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5 Things CIOs Need to Know

By AGS Health

September 6, 2022

The role of healthcare CIOs is changing rapidly. CIOs are more than visionaries who propel the healthcare sector forward. In recent years, healthcare has undergone significant change and innovation. Until recently, being a CIO in healthcare came with limitations. But, as the industry evolved, so did the responsibilities of this critical role.

Today, CIOs are happily embracing these overdue changes. According to State of the CIO Statistics, 31% of respondents classified their role as strategic this year. Furthermore, 63% of transformational CIOs and 71% of strategic CIOs categorized the work as more rewarding, compared to only 46% of CIOs still saddled with mostly functional duties. Their findings also concluded that security and IT strategy are tightly integrated today compared to only 37% in 2016, which should be no surprise given the recent attacks on healthcare data – making cyber security a critical function of the CIO.

With these added responsibilities, here are five things healthcare CIOs need to understand.

1) Prioritize Security/Cybersecurity

Healthcare cybersecurity breach statistics are shocking:

  • Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations increased by 94% year over year, according to the 2022 State of Ransomware Report from cybersecurity firm Sophos. While the report was across all industries, the healthcare organization payout rate was 47%.
  • The number of individuals affected by healthcare data breaches was 249.09 million; 157.40 million individuals were affected within the last five years.
  • The healthcare industry has faced the highest number of breaches among all industries.
  • A 2017 IBM and Ponemon Institute study found the average cost of a healthcare organization data breach is $7.35 million.

For hackers, medical records are worth ten times more than credit card numbers since they contain valuable data that can be misused. These threats will only grow in complexity and destructiveness over time, especially as technology advances and hackers become more skilled. Breaches are becoming more intricate and difficult to predict.

Deloitte Cyber Risk Services published “Beneath the surface of a cyberattack: A deeper look at business impacts” to show cyberattacks’ long-lasting effects and costs. For example, one data breach scenario discussed in the report was at a health insurance provider. Deloitte calculated the total cost at over $1.6 billion over a five-year timeframe.

The threat is real and chronic. CIOs must understand the long-term consequences of data breaches and prioritize cyber security. Healthcare data requires enhanced security, and it should be breach proof.

2) Shift From On-Premises Data Centers to Cloud

The cloud is a reliable, secure option for some of the largest businesses today. According to the State of Security, 64% of enterprise companies believe cloud infrastructure is more secure than legacy systems.

Many healthcare organizations are transitioning from on-premises data centers to the cloud. When data resides in the cloud, responsibility for maintenance, technology upgrades, staffing, and human resources shift from the healthcare organization to the cloud provider. With the pace of change in technology and security, there could be cost savings when using the cloud vs an on-premises data center.

3) Staying Abreast of the Latest Technology is Essential

A CIOs role is integral to the success of business operations. It helps to generate revenue. CIOs must be well-versed in the latest IT technologies and security threats to protect organizational and patient data.

Some of the largest healthcare data breaches occurred in 2021. Across the 686 healthcare data breaches in 2021, 44,993,618 healthcare records were exposed or stolen, making 2021 the second-worst year in terms of breached healthcare records, according to HIPAA Journal.

Technologies, such as the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), telemedicine, remote monitoring, and virtual reality (VR), are reshaping healthcare. CIOs must be aware of the latest technologies and how those technologies benefit the organization and patients.

4) Cloud Leverages Advanced Security Technologies

There are many benefits to having cloud-based SaaS technology run your systems. Cloud-based security services offer many advantages over traditional security deployments, including:

  • Eliminating the need to update and patch standalone software.
  • Encryption and transmission security protect against unauthorized access to EPHI transmitted. All data in transit must be encrypted using a robust protocol, a strong key exchange, and a solid cipher to prevent potential misuse or unauthorized access.
  • Round-the-clock monitoring of all events. If a service or component is unavailable, AutoScaling automatically spawns new instances of that service or feature.
  • Rapid deployment and self-service are available via a web-based portal.
  • Ability to quickly scale and expand security coverage without investing in new infrastructure.
  • Pricing and service level agreements are flexible and service-oriented.
  • Affordable. No need to buy, install, or maintain on-premise security hardware.

5) Clinician Workflow

Hospital expansions, mergers, and acquisitions require CIOs to support employees by way of unified communications tools that make workflow communication and clinical work simple, intuitive, and scalable. A unified clinical workflow is critical. CDI and CAC software, hosted in the cloud, allows for HIPAA compliance and can help CIOs leverage technology to optimize resources. Quality patient care requires an efficient clinical workflow that reduces DNFB, eliminates downtime, and facilitates communication and work.

In Conclusion

Successful CIOs must focus on the big picture – understanding advancements in technology and system threats, while also focusing on day-to-day improvements, such as how staff can benefit from technology and how technology can streamline operations.

AGS Health has a platform that’s hosted on a HIPAA-compliant, AWS cloud. For data encryption, proactive monitoring, data security, network protection, and identity and access management, our cloud infrastructure uses the most advanced technologies available. It offers enhanced authentication, penetration and vulnerability testing, real-time threat monitoring, network behavior analysis, and security alert analysis, among other services. As a result, customers benefit from best-in-class security, virtually zero downtime, faster data recovery mechanisms, easy application scalability, and data availability of 100 percent.

AGS Health

Author

AGS Health is more than a revenue cycle management company–we’re a strategic partner for growth. By blending technologies, services, and expert support, AGS Health partners with leading healthcare organizations across the US to deliver tailored solutions that solve the unique needs and challenges of each provider’s revenue cycle operations. The company leverages the latest advancements in automation, process excellence, security, and problem-solving through the use of technology and analytics–all made possible with college-educated, trained RCM experts. AGS Health employs more than 10,000 team members globally and partners with more than 100 clients across a variety of care settings, specialties, and billing systems.

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