Posts By: Beth Osborne

Are Your Dental Records Secure?

dental records

Hacks and breaches are one of the biggest concerns regarding healthcare records. They are extremely attractive to threat actors since they contain PHI. While most of the headlines in healthcare IT news talk about hospitals and payors experiencing security incidents, dental records incur the same risk. They include the same data that can end up for sale on the dark web. 

The question for every practice to ask is, “Are my dental records secure?”

Cyber Attack Exposes Over One Million Dental Patient Records

In 2020, Dental Care Alliance, a dental support business with 320 affiliates, announced it was the victim of an attack. The breach lasted for almost a month before detection, compromising over one million records. It was the second-largest breach of 2020.

Such a hack isn’t uncommon or unexpected. Last year, the healthcare industry saw spikes in cyber-attacks, with the pandemic being a factor. 

The Complexities of Healthcare Cybersecurity and Risks

Cybersecurity in healthcare continues to be more complex as hackers become more sophisticated. However, the industry has some internal challenges to work out around data security and protection. Certain practices can increase risk, of which you may not be aware. Those include:

  • Keeping legacy systems running that are no longer supported.
  • Failing to update patches on software platforms in a timely manner.
  • Lack of employee training around cybersecurity.
  • Inability to create standard protocols around data sharing or interoperability. 
  • Not backing up patient files to ensure redundancy and business continuity. 

The Impact of a Cyber-Attack on a Dental Practice

If your practice was the victim of an attack, what would be the consequences? First, you could face fines or other reprimands for HIPAA non-compliance. If the breach wasn’t related to your reasonable care of the data, there are still other impacts, including:

  • Loss of data, including deletion or encryption in a ransomware attack.
  • Reputational harm, as you’ll have to notify patients. 
  • Financial costs, including paying for credit monitoring for patients, lost productivity, patients leaving, and audits.

Dealing with all these things can be a nightmare, so the best way to avoid them is to be as proactive as possible about data security. 

Steps to Avoid Risk

Your network, applications, and databases should adhere to all cybersecurity and HIPAA best practices. That includes things like firewalls, monitoring, penetration testing, and employee training on things like phishing. 

Beyond these tenets, there are some additional data management areas to consider. 

Legacy Archiving

Maintaining a legacy system is dangerous when it’s no longer supported. It could be an easy entrance into your network for hackers. Decommission legacy systems and archive those dental records in a web-based, secure platform. 

Data Backup 

The data your archive and that within current applications need a backup. For your archive, make sure you choose a partner that includes a redundant backup. 

Standardize Sharing

Do internal systems need to share certain information? If any of it is PHI, then it requires special care. This activity may be too complex for your IT team or MSP (managed service provider). Data sharing can be simple, but protocols and experienced professionals are imperative.

Keep Your Dental Records Secure

If you’re looking for support for data archiving, backup, or sharing, we can help. We’re experts in moving data for healthcare. Contact us today to learn more. 

Data Management Pain Points in Healthcare

healthcare data pain points

To say data management is challenging in healthcare is an understatement. Many challenges persist for all healthcare data stakeholders. Regulations create compliance requirements, and a disconnect in interoperability makes data sharing burdensome. These data management pain points can add up and may have your organization looking for ways to alleviate them. As pioneers in data management, we’ve learned a lot over the years and want to provide you with some pain-free solutions.

What Are the Most Agonizing Data Management Pain Points?

There are aches and pains all through the ecosystem that touch compliance, interoperability, aggregation, insights, and more.

Compliance Conundrums

Healthcare data requires special care and compliance with HIPAA and other laws. It’s a pain point because it can hinder some areas like interoperability. But the biggest pain is risk and threats. Healthcare is a favorite target of hackers. Healthcare cybersecurity is integral to compliance. That means that any organization that accesses it must have protocols in place along with regular auditing and a strong security posture. 

The Interoperability Pain Point

Without integration of systems, fragmentation is a threat to healthcare data and interoperability. That’s just talking about the internal needs. Sharing data with payers, other providers, public health, and consumers isn’t standardized. Regulators are attempting to remediate this, but the fact that the U.S. health system is so fragmented itself doesn’t help. Until streamlining protocols and practices blanket the entire industry, this will continue to be a pain point. 

Data Aggregation Is Painful

For providers and payers especially, data aggregation can be difficult. With multiple sources of data, combining it all for analysis, sharing, or other activities is often held up by a lack of IT resource bandwidth. Aggregating data enables you to learn more because there’s more context. From a predictive lens, healthcare organizations and patients would benefit from this analysis. There are ways to do this via APIs and analytics engines. This healthcare big data could significantly improve outcomes. 

Moving Data Is Laborious

Just moving data is sometimes an arduous task. Organizations often need to convert data from one health information system (HIS) to another. Others want to retire legacy systems and archive data they still have to retain. 

Not having enough resources causes this healthcare data point. Internal expertise on how to migrate data accurately can also be challenging. There are healthcare data pros like InfoWerks that can help you with this heavy lift. 

What Are Your Healthcare Data Pain Points?

Your data should be improving operations, not hindering you. However, data can only be helpful when it’s accessible, portable, and interoperable. We’re experts at all three and make data management pain-free. Contact our team today to discuss your healthcare data pain points. 

What Is an Acquisition Data Conversion?

acquisition data conversion

The pharmacy business in the U.S. is constantly changing. Many factors impact pharmacy buying and selling. Retail and independent pharmacies both make acquisitions. Sometimes they keep them open and rebrand. Other times they close the location and become the new provider to patients. In either situation, an acquisition data conversion is a necessary step.

In this post, we’ll define this type of acquisition and provide key insights for pharmacy transition services.

Defining an Acquisition Data Conversion

When pharmacies purchase another business, they have several considerations for patient data. Much of the time, that requires migrating the data from one pharmacy software to another. In either rebranding or closing, the buying pharmacy needs to convert the data to their system. 

Data conversions in pharmacy are complex. It’s not a manual process but rather a programming exercise. The challenges often come from field mapping, unstructured data, 340B conversions, and drug pricing. Those are just a few of the migration issues. 

Who Should Perform the Data Conversion?

To ensure a smooth data conversion, you’ll want to work with a partner that’s an expert in the field. Not just any data management company can pull off such a project. Those that are specialists in data conversion understand HIPAA compliance, have experience with many pharmacy systems and have standardized practices in place. 

In choosing a data conversion company, look at their experience, workflows, and processes. You should feel confident that their work is accurate and compliant. 

Should You Keep All the Data?

In most scenarios, you won’t convert all your data to a new system. Some of it may be outdated or inactive. However, you still must retain those records for a period of time legally. Instead of converting, you can archive pharmacy patient data. Using a cloud-based, secure platform enables access with less cost and burden on your software.

What Else Can You Do with New Patient Data?

Along with being able to access and use the patient data, there are other ways to use it. Those consumers need to know about the changes, and patient contact information is the key. You can send them branded letters that announce the acquisition and advise them you’re their new pharmacy. These communications can have a significant impact on patient retention. 

Need Support for Your Pharmacy Acquisition?

InfoWerks helps pharmacies in transition, whether they are closing or rebranding. We offer a turnkey suite of pharmacy acquisition services, including conversions, archiving, and print and mail. Learn more about them today by downloading our pharmacy transitions spec sheet.