Healthcare organizations are stepping up their cybersecurity programs in the wake a growing number of malware and ransomware attacks that have frozen network systems and forced hospitals to suspend routine services. In May, the massive WannaCry attack was detected in more than 104 countries and shut down most services at 40 hospitals in the United Kingdom. A different virus, a strain of Peyta, spread across Europe and hit U.S. targets in June, among them Nuance Communications and drugmaker Merck. In August, cybersecurity experts identified a new ransomware virus called Defray, which specifically targets healthcare organizations. The strain spreads via a Microsoft Word attachment in emails sent to potential victims. According to the Ponemon Institute, data breaches have cost the industry about $6.2 billion. The average cost to a provider of a data breach is about $2.2 million and $1 million for a business associate. Nearly half of organizations surveyed said they’d been hacked … [Read more...] about 6 cyberthreat hunting best practices
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Dive Brief: A new analysis of 645 U.S. hospitals found a 20% drop in blood utilization across 134 diagnoses that account for 80% of red blood cell use, according to Premier Inc., which conducted the study. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company looked at inpatient data on more than 27 million discharges from 2011 through June 2016 and saw a direct link between reduced blood use and provider initiatives to improve blood use stewardship. Blood transfusions can run about $1,000 per unit when direct and indirect costs are accounted for. They also raise the risks of adverse events such as allergic reactions, fever, immune suppression and iron overload. Dive Insight: By evaluating and improving blood transfusion practices, hospitals can not only see substantial cost savings, but also reduce hospital-acquired infections. More than 14 million units of blood were used in the U.S. in 2013, or for one in 10 hospitalizations, according to Premier. An previous analysis from 2012 identified … [Read more...] about Blood use best practices can save hospitals millions
Dive Brief: The College of Healthcare Information Executives (CHIME) has announced its Cybersecurity Center and Program Office that will work to develop best practices via more collaboration between industry and federal agencies. CHIME and the Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS) will serve as advisors to the new center, which aims to help healthcare organizations effectively address cybersecurity. Marc Probst, CHIME Board Chair, recently testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, emphasizing the importance of coordination between industry and federal programs as key to beefing up networks' security. David Finn, a CHIME board member, and Symantec Corporation's health IT officer said in a statement that sharing cyber data is crucial to the industry so that it can be "useful intelligence." KPMG's 2015 Cyber Healthcare Survey found close to 80% of healthcare executives said their data … [Read more...] about CHIME launches new Cybersecurity Center to develop best practices
Dive Brief: The Healthcare Financial Management Association, working with the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and other industry professionals, has released a new set of best practices for medical debt collection. These best practices are designed to improve communication between patients and providers, as well as standardizing and better coordinating all business practices related to medical account resolution. For example, the best practices call for developing consistent, coordinated policies for account resolution, so that collection agencies and others follow all of the provider's board-approved policies. Dive Industry: In an era when patients are being asked to bear an increasingly large share of their medical bills, and providers are under extreme financial pressure, it makes sense to streamline and coordinate collection practices. You don't have to be a collections expert to see that better communication and clearer expectations can smooth the … [Read more...] about HFMA, collectors come together to create collection best practices
by: Lynn J. Cheramie III, Founder, Freedom Fighters of America There are a lot of experts out there when it comes to telling you how to do your job or compete in your industry the best way. A common phrase today is “Best Practice” and it’s total bull. Best Practice to a consultant means that they will bring in all of their own vendors and do it their way. This is not an industry Best Practice but an individuals opinion. If you make widgets and you use the same practice as everyone else, what makes your widgets stand out? What makes your widget better? Absolutely nothing. So in reality there is no “Best Practice”. Profitability is delivering your product or service with the most consistency, trust, fun, efficiency and loyalty possible to generate the highest yield for you and your company. Some of these don’t look important but please give me a few minutes to explain how they relate: 1. … [Read more...] about Best Practices? NOT!