Heading to HIMSS: How We Can Transform Healthcare IT

For the first time, ER2 is planning a trip to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in Orlando in February. We will be joining Healthcare IT professionals representing various hospital and healthcare systems, all of whom have legitimate interest in protecting patients’ data.

Upon closer inspection of the dialogue we’ve seen on Twitter, in related articles, and the HIMSS blog, there’s a few themes that caught our attention:

  • Managing the ever-sprawling data and devices that are designed to improve patient care, but can pose challenges to healthcare IT, especially as the Internet of Things seeks to tie everything together.

  • Cybersecurity - how to minimize the risk, as well as the cost, of protecting patient and other electronic medical data

  • Costs - wherever costs can be contained, it’s a win. However the demand for cutting edge technology places a demand on IT staffing in addition to the equipment costs

healthcare IT

As we look at the issues that draw a vast attendance in the tens of thousands to the conference, we’re also noting the focus is on the IT assets currently in the clinics and hospitals. However, our question becomes focused on what happens to all of that data when these assets are scheduled for disposal and leave the facility?

Because of the data-rich targets it presents, healthcare has realized massive breaches affecting millions of individuals, a trend that hasn’t improved over the past several years.

  • In 2016, an estimated $6.2 billion in healthcare data breach costs were reported at an average of $2.2 million per breach

  • 2018’s numbers through July included 6.1 million individuals in 229 separate breaches

  • HIPAA reported the average cost had risen sharply to $3.86 million globally, with U.S. average costs nearly double at $7.91 million

  • Mega data breaches (involving 1 million or more records) take an average of 365 days to detect, and cost $40 million on average to resolve

  • Response teams and use of encryption reduces those costs but require having such disaster response teams trained and in place ahead of time.

  • Healthcare budgets for security have conversely declined by 10 percent, a gap that is not likely to improve in the near future.

So, if assets within the walls of a clinic or hospital need safeguarding, we feel it stands to reason that those that leave the building require as much if not more, as they contain valuable data as well as they make the trip away from the hospital or clinic. ER2’s expertise in secure data destruction is also providing hospitals and healthcare systems with a standard of assurance that from the moment we take possession of your aging tech, it is securely transported and handled. Our business model also provides healthcare clients with IT asset disposal at no or low-cost, and also does so while freeing up the precious human resources of IT departments.

As for accountability, clients receive extensive reporting on the progress of their deployment, receiving certificates of destruction that record each of the devices deployed. Reports can even be generated to quantify the cost savings to the IT department.

The most unique twist in our story is that clients can “bank” a portion of their IT asset value to apply to a nonprofit of their choice, utilizing the other pillar of our business model, which seeks to serve our communities. The refurbished assets become new opportunities for students in vulnerable communities to learn, grow, and compete in the workplace.

We’re excited to join such a large group of committed professionals whose ultimate aim is patient care. Our part is a small part of the overall goals, but nonetheless critical in the overall health of the system itself.

So, the process really is full circle...tech in the hands of healthcare workers, surgeons, doctors, and nurses is disposed of securely, and transformed into tech that will help create future healthcare workers, surgeons, doctors, nurses...and perhaps IT professionals as well. With that, we look forward to sharing our story with you in February.

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