017 compared to 446,515,334 in 2018. The most common method (59 percent) to initiate data breaches was through phishing emails according to a 2019 HIMSS study on cybersecurity. Yet, 36 percent of non-acute care organizations say they are not conducting basic phishing tests with their staff. The HIMSS study also showed that 58 percent of organizations had either maintained their budget allocation level the same for cybersecurity (34.4 percent), decreased it (two percent) or increased it by less than ten percent (20 percent). With the growing sophistication of bad actors, cybersecurity needs to be a higher priority for healthcare organizations.

The OnPage team helps organizations deter attacks by delivering more secure solutions than traditional pagers and by working with IT professionals to ensure that they are alerted as quickly as possible in the event of an attack so they can minimize damage from breaches and increase uptime in their organizations.

In Summary
The end goal for these initiatives and important areas of innovation is a more patient-centric approach to healthcare. We applaud HIMSS for gathering the healthcare IT community every year to share insights and help us all change lives for the better every day.

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