5 Challenges with Healthcare IT

How Collaboration and Unified Communications Can Help

In PGi’s 2016 edition of The Future of Business Collaboration we get a preview of what is on the horizon in the era of the mobile workplace. Download the full eBook here.

The four trends that are addressed are: bring your own technology (BYOT), you may know it better as BYOD, artificial intelligence, the multi-device work culture and healthier workspaces. The common thread with theseThe_Future_of_Business_Collaboration-2016_Edition.jpg trends is they all give workers more freedom, choice and flexibility.

In some industries, employee-owned equipment, even just a smart-phone or tablet, can be the Trojan horse that breaches the network and costs a company millions. These issues have hit the healthcare industry particularly hard. As an industry labeled as “conservative” and “slow-to-adopt,” the healthcare network, from medical device and insurance carriers to physicians and hospitals, has been inundated with breaches and technology challenges. In an era where employees are always expected to be working, or thinking about work, there is little difference between personal and professional time. Companies care less about where and when work gets done and with this increased flexibility, workers have adopted the applications and technologies they need on their own devices.  According to PGi’s eBook, “This is both a benefit and a challenge for IT staff, who must balance the desire to enable today’s virtual employees (as well as take advantage of the savings that come from user-owned technology) with the need to secure and control the corporate network, applications and devices, while protecting the company’s intellectual property.”

As technology improves and collaboration becomes easier across devices, networks and geographies, challenges in the healthcare industry can be more easily managed. Until this happens and as users are upgrading their existing systems, there are some challenges to keep in mind when advising your customers.

 

1.jpg    Compliance

The healthcare industry is highly regulated with several governing bodies overseeing different regulations. Massive resources are required to support these regulatory requirements and as technology has advanced, some vendors have been required to take the onus of meeting HIPAA requirements. “In these cases, the vendors themselves are 100% responsible for data protection, disaster recovery planning, systems redundancy and all general security practices that are mandated by HIPAA,” says a recent TechTarget article.  Managed cloud services, SaaS and the unified communications platforms that integrate the two offer nice options for healthcare customers.

Here is a guide to healthcare compliance resources and agencies.

 

2.jpg    M&A

Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace in the healthcare industry and the consolidation of technology during company integration presents risk. A recent report revealed that it takes a company an average of 205 days to identify a threat to their network. With nearly half of companies only partially integrated with their breach-detection products, it is important to investigate the status of the network before marrying assets. With unified communications (UC), things like file sharing and video conferencing can be managed in the cloud and connected to existing on-premises solutions. Making it easier for previously disparate entities to securely access the same resources within a single architecture.

 

3.jpg   Remote Employees and BYOD

According to an article from Healthcare IT News, “the majority of threats to security are from external sources that prey on the bad habits of personnel.” Despite all the warnings you may offer your staff, phishing messages are still successful, even when they target personal email accounts. With the proliferation of BYOD and even employees installing personal email accounts on a company provided device (CYOD), security breaches are a risk. Fortunately, UC services offer integrated solutions that allow IT teams to manage the security of critical data and applications in the cloud, no matter the device type being used. Upon adoption of UCaaS, providers will work with the customer’s IT team to determine the appropriate authentication and authorization process for their unique technology portfolio.

 

4.jpg    Incorporation of New Technologies

New technologies are being adopted in patient-care facilities but are commonly experiencing a barrier of acceptance due to a lack of communication with technology users during the decision-making process. Organizations mandate use of some new technologies, but some fail to communicate how it can improve patient care or outcome, and have overwhelmed clinicians and physicians. Collaboration between IT decision-makers and technology users’ needs to be enhanced so technologies can be implemented in a way that makes sense in daily application. Many UCaaS Providers have systems in place to help decision makers at healthcare organizations manage technology rollouts across the enterprise and some have individuals that do it for you.

 

5.jpg   The Adoption of Telemedicine

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic shines light on physician burnout increasing by 10% over the past three years. Physicians are looking for ways to improve their work-life balance and 69% of physicians’ preferred video visits for accuracy in diagnosis to phone or email communication alternatives. Telemedicine helps increase patient access “which leads to increased productivity, morale and patient satisfaction” according to PGi’s eBook. As these collaboration tools are improving and meeting regulatory requirements, they can be more commonly adopted to effectively advance our quality of care.

Telemedicine_Infographic.jpg

 

Many of these problems effect industries beyond just the healthcare vertical. With continued advancements within UCaaS applications, connections and collaboration tools make it easier to respond to new purchase fears.  

For more information on UCaaS providers in the healthcare space, click here.

 

About the eBook Author
PGi is a global leader in cloud-based audio, web, and video conferencing solutions perfect for any meeting, presentation, or collaborative session. PGi’s unified collaboration platform empowers business users and teams to connect, share ideas and manage projects with the simplicity and everywhere-access of the latest cloud technologies. The company has a global presence in 25 countries, and its award-winning solutions provide a collaborative advantage to nearly 50,000 enterprise customers, including 75% of the Fortune 100™. For more information about PGi contact Brian Morse: brian.morse@pgi.com.

 

About the Author
As Marketing Manager at TBI, Rachel Bruce is responsible for TBI's digital campaigns and marketing systems. She develops strategic programs to cultivate leads, enhance agent and service provider relationships and enable sales. In addition, Rachel collaborates across multiple departments to provide valuable resources for TBI's agent partners and customers. You can contact Rachel at rbruce@tbicom.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.