Preventing Malware Infections Starts With Good Cyber Hygiene

By the EHRA Privacy & Security Workgroup

Danger enter keyJust as healthcare clinical staff recognize the value of good physical hygiene to prevent infection, good cyber hygiene can prevent malware infections. 

The number one preventative step? Staff vigilance. Everyone must be careful with clicks — whether it be an email, website link, or file attachment. Even as we’re inundated with information in today’s fast-paced digital world, taking the time to think before you click is just as important in preventing digital infections as washing hands between patients is in preventing bacterial infection.

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Strategic Healthcare Leaders Recognize Cybersecurity As A Patient Safety Risk

By the EHRA Privacy & Security Workgroup

Cybersecurity leadership quote(1)For many C level executives in a healthcare organization, cybersecurity equates to risk of a cyberattack that results in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) breach and fine. 

The bigger risk posed by a cyberattack, however, is to patient safety. If you get anything from this blog post, it should be this: Cybersecurity incidents affect more than HIPAA compliance, and should be treated as a patient safety risk. 

By categorizing cyberattacks as a patient safety risk, it escalates the importance of cybersecurity as more than mitigating a potential HIPAA fine.

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Ransomware: Lessons from the Front Lines

By EHRA Privacy & Security Workgroup

The ER was bustling with a full cast of colorful characters, as it always is on Halloween, when creepy messages started appearing on every single device: 

Ransomware message3

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Enabling Improved Price Transparency In Healthcare

price transparEncyOn June 3, the public comment period on ONC’s NPRM implementing health IT provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act closed. These comment windows offer a unique opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the state of the health IT industry. 

Upon our review of the feedback submitted to ONC, an overwhelming trend emerged—nearly 55% of the 2,013 comments were from individual patients commenting in favor of increased price transparency in the healthcare industry. Patients shared stories of the challenges they faced in determining the cost of treatment before receiving care, and dozens expressed the shock and financial hardship they experienced when they received a bill for their care. 

In the months since the public comment window closed, we’ve seen this demand for healthcare price transparency gain attention across the industry. President Trump issued an executive order, and the Senate is considering the “Lower Health Care Costs Act,” legislation that aims to improve patient access to price information in the healthcare industry.

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Interoperability: Promise and Progress 

Interoperability(1)For healthcare providers and their patients, interoperability holds the promise to substantially improve quality and reduce costs, while enabling coordination of care and engagement of patients with their caregivers. As ONC’s annual Interoperability Forum gets underway, it’s important to focus not just on where we want to be, but on how far we’ve come. 

EHRA members are strong proponents of health information exchange; our members have supported hundreds of thousands of providers in their effort to exchange electronic health information through the development of interoperability modules in their solutions, and participation in industry frameworks such as the eHealth Exchange, CommonWell Health Alliance, and Carequality.  (more…)

Throwing My Hat in the Ring for EHRA

By Alise Widmer, RN

Hat on tableBeginning in 2012, and continuing as I transitioned from one EHR company to another, I was a passive member of EHRA workgroups. Listening in on biweekly calls, I became more impressed by the work that so many volunteers do on behalf of EHRA — especially when you consider it’s in addition to their demanding day jobs. 

I’m inspired by what I’ve observed as sincere passion for the greater good of the healthcare community. Yes, there is also robust advocacy on behalf of the EHR vendor community, but the efforts I’ve witnessed go beyond supporting corporate interests to an embrace of patient safety efforts and other demonstrations of a conscientious stewardship of the role of electronic health records in enhancing patient care. I began to want a more involved role in the association (as opposed to the normal ‘multi-tasking’ I would do during workgroup calls), so last year I decided to “throw my hat in the ring,” and was honored to be appointed as vice chair of the Standards & Interoperability Workgroup when that position became vacant mid-term. (more…)

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