Taking care of your patient data makes you WannaCry?

maxrvu-6-e1496164209435.pngAs we go through the most intense technological revolution of all times, data protection has become essential in the healthcare industry and requires stronger governance strategies.

At the same time, cyber threats to data can compromise security and privacy. Hospitals and doctors are so busy trying to save lives that too often they don’t follow up with the latest updates and protection for their software and data is always at risk.

Also, as stated in The Economist by Bruce Schneier, a noted independent security expert, “people seem to have a fundamental disregard for security. They frequently prefer to risk the long-term costs of ignoring it rather than pay actual cash for it in the present.”

We recently witnessed the WannaCry cyber-attack that paralyzed high-profile entities all over the world, encrypting their data to ask for ransom money. Hospitals become a prime target of these cyber-criminals because they would pay up quickly and quietly [1]. Hospitals should invest more in resources trained to avoid, manage and control cyber-attacks. Obviously, this takes time, money and a lot of work.

In the meantime, adopting a secure parallel platform independent from the hospital on-premise system may come handy in such cases. A system that can provide complementing services to hospital EHR or Practice Management system may be extremely useful when locked out due to such attacks.

Such a platform can provide a short-term and effective solution to prevent losing data and paralyzing activities during cyber-attacks: Think of it like a safe where you can keep copies of your data that you can access it at any time and from many locations. If the hospital were to go through a cyber-attack, you would still have some level of data access and can continue operations while the problem is being fixed. This would ensure business continuity, communication, and collaboration at all times.

A charge capture solution like maxRVU can be very helpful in such cases. With your current census of patients, cases or consults, and secure communication, you will still be in touch with your daily work.

[1] WannaCry should make people trate cyber-crime seriuously, The Economist, May 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21722158-it-has-been-neglected-too-long-wannacry-should-make-people-treat-cyber-crime