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Healthcare IT Outlook for 2016 & Beyond

Posted on December 23, 2015
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As we draw near to the Christmas holiday and prepare to ring in the New Year, there are numerous articles sharing predictions and what to expect with IT in 2016. IDC Health Insights recently shared an outlook for the healthcare industry.

Not surprisingly, IDC is telling consumers they will see an increase in cyberattacks against their online health records. In 2016, these attacks could comprise as many as one in three healthcare records worldwide. Why? It’s the perfect storm: the ever-increasing number and effectiveness of attacks, relative ease of converting stolen information into cash (e.g. fraudulent medical claims, reselling medications), and a huge target (every man, woman and child in America!) for a sophisticated, multi-billion dollar cybercrime industry hungry for new sources of revenue.

IDC predicts telemedicine will increase, fueling even greater amount of electronic healthcare data. Virtual care may soon become routine, and more patients will prefer to use instant messaging, email, and video chat sessions in lieu of traditional in-person appointments. IT security will become even more important as providers and consumers communicate and share healthcare information virtually. (The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or UPMC, was actually quoted in this national article as being a pioneer with virtual medicine.)

Anticipating such events, experts reiterate the importance of educating patients and staff on the latest socially engineered techniques, common phishing and spear-phishing schemes, and other hacker tactics currently being used to access this data.

On a more positive note, more healthcare-related advances are being made with supercomputers. IBM’s Watson is expected to reduce patient deaths and treatment costs by 10% over the next three years. During this time, nearly one-third of healthcare systems worldwide will use big data to “employ real-time cognitive analysis as a way to provide personalized care leveraging patients’ clinical data, directly supported by clinical outcomes and ‘real world evidence’ data.” Essentially it sounds like the supercomputer will continue to improve the industry's ability to analyze data so that it ultimately provides doctors with evidence-based treatments.

Additionally, IDC shared advances being made in healthcare robotics. Robotic surgeries and computer-assisted surgeries could perform 50% of the most complex surgeries by 2018. Tests have shown that telesurgery is possible and very promising, if healthcare organizations can figure out issues with legal liability, social acceptance, insurance, and reliability. 

Visit Computerworld’s website for the complete article: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3013013/healthcare-it/cyberattacks-will-compromise-1-in-3-healthcare-records-next-year.html.

The Apogee IT Services Take

Most consumers (and businesses) expect cybercriminals to continue along their sinister paths in 2016, creating more insidious schemes and wreaking havoc along the way. High-profile breaches have become the norm, unfortunately. Healthcare is an exceptionally vulnerable industry, and providers and consumers alike are affected. Nearly everyone is affected, in fact, because most of us have sought medical treatment in the past or present.

There is no completely bulletproof IT, but there is multi-layer and strategic IT security. We serve clients with HIPAA requirements, and we’re prepared to help other organizations make the right decisions both for themselves and for their patients. How? By building, securing, supporting, and improving IT the right way, the first time, every time.

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