Signs that a health care organization may not have a good relationship with its health IT vendor include the vendor offering expensive upgrades that look like a new system, failing to provide current technology upgrades and interacting with the organization only through sales representatives, writes Dr. Dick Taylor, executive vice president and chief medical officer of MedSys Group. Vendor neglect may also be a concern if the vendor has few engineers and customers, and if it is focusing more on profits than on providing day-to-day solutions, Taylor writes.
Ed Marx comments on managing your vendor relationships
Ed Marx, NYC HHC IT leadership team (Submitted photo)
Dr. Dick Taylor does an excellent job outlining six warning signs that you may have a vendor issue. His thoughts highlight the need for prudent organizations to have proactive vendor management strategies to ensure you maximize relationships and achieve expected investment benefits.
One method is to divide your vendors into manageable categories that make sense for your organization. I have used dividers such as "strategic," "tactical" and "emerging partners," while the bulk of them fell into the "generic vendor" bucket. Each had different levels of engagement and expectations. For instance, strategic partners were limited to five, and the hallmark was CEO-level sponsorships. As CIO, I owned the relationships. Tactical partnerships were limited to the top 20%, and these relationships were owned by my direct reports. In both of these partnerships, annual goals were established, and we had annual evaluations to ensure accountability and transparency.
The specifics of your program may vary, but if you don't have a program, you will not see the kinds of returns you are expecting. In fact, you will likely have many vendors who exhibit the characteristics highlighted in Dr. Taylor's article.
Health system CIOs looking to implement real-time health care solutions should consider installing systems that can track patients through the hospital, add new monitoring devices continuously and send real-time patient monitoring to mobile devices and centralized dashboards, writes Bernoulli CEO Janet Dillione. However, medical device integration, identifying clinically relevant trends from precision alarms, obtaining real-time analytics from bedside devices and minimizing disruption during integration of new platforms present challenges, Dillione writes.
Data breach incidents increased by 22% across all industries, from 269 in 2015 to 328 in 2016, with health care experiencing the second-highest number of incidents in the services industry group, according to Symantec's 2017 Internet Security Threat Report. Researchers also found that 54% of emails in the health care sector contained spam, and 1 in 4,375 emails was a phishing attempt.
Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report showed a 50% increase in ransomware incidents across all industries in 84 countries, with 68% of the threats in health care coming from internal sources. "Insider misuse is a major issue for the health care industry; in fact it is the only industry where employees are the predominant threat actors in breaches," Verizon said in the report.
Sixty-nine percent of providers using EHR-based sepsis detection reported improved outcomes, including reduced mortality and lower treatment costs and readmissions, according to a KLAS report. Epic's and Cerner's systems were cited as the most commonly used sepsis solutions in interviews with 102 providers.
Performing a security risk assessment is the first step toward keeping patient data secure from hacking and cyberattacks, and certain federal programs require annual risk assessments, experts say. Encrypting data, controlling access and using two-factor authentication are among the best ways to ensure data security, experts note.
The CMS has launched a centralized repository containing public health agency and clinical data registry information to help eligible health care organizations and professionals meet stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Participation in the repository is voluntary for clinical data registries, specialized registries and public health agencies, the CMS said.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has reintroduced bills to expand telehealth services for veterans. "We should continue to find new ways to connect veterans with the providers that they need, no matter their physical location," said Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., a sponsor of the House bill.
Given the immense challenges facing the industry, CHIME's public policy team developed the CHIME Policy Playbook. This document not only outlines CHIME's policy priorities, but, importantly, details how members can engage with Congress and key federal agencies. CHIME's D.C. team -- Leslie Krigstein and Mari Savickis -- is ready to assist if you want to become more active in public policy and advocacy.
Given the speed of industry change, most firms are being forced to do more with less, with the expectation of lowering costs while delivering higher-quality IT services. Leverage the IT services and solutions offered exclusively to CHIME members through the CHIME Cooperative Member Services Program, provided by CHIME Technologies, to help your organization succeed. View the exclusive member-only offerings available to you.
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.