Infrastructure is the foundation stone of any health IT setup. From electronic health records to telemedicine to cybersecurity to analytics, everything depends on a rock solid, reliable network to function properly and efficiently to help caregivers and administrators perform their tasks and deliver quality care. So, what should healthcare CIOs and other healthcare executives and health IT workers do for implementing the various tools and technologies that make up the foundation of IT operations? Here are some of the best practices:
A risk assessment
First, a project risk assessment should be conducted by healthcare CIOs to determine any internal or external risk factors in terms of delivery, security and budget, and their impact. If this is a mission-critical, time-sensitive project or the critical path in other projects, you need to make sure that your team’s estimates are accurate and reasonable. What if you run out of time, money or have a major implementation issue? Do legacy applications or systems have any risk of downtime during this project? Be sure to consider both the worst-case scenarios and the best-case rosy scenarios.Make sure to think of the worst-case scenarios as well as the rosy best-case scenarios. Security and compliance risk should be included in the assessment. A second best practice is to do your due diligence on your vendors. Make sure that they are not only able to deliver the product or service you are looking for, but they are also able to deliver on time, on budget, consistently and securely.
Open and responsive infrastructure
Modernizing infrastructure to be more open and responsive is another best practice for implementing the infrastructure. Healthcare organizations are working hard to meet their end-users’ escalating technology expectations. People are now accustomed by the use of smartphones and apps to conveniences and speed. Shifting expectations and demographics drive a rapid increase in healthcare demand. Healthcare organizations need easily managed, high-performing infrastructure solutions in order to achieve their goals, which will also allow them to keep their tight IT budgets intact.
Hen implementing health IT infrastructure, patient safety and security should be prioritized. 82 percent of healthcare organizations experienced major security incidents in 2018, according to the 2019 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey. Hospitals are the most targeted sector due to the troves of sensitive data they house and remain the most vulnerable in any industry. In addition, hospitals are increasingly vulnerable to attacks through ransomware. This is due to their unique environments combining both new IoT devices and legacy infrastructure and technology.Legacy medical devices have not been built in today’s connected world for security threats. They often do not contain the security features necessary for enterprise-grade protection of patient safety. They are at higher risk of breaches as such. Through its infrastructure strategy, the healthcare sector can help mitigate this risk. For example, they can start by segmenting across the hospital network the different types of technology. This will help IT professionals isolate and monitor network traffic, identify and address potential vulnerabilities quickly, and prevent access across different segments of the network.
Health IT professionals should also consider deploying behavioural AI to more effectively monitor, identify and address any anomalies, he added. Simply put, similar devices showing similar behaviours are grouped by behavioural monitoring technology. As a result, hospitals can streamline how they detect potential security incidents and respond to them.
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