Healthcare IT Risk Mitigation - A Network - Centric approach
The Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries today - thanks to the increased consciousness to seek a healthy living and the ease of access to excellent medical care. With such unprecedented surge in demand for medical care, Hospitals cannot but seek a strong and robust IT system across their setting to manage efficiently. In fact today the IT department is as common as a radiology department in most hospitals. Hospitals rely on IT system, and Computer networks to manage the entire patient treatment cycle - from admission to discharge, to the extent that they have come to view the IT department as a value-enhancer, away from the "The cost-centre" that they were once considered to be.
The flip-side to this overarching reliance on IT is that even the slightest glitch in the IT system could bring down the hospital on its knees. Add to it the federal laws like HIPAA that seek intense scrutiny of the IT system security and patient data integrity, and the job of the IT System/Network manager becomes all the more difficult.
This paper puts forth a solution to overcome the various challenges/risks that today's healthcare institutions face and puts forth a solution to overcome the IT related risks.
The Healthcare Institution of today
Healthcare institutions come in all sizes - from the basic only-outpatient-treatment-centre down the road to the large Medical centre in Universities to the very large community healthcare centres. What is common to them is the strong IT system that each has in place and the much stronger strict federal laws that each is governed by - only that in the case of the large and very large centres the law is more pronounced and the fallouts of not complying with the laws could mean damaging ramifications. The IT spending by Healthcare Institutions today is like never before. This is mainly on account of the need to manage the health related information of numerous patients and their medical histories. The other reason for IT proliferation is the interest in leveraging the treatment given. The diagram below captures the prime drivers of IT in healthcare.
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Fred Hassard, Sr. Network Engineer, Adventist Health