Health Technology, Digital Healthcare
Article | September 7, 2023
There are times that we encounter negative thoughts that can be overwhelming.
For some people, the more they try to get rid of their thoughts, the stronger they become.
As a result, here is a brief list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their negative thinking.
1. Do not focus on your fearful thinking: The first thing a person must do is not to dwell on the fear provoking thought when it comes. The more a person tries to reason out on the fear behind the thought, the stronger it becomes. The next time you encounter a negative situation, get into the practice of not dwelling on it.
2. Think of a red stop sign: At times, a person might encounter a fearful thought that may be difficult to manage. When this happens, visualize a red stop sign which can serve as a reminder to think about something else. Regardless of how scary your negative thinking may be, do not dwell on it. This technique is great in dealing with your negative situations and depression.
3. Its only fear: The difference between an obsessive thought and a regular one is that an obsessive thought is based on fear. With this in mind, try to find the source of the fear behind your negative thinking and then find ways to get rid of your worries.
4. Your thoughts are exaggerated: Sometimes, a person may encounter a lot of scary thoughts coming at them all at once. Instead of getting upset, remember that your negative thinking is exaggerated with worry. Ignore the fear behind these obsessive thoughts, regardless how the strong the fear may be.
5. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking: When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge them by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your negative thinking.
6. Carry a small notebook of positive statements with you: A person should keep a small notebook of positive statements that makes them feel good. Whenever they come across a positive and uplifting verse that makes them happy, write it down in a small notebook. A person can then carry this notebook around in their pocket and whenever they feel anxious, they can read their notebook.
7. Take it one day at a time: Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your situation. In addition, you will not feel overwhelmed with everything if you focus on one thing at a time.
8. Get help: Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future.
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare
Article | August 16, 2023
Mental illness is a fatal illness. Surprisingly, mental health is grossly underfunded all over the world. Despite countries' economic strength, there are still no long-term and solution-driven results for addressing mental health. According to WHO reports, only one in every fifty people receives medical treatment for severe mental illnesses.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global initiative to create a more equitable and sustainable world. According to the World Health Organization, "there can be no health or sustainable development without proper mental health." As a result, mental health is one of the most critical pillars in creating a sustainable world in the future. In short, if mental health is good, sustainability will follow naturally.
Positive Mental Health = Thriving Sustainability
According to the WHO’s decision-making body, ‘The World Health Assembly (WHA),’ mental health deserves to be at the top of the sustainability agenda because it affects people of all ages.
It means anybody can be diagnosed with a mental illness, which is directly proportionate to sustainable development. So, a similar amount of treatments, diagnoses, and awareness should help people overcome mental illness.
However, on the other hand, according to the WHO's 2020 Mental Health Atlas, only 23% of patients with mental illnesses have been integrated into healthcare systems in developing countries. This highlights the undeniable fact that the world's 280 million people suffering from depression have been kept away from receiving a proper diagnosis, treatment, and care. Moreover, up to 85% of people with mental illnesses are untreated. The numbers are shocking!
Such statistics are enough evidence to create a supportive culture free of the stigma that mental illness is incurable and encourage patients to seek help when they need it. It includes geography-specific mental health resources, proper diagnosis, care, medication, availability, accessibility, other requirements, and adequate support systems.
Global Action is Key to Both
Providers of mental health services cannot do it alone. Instead, it requires a strong global response. In this case, leading companies and legislative bodies should exert influence to promote cost-effective, widely accessible, and evidence-based treatments for mental health disorders.
Some low-cost solutions to this global problem will eradicate it and bring about long-term development to support this point. As a result, the solutions are as follows
Improving social and economic environments as part of sustainable development
Integrating mental health into general primary health care
Providing appropriate care and treatment through trained and supervised community members
Using technology to introduce the most up-to-date solutions for mental health disorders
Transformation is essential today, both technically and in terms of humanizing. Otherwise, sustainable development will be impossible to achieve unless the enormous challenge of mental health is addressed. Therefore, healthcare leaders will need to develop transitional plans to increase coverage in real-time to accomplish this. This should include proper diagnosis and progressive tracking of mental health treatments.
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare
Article | September 8, 2023
Momentum in digital healthcare transformation… it’s massive, and much needed.
As organizations adapt to new modes of care, demands on resources, and consumer expectations, payors and providers are eyeing opportunities to reduce costs, improve care, build awareness, and expand relationships.Here are 8 trends we’re currently tracking into 2021:
The evolution of healthcare will be characterized by a reengineering of clinical care and operations around digital health and pervasive real-time use of data and advanced analytics. Gartner
The current landscape has underscored the importance of improving workflows, achieving greater clinical efficiencies and better integrating data across organizations through tools like natural language processing, remote process automation, and cloud-based technologies. Becker’s Hospital Review
Now more than ever, healthcare organizations must build a multi-channel digital experience portfolio to deliver personalized consumer-centric experiences that drive engagement and reduce costs. Becker’s Hospital Review
With increasing emphasis on cross-platform (EHR, CRM, CMS, virtual health, etc.) and cross-organizational data portability, advanced APIs and interoperability should ensure secure and efficient data exchanges between EHR systems, devices, and various channels of care. Forbes
COVID-19 has pushed telehealth into the mainstream, and adoption has gained impressive traction. Expect expansions of asynchronous virtual care leveraging integrated wearable technologies. Business Insider Intelligence / Research and Markets
With more healthcare data available, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will provide greater speed and insights to analyze and predict outcomes that drive change in patient care. Gartner / Forrester
Organizations will continue looking to Social Determinant of Health strategies to help understand health disparities – including those highlighted through COVID-19 infections – and alleviate some of the financial strains while delivering high quality care. Fierce Healthcare / Healthify
Successfully making the transition to offering greater price transparency will not only put healthcare organizations in compliance, but help satisfy patient demand, increasing patient engagement and even point-of-service payments. Health Leaders Media
The strategy imperative
With so much call for transformation, it’s vital to resist the pull of “shiny object” point solutions and to, instead, build a fully-considered digital strategy. Need help getting started? Our healthcare experts help the nation’s largest providers and payers navigate and execute their north star strategy, tackling specific challenges through assessments, best-practice advice, strategy, and roadmaps. Explore our thought leadership and connect with us to learn more today.
Article | November 29, 2023
The healthcare industry has become a prime target for cybercriminals in recent times.
According to The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2023 report from Sophos, six in 10 healthcare organizations have been hit by ransomware in the last 12 months, up from 34% in 2021.
Among this uptick have been several headline-grabbing attacks. For example, Shields Health Care Group became the subject of the single-largest breach affecting any organization globally in April 2023, when 2.3 million patients of the Massachusetts-based medical services provider had their personal data stolen after a cybercriminal gained unauthorized access to the organization’s systems.
Meanwhile, in the UK, a ransomware attack on the University of Manchester occurred in June, affecting an NHS patient data set holding information on 1.1 million patients across 200 hospitals.
Critically, the wealth of data housed in healthcare networks, and the potential impact of data unavailability in healthcare, make the industry both attractive and lucrative to threat actors.
It’s no coincidence that the Sophos report shows the rate of encryption in the healthcare sector is at its highest level in recent years. Of those healthcare organizations which suffered a ransomware attack in 2023, 73% had their data encrypted – up from 61% in 2022. When cybercriminals can successfully take down hospital systems and/or encrypt patient data so it can’t be used, they can blackmail health service providers, demanding significant sums before reinstating systems and/or data availability.
Considering healthcare's critical role as the highest-stake industry in our society, where people's lives depend on its success, the likelihood of attackers achieving their goals is greater than in other sectors, as confirmed by the Sophos report. Indeed, of the 73% of healthcare organizations that had their data encrypted, 42% reported that they paid the requested ransom to recover data.
DSPT and the compliance burden
Without question, the security-related challenges in healthcare are mounting. Right now, industry organizations are operating against a backdrop of unprecedented operational and workforce pressures, spiralling demand for care and industrial action.
Moreover, there is a growing regulatory burden, with organizations continually asked to comply with evolving cybersecurity rules, battling with multiple compliance mandates at any given time.
Take the NHS as an example. According to the 2023 NHS Providers’ Regulation Survey, just over half (52%) of respondents said the regulatory burden on their trust had increased. And this is expected to ramp up further in the future, with the UK government setting out a new 2030 strategy aimed at bolstering cyber resilience in healthcare.
Among the compliance burdens that the NHS faces is the challenge of meeting the requirements of the newly updated Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).
Mandated to minimize cyber risks and enable healthcare providers to maintain a robust information security posture, the DSPT is not a simple checklist of security controls, but a comprehensive toolkit to evaluate current security maturity and establish a risk management programme.
Indeed, in more recent times, DSPT has moved away from being a guide for achieving certain levels of assurance, and toward a mandatory evidence-based system which demands NHS organizations align with 10 precise National Data Guardian (NDG) standards: 1. The organization assures good management and maintenance of identity and access control for its networks and information systems. 2. The organization closely manages privileged user access to networks and information systems supporting essential services. 3. The organization ensures passwords are suitable for the information being protected. 4. Process reviews are held at least once a year where data security is put at risk and following security incidents. 5. Action is taken to address problems as a result of feedback at meetings. 6. All user devices are subject to anti-virus protections, while email services benefit from spam filtering and protection deployed at the corporate gateway. 7. Action is taken on known vulnerabilities based on advice from NHS Digital, and lessons are learned from previous incidents and near misses. 8. The organization has a defined, planned and communicated response to data security incidents impacting sensitive information or key operational services. 9. The organization has demonstrable confidence in the effectiveness of the security of technology, people, and processes relevant to essential services. 10. The organization securely configures the network and information systems that support the delivery of essential services.
Reducing Compliance Challenges with the Right Solutions
Taken individually, these standards may not seem too strenuous to adhere to. However, to be compliant with DSPT, all 10 items need to be completed and deemed ‘satisfactory’.
To tick all 10 key boxes in the most effective and efficient manner simultaneously, organizations should consider their strategy carefully. This could involve embracing supportive tools to accelerate and enhance their compliance journey.
Boiled down, DSPT demands several key things, including unincumbered visibility of the entire ecosystem, as well as the ability to demonstrate secure access, logs and storage, and essential auditing processes to maintain data security.
Achieving these things might appear complicated, even daunting. However, there are solutions known as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems on the market that can make achieving these capabilities, and in turn DSPT compliance, easy.
Here, we outline some of the key features to look out for to meet compliance: • Log retention: A modern SIEM should be able to provide a centralized log storage and big data platform that scales to any organization’s size. Platforms should be able to provide role-based access to log data, including ‘data privacy’ functionality that can mask sensitive data until approved. Log data should not be modified or removed by users once ingested into the platform, while all data held should also be indexed and fully searchable. • Identifying and disabling unnecessary accounts: A good SIEM will also provide account auditing facilities for Active Directory that allow administrators to quickly identify dormant accounts. They should also be able to remove privileged user access when no longer required or appropriate. More sophisticated platforms will be able to do this in an automated manner. • Easy identification of issues: Clear and easily readable dashboards, alerts and reports for user logging activity should be provided, including failed login, apparent brute-force attempts, and bad password management practices. Further, those using machine learning will be able to identify unusual behavior patterns based on a baseline of activities of users and their peer group. • Integrate with third-party threat feeds: It will also be able to integrate with a wide variety of third-party threat feeds that provide information about specific known threat payloads/hashes and destination domains/addresses.
Meeting the mandate
Of course, having the right features in place is only part of the puzzle. For organizations to be truly successful in embracing tools that enable them to meet DSPT compliance more effectively, they should work to ensure that solutions providers offer them ongoing support – both in terms of ease of deployment and to ensure that they are using key systems in an optimal manner.
Scalability is another important aspect to consider.
Systems should be able to scale and continue to support the organization as data volumes increase and become more complex over time.
In respect of scalability, organizations should take time to think about pricing models, ensuring that these are based on the number of devices (nodes). In doing so, it will become easier to accurately budget future costs, as well as provide greater budgeting certainty over the short, medium and longer term.
A converged SIEM allows organizations to prioritize the big picture over individual tools, enabling them to develop a seamless and easy to use security operations setup. Not only does this approach boost cost transparency and eliminate potential complexities with managing a variety of siloed products – equally, it reduces the burdens on security teams, eliminating complexities over system integration and enhancing performance.
A converged SIEM combines key technologies easily to offer improved security outcomes. In doing so, organizations can easily home in on specific standards and adopt security best practices while reducing the burden on security teams tasked with meeting DSPT compliance.