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Jan 19, 2018

4 Trends That Will Impact Healthcare Technology in 2018


Advancements to Improve Patient Care.

Healthcare is one of the nation’s largest and oldest industries.

As a field focused on patient care and treatment, it’s essential for healthcare companies and product developers to remain at the forefront of technological innovations to provide better, faster and more comprehensive care.

Here are four emerging technologies and trends that will shape healthcare innovation in 2018.

1. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the most exciting modern developments in healthcare. This technology changes a viewer’s vision while keeping them grounded in their surrounding reality.

AR technology can have many applications within healthcare. For example, augmented reality can be used by surgeons to help locate the relative location of a tumor within an organ.

Augmented reality can also be used to help patients and physicians better describe symptoms of diseases. Physicians can use augmented reality displays to show patients the potential complications that occur from a treatment or the effects of delaying such a treatment. Augmented reality will help healthcare providers better model, visualize and treat diseases and conditions.

2. Telemedicine

Telemedicine – the distribution of healthcare services or monitoring of symptoms through remote devices – is expected to continue its growth in 2018.

Telemedicine provides benefits in cost and efficiency, especially for populations in rural or geographically isolated areas. Patients who would otherwise be unable to receive treatment due to location can engage with healthcare providers remotely through telemedicine.

Telemedicine is moving from novelty to a real treatment option. According to Mercer, 59 percent of large employers offered health insurance that provided telemedicine services in 2017. Increased coverage of the service has led to rising adoption rates as the practice becomes more available.

Telemedicine has also become more affordable to implement. When combined with increased patient information security and new technologies which make remote monitoring more efficient, telemedicine becomes a much more viable healthcare option.

3. Big Data in Healthcare

Improved technology will also play a role in the collection and analysis of big data.

The amount of collected data in healthcare is enormous. Everything from patient records to treatment outcomes is meticulously recorded, giving healthcare providers large data sets to work with. Analytics provides the ability to sift through and interpret large data sets, bringing quantitative insights to healthcare providers.

Consider the wellness devices or fitness tracker apps that many people are using. The data from these sources may soon be integrated with the records used by primary care physicians to provide a more comprehensive view of their patients’ overall health. This means providers will have the ability to more accurately diagnose diseases, offer better treatment options and predict future complications.

4. Information Security

Information security is a technical hot button issue across all industries and healthcare is no exception.

Healthcare data is among the most sensitive and personal. Specific laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandate that patient info is kept secure. Consequently, healthcare administrators must ensure that data is protected from hackers, who are getting more creative in their attempts to access restricted information. To address growing security challenges, healthcare providers will need to enhance and update their IT infrastructure.

Technological advances such as the proliferation of smart health devices bring their own security risks. Smart devices can be compromised if not properly patched and updated. Within a healthcare and personal information context, the compromise of such devices could be catastrophic. As technological solutions further permeate the healthcare industry, healthcare providers will need to work harder to safeguard their networks and devices to solidify their informational security.

Preparing for Healthcare Technology Advancements

With all of the technological innovation that will be impacting the healthcare industry, it’s more apparent than ever the need for a robust and secure infrastructure to power the systems that are improving patient care and protecting their information.

INAP provides affordable, dependable and scalable infrastructure solutions to meet the growing performance demands placed on life sciences and healthcare technology companies. Whether your business needs additional storage options to stay ahead of an influx of data or services that ensure your company remains HIPAA-compliant, our experts have the solution to your infrastructure needs.

Contact us today to learn how your environment will benefit from INAP’s dedicated healthcare technology solutions.

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Feb 2, 2016

HIPAA-compliant hosting: The risks of operating without it


hipaa compliant hostingPicture the scene: the surgeon peers over the patient lying sedated, covered on the operating table. Lights shine on the targeted area of the abdomen where the physician intends to operate.

Scalpel,” the surgeon states confidently, and the razor sharp instrument is placed in her talented hands. She leans in, ready for the procedure to begin.

As the tool touches skin, the patient wakes up, bolts upright with eyes ablaze and stares at the team.

But what about the security of my personal electronic medical data?!?” he yells.

Didn’t expect that? I bet you weren’t thinking about that one bit, and you aren’t alone. While many companies are entering the healthcare and healthcare tech markets with new tools and applications that enable medical professionals to do their jobs better, focus is often lost on the teeth of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the HITECH Act.

HIPAA and the HITECH Act

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. Simply put, it gave teeth to the already ratified HIPAA with minimum ($100) and maximum ($250,000) per violation fines along with maximum cumulative fines for violation of the same provision ($1,500,000). The HITECH Act also notably added personal criminal penalties, meaning that individuals convicted of violating these provisions could stand meaningful jail time—up to ten years – and a Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) of up to $1.5M per provision violated.

Many IT professionals in the healthcare fields generally know about HIPAA, and some may perform a cursory look for some sort of badge promising HIPAA compliancy before signing on with an infrastructure service provider. But choosing a HIPAA-compliant data center has become even more important because the penalties for violations can be severe. 

Both the monetary and criminal penalties are determined by a subjective sliding scale based on the nature and extent of the violation and the harm resulting from the violation on a per-record basis. Why is that important when talking about Internet infrastructure?  Because these records don’t tend to travel in ones and twos but rather one and two thousand—or more.

As such, the penalties for violations can quickly escalate at an eyebrow-raising level for healthcare and healthcare tech companies that are either in direct contact with electronic patient health information (ePHI)/Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or indirect contact via Business Associates (BA), who are also subject to the same penalties. Examples include improper encryption when transmitting ePHI over email or not having a sufficient audit trail in place for PHI/EMR systems. Additionally, working with a Business Associate without having the appropriate Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place can result in hefty fines and possibly jail time.

HIPAA-compliant data centers

Ongoing consolidation in the healthcare industry is creating a need for increased collaboration across healthcare providers, healthcare technologies and plans. But complying with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule is exceedingly challenging. This leaves many healthcare and healthcare tech companies scratching their head as to how to strike a balance between establishing an infrastructure that meets business needs while also adhering to HIPAA law requirements. Safe to say that it’s more important than ever for an organization – be it a Covered Entity or a Business Associate – to ensure they’re doing business with a service provider that fully understands HIPAA legislation and the very serious penalties that enforce it through the HITECH act.

Internap is proud to provide HIPAA-compliant colocation, managed hosting and private cloud environments for our customers. What’s more, Internap is one of the few service providers that can offer a HIPAA-compliant hybrid environment allowing healthcare organizations to create a best-fit infrastructure to meet HIPAA-compliant hosting requirements. We have extensive experience migrating healthcare tech customers to our HIPAA-compliant environments.

If you’re with an organization impacted by HIPAA and are interested in focusing on doing what you do best instead of worrying about your healthcare infrastructure, please reach out to us.  While we won’t have the gauze, iodine or scalpel, we will have the colo, managed hosting and private cloud that the doctor ordered.

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