Cyberattack may have exposed 134K patient records at N.Y. medical center | Medical facilities face cyberattack risks when best practices are ignored | Health IT experts share ideas for preparing for natural disasters
March 14, 2018
News for professionals interested in health care information technology
Officials at New York-based St. Peter's Surgery and Endoscopy Center reported that a malware attack on Jan. 8 may have exposed the records of 134,512 patients, who were notified of the incident on Feb. 28. The affected server contained patient names, diagnoses, insurance information, service dates, addresses and dates of birth, plus Medicare data and Social Security numbers for some patients.
Last year, the number of security incidents in hospitals increased 211% from the previous year, due in part to medical facilities' failure to comply with suggestions to reduce their software vulnerabilities, according to the McAfee Labs Threats Report for March 2018. Common problems include failing to apply security patches and using hardcoded passwords, the report says.
Jose Abrams Guzman, CIO and chief technology officer at Servicios de Salud Episcopales in Puerto Rico, said at the HIMSS18 conference that Hurricane Maria prompted his organization to be ready for complete isolation and possible total power and communications loss, and he said a regional patient data repository should be considered in the future. University of Texas Health Science Center professor Jim Langabeer is studying disaster preparations such as communitywide data coordination plans, improved patient-level analytics and regional health information exchange.
Men in the health IT sector make more than $123,000 annually on average, while women make 82% of that at slightly more than $100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Minorities make 12% less than white employees do, and minority women make almost $26,000 less than white men do, according to a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
A total of 48 deployment waves and an initial operating capability deployment will be launched by Cerner during the EHR implementation process at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will begin in the Pacific Northwest. The last VA care site is expected to go live in 2027, Cerner executives said.
A Spyglass Consulting Group survey found that extending EHR capabilities, customizing algorithms to hospital-based protocols, providing real-time access to data, and using data analytics to detect deteriorating conditions in patients are among the clinical surveillance technology tools hospitals and health systems are using to monitor high-risk patients. Hospital leaders cited the importance of these tools but reported being skeptical of technology vendors' claims related to predictive warnings and early detection for high-risk patients.
Accenture polled 7,905 US adults and found that the use of wearables increased from 9% in 2014 to 33% this year, and the use of health care apps rose from 16% in 2014 to 46% in 2018. Researchers also found a slight increase in telemedicine use, from 21% last year to 25% this year, with 73% of respondents saying they would use the technology for after-hours care and 28% saying they would use it for their annual physical.
A study in Pediatrics showed that a pediatric appendicitis risk calculator accurately identified nearly 50% of children who had less than 15% or greater than 85% risk for appendicitis, compared with 23% correctly identified using the Pediatric Appendicitis Score. The risk calculator, developed by researchers at Children's Minnesota and HealthPartners Institute, may provide targeted and standardized patient care and reduce unnecessary medical testing and costs, said Anupam Kharbanda of Children's Minnesota.