4 Information Technology Problems In The Healthcare Industry

4 Information Technology Problems In The Healthcare Industry

What are some information technology problems in the healthcare industry?

  1. Increasing need for data storage
  2. Vulnerabilities to ransomware
  3. Risk of data loss
  4. Telemedicine and BYOD

With the advancement of technology, the medical field has grown by leaps and bounds. But despite that, there are still information technology problems that the healthcare industry continues to face. Medical devices are still exposed to vulnerabilities, there is a growing need for long-term retention of patient records, and many others. This article discusses these problems and the best ways to mitigate them. Read on.

Increasing Need For Data Storage

Over time, healthcare facilities accumulate an increasing amount of files in their system. With higher-quality laboratory imaging files, data from medical devices, and a growing collection of patient records, the need for larger storage capacities is vital.

But the main challenge for most healthcare facilities is how to quickly scale up without exorbitant price requirements. Most hospitals utilize on-premise data storage but the cost of getting physical servers can be overwhelming. Add to this the cost of maintaining power supply, cooling mechanisms, and more.

That’s why numerous healthcare institutions move towards a more cost-efficient option—cloud storage. This requires less capital investment because organizations can scale up and expand depending on their needs. They can start with a smaller space and gradually increase it as the need for storage grows. Cloud storage solutions also lessen management costs through simplified monitoring and reduce the need for on-premise hardware.

Vulnerabilities To Ransomware

Healthcare data and applications are necessary so healthcare employees can provide proper patient care. Cybercriminals know this, which is why they target these in exchange for ransom. Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks users from accessing data and applications until payment is sent to the criminal. For instance, you might encounter encrypted files and will only be given a decryption key upon settling the ransom.

This type of malware can spread in a system in a variety of ways. Employees could accidentally download it when accessing compromised websites or when clicking on phishing email attachments. These messages try to duplicate legitimate organizations, so users might click on them without checking or verifying their authenticity.

To combat this problem, it is vital to train healthcare employees on how to avoid malicious sites and files. Other than that, IT security measures are also critical in order to detect and isolate suspicious files.

For example, anti-ransomware solutions like Deep Discovery Email Inspector from Trend Micro help detect ransomware from malicious email. Detection is done at the entry point so that the attacks can be blocked before they can even begin. This is made possible through custom sandboxing and other techniques to facilitate the blocking or isolation of such emails.

Another challenge in the healthcare industry is the vulnerability of operational technology (OT) systems and devices — such as CT scans and ultrasound machines — to threats. Since patient outcomes heavily depend on these devices, a disruption could be problematic. Malware could enter the devices and compromise the facility’s computer systems. Fortunately, Trend Micro’s OT solution, the TXOne, can help protect these machine’s entry points from any such threats that can hamper their functionality without downtimes.

Risk Of Data Loss

Because data is crucial to healthcare facilities, many take steps to prevent data loss. But this could still happen due to human error, computer viruses, and hardware destruction. This could affect patient care and lead to downtime. Data loss could also affect the reputation of an organization and trigger legal action from patients.

This is why aside from having additional storage, having backups of important files and data is necessary. Recovering lost data can be expensive, time-consuming, and impossible to completely do. But with a backup, files and applications can be restored faster for smooth continuation of operations.

In some cases, however, criminals also target backups. Fortunately, solutions like Unitrends doesn’t just offer backups, but also ransomware detection and recovery. Backup data is stored in an immutable format, which means that it can’t be accessed by ransomware. This way, it remains safe and ready for recovery. Aside from that, Unitrends also utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze ransomware infections during every backup.

Telemedicine And BYOD

Gone are the days when pagers were the main communication device for healthcare workers. Today, smartphones are the gadget of choice to interact with team members, streamline workflows, and access patient information. By allowing medical workers to use their own devices, healthcare facilities can enjoy huge savings while benefiting from increased work efficiency.

With the pandemic not ending anytime soon, outpatients and physicians can have virtual consultations too. This means that health workers need to have access to their facilities’ electronic health records remotely. This way, they can document e-visits properly and provide continuous care for their patients.

One of the best ways to make telemedicine possible is through the power of cloud computing. This allows health workers to access applications and files that can make work from remote locations possible. With cloud security solutions available, healthcare organizations could secure endpoint devices so physicians can work efficiently whether they’re at the hospital or at home.

A reliable way of accessing the cloud is by using Citrix Virtual Apps. With this, doctors can do work on their tablets while on their rounds and access work from their computers at home. From getting patient information, collaborating with other doctors and patients, and providing patient care anytime — health care workers can do all of these remotely, on the field, or at the hospital. These can all be achieved with regulatory compliance and meeting all HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) standards.

Key Takeaway

With an increase in data, ever-present cyber threats, risk of data loss, BYOD protocols, and telemedicine on the rise, the need for advanced IT solutions is vital for the healthcare industry. These can help organizations reduce the risk of downtime and provide high-quality care for their patients.

If you want to solve these information technology problems in the healthcare industry, CT Link can help you! You can send a message here today so we can assist you in choosing an IT solution that is fit for your needs.

6 Benefits Of Switching To Virtual Workspaces

What are the benefits of switching to virtual workspaces?

  1. Improved Employee Experience
  2. Increased Productivity
  3. Convenient Transition To Remote Work
  4. Enhanced Security
  5. Reduced Costs And Expenses
  6. Opportunity To Scale Up

Unlike the physical office, a digital workplace is not located in one place. Rather, it connects your workers from different places through the internet. While this was once out of the ordinary, the advancement of technology makes the experience much more user-friendly. As such, countless organizations are switching to virtual workspaces to have the benefits they bring. If you’re interested, keep on reading to learn more.

Improved Employee Experience

Switching to a digital workplace means that you’re putting your people first. For example, with Citrix Workspace, you can simplify your team’s tasks because all the tools they need are in a single place. It also allows you to manage your applications and software without hassle.

With your storage and applications in one location, your employees don’t have to waste time searching for files on different platforms. Uploads and downloads are also faster and access to workload is available to multiple devices so they can customize their work style as they see fit.

Increased Productivity

With user-friendly tools available to them at all times, your employees will have increased productivity at work. This way, it is easy to get more tasks done in less time especially if they don’t have to figure out complicated software. And if you choose user-friendly platforms such as the Citrix Workspace, your staff can do things on their own and leave your IT team to more crucial tasks.

With a work environment that promotes transparency, your employees can conveniently track the status of any task and contribute to it in real-time. This means that there are fewer follow-ups, emails, and downtime in your processes. Instead, there is more time for innovation and workflow improvement.

Convenient Transition To Remote Work

With your work tools available online anytime and anywhere, it gives your employees a chance to do their work remotely. This leads to less commute stress and travel time while providing more hours for rest. With an improved work-life balance, your staff will end up happy and satisfied. This way, you have higher chances of retaining them for a long time.

Because work from home setups provide applicants opportunities outside of their geographic location, it also means that you can recruit talented people from across the country. With the freedom to work wherever they prefer, most candidates will find it enjoyable to work in a virtual workspace. In addition to that, you will also benefit from their assistance in business opportunities in their locale.

Enhanced Security

But with all these benefits, some of you might be concerned about the security measures needed when working online. Fortunately, platforms such as Citrix Workspace can provide assurance through continuous user risk assessment. Instead of reacting to threats, it helps your organization proactively detect these problems in real-time. And the best thing is, it doesn’t affect employee experience.

Aside from that, it also contains a secure browser and multi-factor authentication feature for your applications—whether they’re on the web or on your desktop. With all these, you can not only protect your users but also data that are important for your business.

Reduced Costs And Expenses

With improved employee experience, productivity, flexibility, and security, you may be thinking of the expenses of maintaining a virtual workplace. The good news is, it is a more cost-effective alternative than a physical office. Because you can manage a team remotely, you don’t have to pay for building space, furniture, electrical bills, security personnel, and maintenance. Your staff can also save time and money on travel.

And if you choose a user-friendly platform such as the Citrix Workspace, you won’t need to have a large IT team to maintain your applications and on-premise server. Instead, you can invest your funds in assets that will make your business grow. This may be a bigger inventory, talent, or a new service.

Opportunity For Scaling Up

Because of the chance to handle a remote team while reducing costs, you can grab this opportunity to scale up your business anytime you want. When you have a physical office, you have to invest in additional tables, chairs, and computers when you need new employees. For mass hirings, you also have to move to a bigger office to accommodate the increase in office population.

For this reason, companies that have virtual offices have the advantage when scaling up. And because virtual workspaces can be customized according to your organization’s needs, you can opt for additional features depending on your changing requirements in the future.

Key Takeaway

Compared to a physical office, a virtual office provides numerous benefits for your organization and employees. With opportunities to improve productivity and flexibility, you can expect your financial status to increase drastically. And the best thing is, you can always customize your workplace as you see fit.

If you want to experience these virtual workspaces benefits, you can contact CT Link! As a legitimate provider of Citrix Workspace in the country, you can transition to a digital office with ease. We also offer other cloud platforms, security software, and data protection solutions. Click here to learn more!

Citrix Case Study: Saint Francis Hospital

Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is an acute care hospital located in Hartford, Connecticut. Since its founding by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chambéry in 1897, Saint Francis has grown into New England’s largest Catholic hospital, with 617 beds and major clinical concentrations in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, rehabilitation, and women and infant services.

The challenge: Consolidating 34 legacy applications into a single EMR Platform and addressing their Mobile device risk growth.

As an early innovator in the healthcare industry, they were already deploying computerized physician entry (CPOE) systems far back as 20 years ago.  This was at the time before patient management software were an American healthcare standard.  At present however, the IT leaders in the organization have recognized that they need to simplify and consolidate their 34 legacy applications into a single unified electronic medical record (EMR) platform if they want to continue to be ahead of the industry.  This is especially challenging when considering that a majority of the hospital’s doctor’s work in independent offices.

The Solution: Deploying a new EMR system across thousands of workstations and mobile devices

Saint Francis had already been using Citrix technology for years, specifically Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp (now VirtualDesktop and VirtualApp respectively).  These products helped Saint Francis with their on-demand application delivery for both their physical and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  However, the main problem they encountered after they did a preliminary security audit was that there were security gaps due to the approach they took with mobile devices.  So to ensure that they kept their users empowered with the choice of their own device, they decided to also use XenMobile to help lessen the security threats. “When XenMobile arrived on the scene, we were able to get all the features we wanted, along with a simple licensing package from a vendor we already trusted.” Says Paul Dzierwinski, manager of systems administration at Saint Francis.

After 18 months of preparation, the hospital was successful in transferring their 1.3 million patient records in a smooth rollout.

Key Benefits

Helping ensure the timely launch of a new enterprise-wide platform

  • The team checked with all workstations to ensure that during launch period that each endpoint would run smoothly.

Facilitating the exchange of patient information and reducing medical errors

  • The streamlined EMR system helped convenience customers so that patient records could be shared securely via the system to the intended recipient, be it hospitals, doctors or healthcare entities.

Enabling anytime, anywhere access to EMR data as part of a larger BYOD initiative

  • The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative has helped end users have a seamless experience while making sure that Saint Francis has a degree of control for security, being able to wipe a lost phone is one of the possibilities.

To learn more about Citrix products, you can visit our product page here or you may contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to help you!

Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

In case you didn’t hear, another big vulnerability was reported by Microsoft on May 14, 2019 known as “BlueKeep” which takes advantage vulnerabilities of Remote Desktop Services (RDS), Remote Code Execution (RCE), and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  However, BlueKeep only affects older version of Windows, so users of Windows 10 and 8 can rest easy.  The severity of the vulnerability though has forced the hand of Microsoft and they have actually made and released a security patch for its unsupported versions.  They have classified this vulnerability as a critical level threat.

This is why as of June 4, 2019, Microsoft once again urged its customers to apply the patch as soon as possible as more than 1 million devices are still vulnerable to the attack.  This is to avoid another widescale malware attacks like those of the WannaCry ransomware attack back in 2017.  Many companies were affected by the attack and caused many business operations to stop, more notably hospital operations.

What can you do to avoid being affected?

Microsoft has already provided the solution to BlueKeep, make sure you download the latest security patch for your corresponding OS (you can find the patches here).  You may need to reboot your servers to ensure the patch is running properly.

For those who are Trend Micro users, specifically those who use Deep Security, if you are unable to apply the patch due to other reasons, such as being unable to reboot your servers, please make sure that you apply the correct policy for the virtual patching of Deep Security to ensure the security of your servers.  Below is the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) rule:

  • 1009749 – Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

You can view the official Trend Micro article on it here.

For those who are looking into a longer-term solution, you can consider solutions such as Citrix Gateway and Virtual Apps to secure your remote connections to Windows servers.

To learn more about these solutions, you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will help introduce you to different options that you have to help prevent these kinds of vulnerabilities!