Patient Financial Clearance: Ensuring a Successful Revenue Model in Emergency Medicine

The following is a guest blog post by Jordan Levitt serves as a Managing Partner and Founder for PayorLogic.
Jordan Levitt
In emergency medicine, most providers know this to be true: medical triage and rendering healthcare services is often the easy part. Financial clearance and obtaining payment is the challenge. This is particularly relevant in light of the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) that ensures public access to emergency department (ED) services regardless of one’s ability to pay.

Even with the influx of patients who now have insurance through Medicaid expansion, EDs are still up against many challenges in terms of collecting payments from urgent care encounters. Emergency patients are frequently transient and difficult to manage. And beyond the traditional self-pay patient population, a growing number of emergency patients are now insured under high deductible health plans (HDHPs). Patients themselves are increasingly responsible for a larger portion of the bill.

The burden is on emergency medicine practice administrators and their billing companies to complete the financial clearance process as early as possible—ideally immediately following medical triage and during the urgent care encounter.  The biggest hurdle is obtaining correct and accurate information to financially clear patients within the emergency setting.

Common Hurdles to Overcome
First, IT systems used during emergency transport and within the ED are commonly fragmented—even within a singular hospital system. Second, emergency encounters must focus first on medical triage and urgent care. Financial clearance is an afterthought. Patient access staff members in the ED often do not have ample time to complete financial clearance before patients are treated—and even released. Third, many organizations experience high turnover in the ED registration area, making it difficult to ensure compliance and consistency.

This article summarizes how one emergency medicine billing company works with its clients to provide financial clearance for emergency encounters—even for patients that present as self-pay.

How it works at ATD Resources, Inc.
As a full-service billing company that serves five emergency departments with a combined 140,000 visits per year, ATD Resources, Inc. knows the financial pressures of increasing patient payment responsibility and non-payment risk all too well. Amy Propp, CPC, CEDC, director of operations at ATD Resources, LLC, sent approximately $1 million to a collections agency each month before revamping her financial clearance process. Furthermore, nearly 50% of ATD’s 180,000 patient statements were returned due to invalid addresses.

To improve revenue capture, ATD focused on obtaining the right information the first time around as close to near-time as possible. This required partnering with a front-end financial clearance solution that integrated with each hospital’s information systems so emergency medicine patient access staff had access to real-time demographics and payment information. A three-step workflow was designed.

Step One:
Verify patients’ social security numbers, addresses, and other demographic information within the emergency department as quickly as possible: upon registration and immediately following clinical triage.

Step Two:
Generate an immediate report of all patients labeled as self-pay/no insurance and use Payor Logic’s financial clearance application to check whether these patients have any billable insurance or other payment sources. For example, in 2014, ATD identified 16% of patients as self-pay for their clients. However, after verification, 35% of these individuals were actually eligible for Medicaid.

Step Three:
For patients with no verifiable or billable coverage, ATD staff members use Federal Poverty Level status information to qualify patients for a discount or charity care—immediately communicating findings back to the emergency medicine group.

Step Four:
Finally, ATD works with Payor Logic to predict likelihood of payment. By calculating a propensity-to-pay score, ATD (on behalf of their clients) focus on patients with the highest likelihood of paying the bill. ATD can identify patients with a history of non-payment, adjust the debt, and quickly forward these accounts to collections.

Thanks to its new financial clearance process, ATD has captured more than $800,000 in revenue over 12 months for its emergency medicine clients. In addition, its returned mail volume was cut by more than 10%.

The Road Ahead
Given the increase in patient financial responsibility, emergency providers and their billing companies must find creative ways to expedite the clearance and collection process.  This critical step is becoming increasingly essential as a new era of self-pay patients are emerging amidst declining pre-acute care reimbursements within emergency services and emergency medicine.

About Jordan Levitt:
Jordan Levitt serves as a Managing Partner and Founder for PayorLogic, a healthcare technology company for self-pay accounts management, insurance verification and financial clearance within emergency services, emergency medicine, laboratory, medical imaging, durable medical, and hospitals. Jordan can be reached at:

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An Example of Future Implantables to Monitor Your Health

It’s only a centimetre long, it’s placed under your skin, it’s powered by a patch on the surface of your skin and it communicates with your mobile phone. The new biosensor chip developed at EPFL is capable of simultaneously monitoring the concentration of a number of molecules, such as glucose and cholesterol, and certain drugs.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s been happening with implantables, the chip described above is a good example. You can learn more about it here.

I find it pretty genius that they’ve put the battery on a patch that’s on the surface of your skin. The battery is the biggest problem with leaving implantables in very long. I’m also interested in how much impact having a foreign object under your skin will have on your body, but I think we basically know about those challenges thanks to pacemakers and other devices that we’ve been putting in bodies for years.

I also love that this implantable can monitor pH, temperature, lactate, cholesterol, and drugs. The last one is extremely interesting for me since it opens up all sorts of new research opportunities along with monitoring opportunities. You could use the drug monitoring to improve how much drug is needed, but you could also identify when there’s been an error in the dosing for some reason.

No doubt I’m a novice in this area, but I find these trends fascinating. The clinical trials on this device are going to take 3-5 years, but I’m glad we’re getting started.

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ADP AdvancedMD Debuts New Patient Relationship Management (PRM) Suite

New PRM Suite Includes Check-in Kiosk, Automated Patient Forms and Patient Portal to Help Medical Practices Improve Patient Communications and Free Up Time for Proactively Managing Patient Healthcare Needs

South Jordan, Utah July 1, 2015 ADP® AdvancedMD®, a leader in all-in-one, cloud electronic health record (EHR), practice management, medical scheduling, medical billing services and a pioneer of big data reporting and business intelligence for smaller medical practices, today announced the launch of its new Patient Relationship Management (PRM) suite. The solution helps private medical practices streamline the patient intake process and the amount of time it takes to administer patient forms. PRM enables patients to easily complete forms electronically, and once finished, forms automatically and securely populate in patient charts, ensuring the medical staff has the most up-to-date information available on the patient.

“Private medical practices are extremely pressed for time and continually on the lookout for new tools and strategies to streamline the administrative side of things,” said Arman Samani, CTO, ADP AdvancedMD. “Our new Patient Relationship Management suite helps front office staff and administrators reduce the amount of time they spend on each patient’s paperwork and enables patients to utilize the Internet to complete intake forms electronically from the privacy of their home or the practice kiosk. This ensures the medical staff can enter a patient meeting informed and clearly focused on addressing the patient’s healthcare needs, and not searching for background information.”

The suite includes the AdvancedMD mobile patient and administrative check-in kiosk. The check-in kiosk, when combined with AdvancedMD insurance verification, credit card processing, as well as advanced online communications with patients, creates a full-featured front-office solution.

Other advantages of the ADP AdvancedMD Patient Relationship Management suite include:

  • Customizable patient and consent forms provide multiple workflow options for each practice. Private practice team members can assign intake forms and consent forms to the patient prior to their arrival at the office so they can be completed ahead of the appointment in the patient portal or in the waiting room via iPad.
  • Forms electronically load into the patient chart with no document scanning required. Additionally, the check-in kiosk lets the practice’s staff scan a patient driver’s license, review demographic information, and make any necessary updates.
  • Patient forms can be managed on an iPad with the iOS app or via traditional desktop browser. Both let the practice’s staff enter patient information, select documents for a patient, and setup an iPad kiosk to be utilized by a patient.
  • Staff are also able to view appointments by date, search for patients by name, view patient photo and demographic information, and add new and existing patient data to a record.
  • Once a patient form is completed, it automatically loads into the patient chart without the need for the office staff to scan paper documents.

Private practices can customize and bundle some or all of the products within the suite. AdvancedMDPRM is available now. To learn more and order, please click here.

AdvancedMD Resources­­­­­

About ADP

Employers around the world rely on ADP® (NASDAQ: ADP) for cloud-based solutions and services to help manage their most important asset – their people.  From human resources and payroll to talent management to benefits administration, ADP brings unmatched depth and expertise in helping clients build a better workforce.  A pioneer in Human Capital Management (HCM) and business process outsourcing, ADP serves more than 625,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

Posted in EHR, EHR Vendors, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record, EMR, EMR Vendors, Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on ADP AdvancedMD Debuts New Patient Relationship Management (PRM) Suite

The Top 3 Reasons Your Health IT Systems Take So Long To Integrate – Optimize Healthcare Integration Series

The following is a guest blog post by Stephane Vigot, President of Caristix, a leading provider of healthcare integration products and services. This post is part of the Optimize Healthcare Integration series.
Stephane Vigot - Caristix
The push for interoperability is on. What’s at the core of interoperability that truly supports next generation analytics, real patient engagement, true care coordination, and high value population health? Data exchange through interfacing. And that means HL7.

HL7 represents 95% of interfacing in hospital environments for clinical systems and many other information systems in healthcare.  Many people make the error of thinking HL7 is just simple strings, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a system of data organization, a dynamic framework that establishes the base of data exchange through its specifics, syntax and structure. But, despite standards, if you take two identical systems, same vendor, deployed in two different environments, you’ll find discrepancies 100% of the time when it comes to data management.

What’s the result? It takes too long to take systems live. And that means time, money, resource drain, and headaches for integrators, maintenance and quality teams. The most critical impact is on essential clinical care. Beyond that, this negatively impacts your short and long term business goals over time. This impact will grow with the increasing demands of interoperability, particularly with the drive for automation and easy data access and analytics.

There are three primary challenges that feed into this problem of getting a system live. These are:

Aligning the integration goals for business and technology users – This step alone will differentiate success or failure. Without a clear picture of your goals and environment from day one, you can’t measure the required investment and resources. Project planning becomes a wild guess. How do you get everyone involved on deck with a common understanding of the overall project?  Is it crystal clear how your new system fits into your existing ecosystem in the context of your data flow and structure? Do you know what information you need from whom, when? Is all documentation readily available? Are the business impacts of the interface understood?

Complete and clear data transformation requirements – It’s common to manually compare outdated specs, list the differences and jump into the code. This makes it virtually impossible to quickly come up with a complete list. Complete requirements are not identified until too late in the project, sometimes not until it’s in production. Are all data flows and system workflows identified? Are the system’s data semantics clear? Are documented system specs accurate? Has customized data been included?  Are all the transformations and mappings defined?  Have you automated the processes that define requirements?

Testing/Verification – Your QA team knows this is about a lot more than making sure all the dots are connected. You want to get this right before your go live and avoid handling data related emergencies in production with constant break-fix repairs. Are you doing enough testing before go live so your caregivers can count on applications being completely functional for their critical patient care? Are your test cases based on your requirements? Are you testing against your clinical workflows? Do you include edge cases and performance in your testing? Are you testing with de-identified production data that accurately represents your system’s data flow and needs? Is your testing HIPAA compliant? Are you prepared for ongoing maintenance and updating with reusable test cases backed by reliable and repeatable quality measures? Is your testing automated?

What’s the most efficient solution to these three challenges?  Productivity software that supports your integration and workflow process from start to finish. With the right solution, you understand the big picture before you start with complete requirements built upon your specifications that set you up for robust system testing and maintenance. The right solution will cut your project timelines in half, reduce your resource drain and costs, and guarantee predictable results while streamlining the repetitive tasks of your teams. In addition, gap analysis, automatic specification management, HL7 message comparison and editing, debugging tools, PHI de-identification, documentation building, and team collaborative depositories should be included. As seen in the charts below, savings of up to 52% can be realized through optimization with productivity software.
Healthcare Integration Project Time Chart
Do these healthcare integration challenges resonate with you? What is your organization experiencing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Caristix, a leading healthcare integration company, is the sponsor of the Optimize Healthcare Integration blog post series.  If you’d like to learn more about how you can simplify your healthcare integration process, download this Free Whitepaper.

About Stéphane Vigot
Stéphane Vigot, President of Caristix, has over 20 years of experience in product management and business development leadership roles in technology and healthcare IT. Formerly with CareFusion and Cardinal Health, his experience spans from major enterprises to startups. Caristix is one of the few companies in the health IT ecosystem that is uniquely focused on integrating, connecting, and exchanging data between systems. He can be reached at

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New Agreement Calls For Accelerating Delivery and Coordination of 21st Century Evidence Based Precision Medicine

CHICAGO and CULVER CITY, CA – June 30, 2015 – Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX) (“Allscripts”), a global leader in healthcare information technology solutions, and NantHealth, a cloud-based information technology company, announced they have taken a significant step forward in their strategic partnership through two cross-investments and a strengthening of their commercial agreement. The investments include Allscripts’ purchase of a 10% equity stake in NantHealth for $200 million in cash. In addition, NantCapital, LLC, the personal investment vehicle of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of NantHealth, has made a $100 million investment into Allscripts.

NantHealth is a healthcare IT company providing the most comprehensive genomic and protein-based molecular diagnostics testing in the market today through its first in class Genomic Proteomic Sequencing (GPS Cancer) diagnostic test, applying this actionable health information to create personalized cancer treatment plans through its sophisticated care planning tool Eviti. NantHealth is in the process of bringing GPS Cancer to the point of care and into the patient’s home through a single integrated clinical platform. The Company’s vision is to allow IDNs, Academic Medical Centers, Pediatric Centers, physicians, patients, payers, employers, researchers and pharma to coordinate personalized cancer care, enable access to cutting edge clinical trials, monitor outcomes and control cost in real-time.

The investments and commercial agreement strengthen the partnership between Allscripts and NantHealth, originally announced in March 2015, to develop an integrated, evidence-based, personalized approach to healthcare solutions, and specifically cancer care. The companies will use Allscripts’ scale, global network of hospital and physician clients and leading software solutions, combined with NantHealth’s clinical platform, applications and connectivity devices to build out the infrastructure for new personalized, precision medicine programs for our clients to improve cancer care.

Going forward, NantHealth and Allscripts are focused on working together to accelerate the dissemination of technologies that seamlessly bring the promise of comprehensive molecular diagnostics to the routine, patient care setting. Specifically, the companies intend to work on joint development of: API-based integration between the two companies’ solutions; the creation of a cross clinical-GPS Cancer sequencing knowledge ontology and industry standard; the development of GPS Cancer sequencing invitations via the Allscripts FollowMyHealth® solution; integration of NantTransporter giving access to NantCancer Genome Browser, NantContraster and Paradigm and the development of an ACO solution incorporating semantic interoperability.

Research has shown that a physician’s ability to make effective, evidence-based clinical decisions can improve by using specifically matched cancer protocols and drugs, delivered to the patient based on the individual’s unique DNA, RNA and proteomic profile, and integrated with the patient’s holistic clinical picture.,-2015/redefining-cancer.aspx For the first time, NantHealth and Allscripts can integrate these two aspects into a unique knowledge-based solution to significantly improve the way clinicians treat cancer.

Together, physicians and patients will have the tools to stay engaged and active and provide necessary intervention as early as possible. Leveraging innovations in patient engagement, care coordination and disease management; NantHealth and Allscripts are creating the first fully comprehensive and integrated platform that will provide a transformation to the coordination and delivery of personalized care across the spectrum of integrated health systems, across community ambulatory and tertiary practices.

Paul M. Black, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allscripts, said, “We’re taking an important step forward in our strategic partnership that fully aligns our resources and furthers Allscripts’ strategy to invest in new technologies that can revolutionize service to hospitals and physicians. Under the leadership of Dr. Soon-Shiong, NantHealth is pioneering extraordinarily innovative, personalized healthcare solutions that will empower more efficient and effective clinical decisions. We’re confident that our joint efforts will help Allscripts lead the way in our vision of delivering an open, integrated and precision-based medical solutions to physicians and patients.”

Dr. Soon-Shiong stated, “Since the NantHealth/Allscripts partnership began earlier this year, we have come to know Allscripts and its management team well, and I am confident that they can be a major contributor toward the execution of our vision. Allscripts has the technology and scale to become a significant player in a once-in-a-generation shift to personalized medicine. Pursuing unique and innovative partnerships such as this, which can integrate our solutions across the full spectrum of precision care, furthers our mission of building a healthcare ecosystem to drive better outcomes with the highest quality and lowest cost.”

Provider Reaction

“North Shore-LIJ has an established commitment to oncology research and the delivery of world-class cancer care,” said Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “Today’s announcement of an expanded strategic alliance between NantHealth and Allscripts is exciting, both in terms of furthering our clinical mission and the opportunity to generate additional value from our long-term partnership with Allscripts. We look forward to participating in this alliance as we work together to deliver on the potential for truly personalized care.”

“Today’s healthcare providers are looking for innovative solutions that are integrated across the continuum of care,” said Robert L. Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Allscripts and NantHealth offer a promising vision for how tomorrow’ssolutions will provide healthcare professionals with a personalized, comprehensive view of the patient, better analyze data, create precise protocols to drive down costs and improve patient outcomes throughout our healthcare system.”

Allscripts Adds New Sunrise Hospital Client

Allscripts also announced today that Windber Medical Center, a nonprofit, community healthcare provider, NantHealth client and affiliate, has selected the Allscripts Sunrise™ platform to be the new core electronic health record for its hospital facility, replacing its current electronic health system. Located in Somerset County, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Windber Medical Center offers comprehensive primary and acute care including a critical care unit, home health and hospice care
fitness and wellness programs as well as the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center.

“Windber Medical Center together with the CAP certified and Platinum rated human tissue repository at the Windber Research institute and its partnership with Walter Reed Medical Center is poised to be an integrated cancer center with the most cutting edge scientific genomic research in cancer, and our affiliation with NantHealth and Allscripts will propel us towards our mission of providing 21st century care at the community level,” said Tom Kurtz, CEO of Windber Medical Center.

NantCapital Investment in Allscripts

NantCapital’s investment has been executed through a private placement of Allscripts common stock. Allscripts received gross proceeds of approximately $100 million in the private placement. The combined impact of the expanded commercial agreement and cross-investments is expected to be modestly accretive to Allscripts earnings in 2016 and become increasingly accretive over the five-year term of the commercial agreement. The transaction does not change Allscripts 2015 guidance.


About Allscripts
Allscripts (Nasdaq:MDRX) is a leader in healthcare information technology solutions that advance clinical, financial and operational results. Our innovative solutions connect people, places and data across an Open, Connected Community of Health™. Connectivity empowers caregivers to make better decisions and deliver better care for healthier populations. To learn more, visit, Twitter, YouTube and It Takes A Community: The Allscripts Blog.

About NantHealth
NantHealth, a member of the NantWorks ecosystem of companies, is a healthcare transformational cloud-based IT company converging science and technology through a single integrated clinical platform, to provide actionable health information at the point of care, in the time of need, anywhere, anytime. NantHealth works to transform clinical delivery with actionable clinical intelligence at the moment of decision, enabling clinical discovery through real-time machine learning systems. The company’s technology empowers clinicians, patients and researchers to transcend the traditional barriers of today’s healthcare system. By converging molecular science, near real-time patient signal monitoring, computer science and big data technology, the NantHealth Clinical Operating System (cOS) platform empowers providers, patients, and commissioners to coordinate best care, monitor outcomes and control cost in real-time. This is the first system of its kind in healthcare, enabling 21st century coordinated care at a lower cost, enabling value-based population health management at a single patient level and at the population at large. For more information please and follow Dr. Soon-Shiong on Twitter @solvehealthcare.

About NantCancer Genome Browser
NantOmics, NantCancer Genome Browser enables clinicians for the first time to investigate a tumor genome from the full three billion bases down to the single-base level in real-time, thanks to the power of the NantOmics supercomputing and secure mobile infrastructure. The Cancer Genome Browser integrates with NantHealth’s treatment recommendation engine, Eviti, to personalize treatment protocols and clinical trail selection to individual patients based on their genomic and transcriptomic signature. The NantCancer Genome Browser is fully encrypted to allow deployment in a HIPAA secured environment, enabling clinicians to securely access patient data as soon as it’s available, wherever they

About NantTransporter
Data transfer is one of the largest challenges associated with the analysis of sequencing data. NantOmics has designed an infrastructure capable of storing and processing thousands of genomes a day quickly and securely. Our NantTransporter software application enables secure transport of data directly from sequencing machines to NantOmics’s secure private genome processing cloud. Data streams are encrypted using 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128), the same algorithms designated for Top Secret government documents. Initiating a transfer is as easy as obtaining a transfer code from our web site, and specifying the files to be sent. Annotation of the genomes begins immediately with no downtime between transferring and the beginning of processing.

NantWorks has built a dark fiber network capable of Tb/sec transfers between hospitals, academic institutions and sequencing centers. In July 2012 we demonstrated the capabilities of NantTransporter by transferring 94 TB of genomic data and achieved speeds of up to 9.55 Gb/sec with a sustained rate of over 8.232 Gb/sec, the fastest and largest documented transfer of genomic data to date. To date we have transported over 15,000 cancer genomes via NantTransporter.

About NantContraster
Accurately assessing the state of a patient’s genome is one of the most powerful tools in the emerging field of personalized medicine. NantOmics applies its leading, novel genomic analyses to rapidly discover variants in a patient’s raw genomics data using the latest sequencing technologies combined with advanced statistics and machine learning techniques.

NantContraster annotates all variants against a knowledge database comprising all known and probable disease-associated genes to rank the genomic alterations that have the highest clinical relevance. When applied to cancer tumor/normal samples, our analysis is capable of quickly identifying genomic alterations that could lead to tumorigenesis for a fraction of the cost of conventional approaches. NantContraster is capable of concurrently processing many samples to handle large workflows from researchers and hospital settings.

About Paradigm
PARADIGM (Pathway Recognition Algorithm using Data Integration on Genomic Models) is a proprietary algorithm that uses a probabilistic graphical model to integrate multiple genomic data types on curated pathway databases and is unique for its per-sample approach that allows individual samples to be assessed alone or within the context of a cohort of interest.

Posted in EHR, EHR Investment, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record, EMR, genomics, Health IT Partnerships, Healthcare IT, Healthcare IT Funding, Healthcare IT Investment | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on ALLSCRIPTS TAKES $200M EQUITY POSITION IN NANTHEALTH AND EXPANDS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO ENHANCEPRECISION GENOMIC MEDICINE AT POINT OF CARE

HIMSS Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Healthcare Organizations Experienced a Significant Security Incident in Recent Past

Healthcare Organizations Implement New Technology and Personnel to Stay Ahead of Cyberattacks

CHICAGO (June 30, 2015– Cybersecurity was identified as an increased business priority over the past year according to 87 percent of respondents in the newly released 2015 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey ( Two-thirds of those surveyed also indicated that their organizations had experienced a significant security incident recently. Released at the Privacy and Security Forum, held in Chicago from June 30-July 1, this research reflects the continued cybersecurity concerns by healthcare providers regarding the protection of their organizations’ data assets.

“The recent breaches in the healthcare industry have been a wake-up call that patient and other data are valuable targets and healthcare organizations need a laser focus on cybersecurity threats,” said Lisa Gallagher, Vice President of Technology Solutions, HIMSS. “Healthcare organizations need to rapidly adjust their strategies to defend against cyber-attacks. This means implementing threat data,incorporating new tools and sophisticated analysis into their security process.”

The survey of 297 healthcare leaders and information security officers across the industry also found that at least half of respondents made improvements to network security, endpoint protection, data loss prevention, disaster recovery and IT continuity. Despite the protective technologies available, most respondents felt only an average level of confidence in their organizations’ ability to protect their IT infrastructure and data.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Respondents use an average of 11 different technologies to secure their environment and more than half of healthcare organizations surveyed hired full time personnel to manage information security
  • 42 percent of respondents indicated that there are too many emerging and new threats to track
  • More than 50 percent of information security threats are identified by internal security teams
  • 59 percent of survey respondents feel the need for cross-sector cyber threat information sharing
  • 62 percent of security incidents have resulted in limited disruption of IT systems with limited impact on clinical care and IT operations
  • 64 percent of respondents believe a lack of appropriate cybersecurity personnel is a barrier to mitigating cybersecurity events
  • 69 percent of respondents indicated that phishing attacks are a motivator for improving the information security environment
  • 80 percent use network monitoring to detect and investigate information security incidents
  • 87 percent of respondents reported using antivirus/malware tools have been implemented to secure their healthcare organizations’ information security environment

In addition to the findings above, survey respondents found the following as the top ways security incidents were identified and the impact they had on their organizations:

To download the complete 2015 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey, please visit:


HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 58,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 640 corporations and 400 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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How Much Time Do You Spend Cleaning Your Data?

I recently came across this really great blog post talking about data scientists wasting their time. Here’s a quote from the article (which quotes the NYT):

“Data scientists, according to interviews and expert estimates, spend 50 percent to 80 percent of their time mired in [the] mundane labor of collecting and preparing unruly digital data, before it can be explored for useful nuggets.”
– Steve Lohr, NYT

Then, they have this extraordinary quote from Monica Rogati, VP for Data Science at Jawbone:

“Data scientists are forced to act more like data janitors than actual scientists.”

Every data scientist will tell you this is a problem. They spend far too much time cleaning up the data and they all wish they could spend more time actually looking at the data to find insights. I’ve seen this all over health care. In fact, I’d say we have more data janitors than data scientists in healthcare. Sadly, many healthcare data projects clean up the data and then don’t have any budget left to actually do something with the data.

The solution to this problem is easy to write and much harder to do. The solution is to create an expectation and a culture of clean data in your organization.

I predict that over the next 5-10 years, healthcare data is going to become the backbone of healthcare data decision making. Those organizations that houses are a mess are going to be torn down and sold off to the hospital that’s kept a clean house. Is your hospital data clean or dirty?

Posted in Healthcare Big Data, Healthcare Leadership, Hospital Business Intelligence, Hospital CIO, Hospital Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on How Much Time Do You Spend Cleaning Your Data?

CynergisTek Expands Leadership Team to Support Company Growth

Adam Hawkins Advances as Vice President of Sales and Marketing to Drive Continued Expansion Amid Increased Demand for Privacy and Security Expertise in Healthcare

Austin, Texas, June 29, 2015CynergisTek™, an authority in health information privacy, security and compliance, today announced it has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Adam Hawkins as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Effective July 1, 2015, Adam will be responsible for the sales and marketing operations at CynergisTek, as well as the strategic planning, development and implementation of the company’s Managed Services and Vendor Security Management offerings. In addition, Adam will continue to ensure a high-level of support is maintained across the company’s client base of healthcare provider organizations. Adam originally joined CynergisTek as Director of Client Services in 2012, and was an integral part of developing a highly successful sales team as the company restructured its sales and marketing efforts from the ground up.

Adam’s transition to this executive role will be critical in effectively managing unprecedented company growth spurred by increased demand for privacy and security expertise in healthcare. The company has experienced a 70 percent increase in revenue over the last calendar year, and has rapidly expanded its workforce, requiring seasoned leadership in sales, marketing and client services. Adam has more than a decade of experience in healthcare information security and clinical technologies, positioning him well to manage the company’s sales force, marketing department and partner alliances.

“Adam’s commitment to matching providers with the best possible solutions for their privacy and security needs has been instrumental in fostering the trust our clients have come to know and rely on us for,” said Dr. Michael Mathews, CynergisTek Co-Founder and COO. “Adam has a proven track record of ensuring client success, and we are pleased to have him join the executive team where he can exercise his leadership skills and provide strategic direction as we continue to grow.”

Complex regulations, looming enforcement action and prevalent data breaches in the healthcare industry have made data security a top priority for most providers. This increased focus on information security has led many organizations to seek outsourced expertise, driving business for CynergisTek and opening the door to new career opportunities at the company for those with education and experience in information technology.

“It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of a company that is leading the healthcare industry at such a critical time,” said Adam. “It has been very rewarding to help CynergisTek clients navigate today’s dynamic threat environment, and I am looking forward to stepping into my new role where I can fully dedicate myself to adding value across the board.”

Prior to joining CynergisTek, Adam was a Regional Sales Executive at Diebold and DrFrist and Director of Sales & Technology at VisionTree. Adam holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Information and Decision Systems and Political Science from California State University, San Diego.

About CynergisTek

CynergisTek is a top-ranked information privacy and security consulting firm. The company offers solutions to help organizations measure privacy and security programs against regulatory requirements and assists in developing risk management best practices. Since 2003 the company has served as a partner to hundreds in the healthcare industry. CynergisTek is also dedicated to supporting and educating the industry by contributing to relevant associations such as HIMSS, AHIMA, HFMA, HCCA, AHIA, AHLA, IAPP and CHIME. CynergisTek was recognized by KLAS®, as one of three firms provider organizations turn to most for privacy and security assistance in its groundbreaking report released in May 2014, entitled “Security and Privacy Perception 2014: High Stakes, Big Challenges.” For more information, call 512.402.8550 or email

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Survey Shows Insider Threats on the Rise: Organizations Experience an Average of 3.8 Attacks per Year

Survey by Crowd Research Partners Shows Endpoints Are by Far the Most Common Launch Point for an Insider Attack; Highlights Need for Robust Endpoint Security and Policies

VERO BEACH, FL − (June 24, 2015)SpectorSoft™, a leader in the user activity monitoring and behavior analysis market, today released results of the Insider Threat Report, a crowd-based research project that was done in cooperation with the 260,000+ member Information Security Community on LinkedIn and Crowd Research Partners to gain more insight into the state of insider threats and solutions to prevent them. The final report results were based on a comprehensive survey of over 500 cybersecurity professionals from organizations of varying sizes across many industries; the results highlight the increasing need for better security practices and solutions to reduce the risks posed by insider threats.

Among the report’s findings:

The Rise of Insider Attacks: A majority of security professionals (62 percent) saw a rise in insider attacks over the last 12 months, while 22 percent saw no rise, and 16 percent were unsure if they had been attacked or not.

Frequency of Insider Attacks: Forty-five percent of respondents cannot determine whether their organizations experienced insider attacks in the last 12 months. Twenty-two percent said they experienced between one and five attacks, and 24 percent of organizations believe they experienced no attacks at all. Of the respondents who were willing to admit they suffered an insider attack, the average number was 3.8 incidents per organization per year.

Cost of Remediation: The overall average cost of remediating a successful insider attack is around $445,000. With an average risk of 3.8 insider attacks per year, the total remediation cost of insider attacks can quickly run into the millions of dollars.

Monitor Insider Activity on the Endpoint: The survey highlights the need for robust endpoint security and policies; respondents identified endpoints as the most common launch point for insider attacks (56 percent); this was followed by networks (43 percent) and mobile devices (42 percent).

Top Insider Threats: Organizations overwhelmingly maintained that data loss was the top concern regarding insider threats. When asked which types of insider attacks were most concerning, 63 percent of respondents said data leaks, 57 percent said inadvertent data breaches and 53 percent said malicious data breaches.

Vulnerable Data: Sixty-four percent of respondents feel extremely, very or moderately vulnerable to insider threats. Due to its value to attackers, the most vulnerable type of data is customer data (57 percent). This was closely followed by intellectual property (54 percent) and financial data (52 percent).

Internal versus External Attacks: Sixty-two percent of respondents find it more difficult to detect internal threats than external threats, while 38 percent cannot determine which type of threat is most difficult to detect.

Monitoring the Threat: When it comes to threat monitoring, 75 percent of companies monitor the security controls of their applications, 60 percent monitor a majority of all of their key IT assets, while only 21 percent continuously monitor user behavior taking place on their networks.

“The survey and report called out a rise in insider threats, the difficulty in detecting them, and the significant costs in cleaning up after a successful insider attack,” said Mike Tierney, COO, SpectorSoft.  “Companies need the ability to detect for anomalies in user behavior to make sure they are aware of the threats that exist within their organizations, because insiders will deviate from their normal behavior patterns when planning and executing an attack.”

About SpectorSoft

SpectorSoft is the leader in user activity monitoring and an innovator in user behavior analysis software. SpectorSoft has helped more than 36,000 businesses, government organizations, schools and law enforcement agencies improve how they address security and achieve compliance. SpectorSoft award-winning solutions include enterprise-grade insider threat detection software, a powerful user activity monitoring solution deployed by thousands of companies in more than 110 countries, robust Event and Security Log Management, and the world’s leading employee investigation tool. For more information, please

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Interoperability Becoming Important To Consumers

The other day, I was talking with my mother about her recent primary care visit — and she was pretty po’d. “I can’t understand why my cardiologist didn’t just send the information to my family doctor,” she said. “Can’t they do that online these days? Why isn’t my doctor part of it?”

Now, to understand why this matters you need to know that my mother, who’s extremely bright, is nonetheless such a technophobe that she literally won’t touch my father’s desktop PC. She’s never opened a brower and has sent perhaps two or three e-mails in her life. She doesn’t even know how to use the text function on her basic “dumb” phone.

But she understands what interoperability is — even if the term would be foreign — and has little patience for care providers that don’t have it in place.

If this was just about my 74-year-old mom, who’s never really cared for technology generally, it would just be a blip. But research suggests that she’s far from alone.

In fact, a study recently released by the Society for Participatory Medicine and conducted by ORC International suggests that most U.S. residents are in my mother’s camp. Nearly 75% of Americans surveyed by SPM said that it was very important that critical health information be shared between hospitals, doctors and other providers.

What’s more, respondents expect these transfers to be free. Eighty seven percent were dead-set against any fees being charged to either providers or patients for health data transfers. That flies in the face of current business practices, in which doctors may pay between $5,000 to $50,000 to connect with laboratories, HIEs or government, sometimes also paying fees each time they send or receive data.

There’s many things to think about here, but a couple stand out in my mind.

For one thing, providers should definitely be on notice that consumers have lost patience with cumbersome paper record transfers in the digital era. If my mom is demanding frictionless data sharing, then I can only imagine what Millenials are thinking. Doctors and hospitals may actually gain a marketing advantage by advertising how connected they are!

One other important issue to consider is that interoperability, arguably a fevered dream for many providers today, may eventually become the standard of care. You don’t want to be the hospital that stands out as having set patients adrift without adequate data sharing, and I’d argue that the day is coming sooner rather than later when that will mean electronic data sharing.

Admittedly, some consumers may remain exercised only as long as health data sharing is discussed on Good Morning America. But others have got it in their head that they deserve to have their doctors on the same page, with no hassles, and I can’t say the blame them. As we all know, it’s about time.

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