® Balancing accessibility with compliance in the healthcare sector Healthcare networks have become extremely complex in recent years, with more devices than ever connecting to servers and accessing hospital resources. Numerous factors have helped to push hospitals into the digital age, including the proliferation of electronic health records and the increasing rate of adoption for advanced IT assets. While these technological achievements will drastically improve the performance and effectiveness of medical centers, they have created some up-front concerns for administrators and staff members. Securing sensitive patient information while still enabling physicians to easily and quickly access relevant medical documents has become a confounding balancing act for many healthcare organizations. High-quality network management solutions will be needed to address these concerns and usher in a new and better age of healthcare operations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 78 percent of office-based physicians used EHRs in some capacity in 2013. That growth has ramped up in recent years, with the number of physician offices using EHR systems increasing 21 percent from 2012 to 2013. These figures align with overall industry figures regarding the use of IT solutions in healthcare. The Department of Health & Human Services announced last year that the use of medical-based IT services had doubled among hospitals and physicians since 2012. The days of doctors consulting paper-based charts are quickly coming to an end. More facilities are switching over to digital record keeping in part due to government mandates and incentives such as those outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. Overall, EHRs enable physicians to easily access and share critical medical information at a moment’s notice. Challenges to maintaining a high level of performance www.untangle.com Furthermore, according to a 2013 survey published by Epocrates, 86 percent of clinicians used a smartphone. Furthermore, 47 percent were identified as “digital omnivores,” using a smartphone, tablet and computer all on a regular basis. Mobile usage without a proper framework could lead to more headaches for practitioners, including a heightened risk of cybercriminal activity. Data breaches at the hands of cybercriminals and other unauthorized users could result in the loss of sensitive patient information. Such cases have been heavily publicized in news outlets, creating a great deal of public outcry against victimized medical facilities. In addition to the ensuing PR nightmare, a massive data breach could also lead to ©2014 Untangle, Inc. All rights reserved. Untangle, Internet Content Control, and the Untangle logo are registered marks or trademarks of Untangle, Inc. All other company or product names are the property of their respective owners. ® an organization being investigated by the federal government for HIPAA violations, which carries its own set of financial penalties. HIPAA-related fines can be extremely detrimental to the operability of a healthcare organization. Enacted in 2009, the HITECH Act established a maximum fine of $1.5 million for medical facilities that have violated data security regulations. That is far from an empty threat, as there have been instances of businesses receiving the full brunt of possible federal penalties. In 2012, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates Inc. paid the maximum fine after reporting a significant data breach. Many healthcare facilities would not be able to weather such a setback, potentially forced to scale back on personnel, equipment or services in order to account for the loss of revenue. The HITECH Act does provide some financial benefits to members of the medical community, however. A major goal of the law is to encourage hospitals, physicians and over practitioners to utilize EHRs whenever possible. As such, healthcare facilities that follow the “meaningful use” guidelines may be eligible to receive incentive payments totaling in tens of thousands of dollars. hospitals and other medical facilities to oversee network activity and make changes as needed, leading to full regulatory compliance as well as optimized resource allocation. One of Untangle’s greatest features is the ability to monitor and manage data access controls to ensure that only fully authorized parties are able to get their hands on sensitive patient information. The granular level of oversight offered by Untangle enables physicians to freely retrieve medical records whenever they are needed to provide high-quality patient care without sacrificing the integrity or security of those documents. The network management solutions offered by Untangle can help healthcare organizations address their security issues, allaying any regulatory compliance concerns. The security features built into Untangle services allow users to block unwanted or unauthorized network access attempts, preventing malware and other online threats from breaking into sensitive medical databases. Not only will this greater level of security keep medical facilities in compliance with federal guidelines, but it will allow them to take a significant step toward meeting the requirements for receiving HITECH benefits. Security, compliance covered by Untangle To properly address these concerns, healthcare administrators should look to implement the vast array of network monitoring and management tools offered by Untangle. These solutions allow www.untangle.com ©2014 Untangle, Inc. All rights reserved. Untangle, Internet Content Control, and the Untangle logo are registered marks or trademarks of Untangle, Inc. All other company or product names are the property of their respective owners. ® In addition to the network management and security solutions provided by Untangle, the comprehensive service also features unparalleled customization tools. Healthcare operators can set up their solution to meet their unique requirements, including setting up specific access levels and policies for different users. Given the broad swath of diverse organizations that make up the medical community, it’s important that officials are able to customize their network settings to avoid unnecessary and potentially risky usage. ©2014 Untangle, Inc. All rights reserved. Untangle, Internet Content Control, and the Untangle logo are registered marks or trademarks of Untangle, Inc. All other company or product names are the property of their respective owners. Untangle, Inc. 100 W. San Fernando St., Suite 565 San Jose, CA 95113 References Untangle: A must-have solution for healthcare operators cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db143.htm hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/05/20130522a.html Healthcare IT needs are not about to slow down anytime soon, and the increased demand for connected solutions will continue to exacerbate security and compliance concerns. Untangle solutions enable medical facilities to take control of their network environments and manage traffic at both granular and broader levels. By taking advantage of Untangle’s security and user control features, hospital officials can effectively put compliance fears to rest. The combination of world-class network management and security makes Untangle a must-have solution for healthcare operations everywhere regardless of their size or scope. With Untangle in their corner, administrators can be certain that physicians have the resources they need to treat patients without putting sensitive documents at risk and running afoul of regulatory committees. www.untangle.com epocrates.com/oldsite/statistics/2013%20Epocrates%20 Mobile%20Trends%20Report_FINAL.pdf cdc.gov/ehrmeaningfuluse/introduction.html hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/09/20120917a.html hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/administrative/enforcementrule/ hitechenforcementifr.html ©2014 Untangle, Inc. All rights reserved. Untangle, Internet Content Control, and the Untangle logo are registered marks or trademarks of Untangle, Inc. All other company or product names are the property of their respective owners.