Patient-centric care delivery is the gold standard for healthcare organizations. Discovering the best way to do it requires close cooperation between IT and healthcare leaders, and a unified focus on the patient experience. But achieving patient-centric care requires dealing with countless variables in both technology and clinical workstyles, and all of it is heavily influenced by sweeping considerations like the mobility of clinical care givers, the do-or-die nature of regulatory compliance, and the ever-present burden of data security.
Healthcare is being delivered in new ways – including, now, virtual consultations with patients and specialists – and, as a result, telehealth delivery models are on the rise. The fast-approaching “new normal,” on-demand healthcare must be taken into account – and its potential impact on the technology underpinning patient-centric care is massive.
Healthcare organizations are incorporating on-demand health capabilities to manage costs, broaden access and improve patient care. From the patient’s perspective, it’s about having healthcare as easily accessible as transportation or grocery shopping. In fact, patients as consumers are making more informed healthcare choices, and while doing so they’re placing much more emphasis on “consumer style” considerations like convenience, simplicity and speed.
According to a recent study, use of telemedicine technology is expected to grow over 18% annually through 2020. The benefits of this type of care delivery are already being realized in remote communities and for patients with limited time or barriers to travel.
These new approaches are drawing caregivers and IT professionals alike into uncharted territory of cyber, privacy and security risks. New telehealth practices bring new potential risks. Digital communication and sharing of personal health information (PHI) poses new potential vulnerabilities, as well as the risk of failing regulatory standards.
Yes, there are critical challenges ahead for IT. But there are tools available now for meeting them.
Protect Patient Identity Regardless of Location
When caregivers and patients aren’t face-to-face, all means of verifying identity and medical information must be shared across digital channels. Are these physicians and patients who they say they are? This alone exposes a huge amount of risk. And what if the patient (or clinician) is exchanging data or information outside the office – say, at a coffee shop? One of the greatest benefits of telemedicine, flexibility, quickly becomes its biggest risk. IT and clinical leadership need to build policies around telemedicine, and explore more flexible means of securing patient data.
Secure Data and HIPAA Compliance
With virtual care, vast amounts of data are being shared across a number of channels, networks and devices. This protected data (think lab test results, images, audio files of the visit) must be transmitted, stored, accessed and disposed of securely. But telehealth providers don’t get breaks; the’re subject to all of the same privacy and compliance requirements as any other HIPAA or GDPR covered entity. Telemedicine processes must comply with privacy and information security policy and programs, or run the risk of paying massive fines.
RES is Here to Help
Building the right technology foundation will support the flexibility of telehealth, while securing and meeting privacy standards. Using RES as a foundation for your clinical workspaces, you can be certain clinicians will spend more time leveraging technology to focus on what matters: delivering patient care, whether in the hospital or through digital interactions. RES will help your team create, manage and secure clinical workspaces across hybrid environments. Healthcare organizations leveraging RES can:
- Protect sensitive patient information – stop data breaches by restricting the ability for clinical staff to open unapproved or recognized files. Smart prevention is the key to ensuring that an external or internal breach doesn’t happen in the first place.
- Deliver accurate entitlements and access to staff – static definitions of identity often fall short. For secure and effective access, IT must define identity and manage entitlements using real-time working context – even as it changes from moment to moment. Once access has been provisioned for a visiting clinician for example, can you easily de-provision that access once it’s no longer required? RES can help you do this.
- Ensure compliance requirements are met – HIPAA in the US, GDPR in the EU – there is no shortage of compliance requirements. And they’re getting tougher and tighter every year. But with the right technology in place, compliance standards can be automated – making it vastly simpler for IT to meet and maintain requirements.
- Balance clinician productivity and security based on context – clinical staff are constantly on the move, requiring the freedom to work from different locations or accessing critical patient information when offsite, without putting the hospital at risk of being non-compliant. Context aware technology allows the right person the right access to the right resources when they need them. But it also takes that access away the moment it’s no longer needed.
Improved identity management, sophisticated malware prevention, and context aware policies for patient data can support traditional roaming clinician models in hospitals, and lay critical groundwork for telemedicine. A more people-centric approach to security, productivity and compliance will help healthcare IT keep pace with the shifting healthcare landscape, and support the organizational goal of improved patient care: onsite or remote.