In Healthcare, Secure Communications is Key

Recently, a few of us traveled to New Jersey for the HIMMS Fall Conference.  It’s always interesting to learn how our customers are utilizing the Mimecast services and how they interact with their healthcare peers.  The event had a fantastic turnout.  We found the Healthcare Transformations track, in particular, offered some fascinating conversations, including: “Why Interoperability with Community Providers Needs to be a Top Priority for Health,” “Building the Virtual Cancer Center” and “Top 10 Ways an HIE Can Go Wrong.” Among these three sessions and panels, there was a clear message: healthcare organizations need open, connected and secure communications. Although the speakers in each session represented a variety of organizations and shared different anecdotes, there was a common belief that creating secure communication between hospitals and physician groups is a key requirement to achieve Meaningful-use Stage 2. Each speaker emphasized that leveraging HIEs and having secure communications capabilities enhances the quality of care and significantly improves the patient experience. In addition to these discussions, we also found the following trends prevalent in our conversations:

  • BYOD.  Justin Pirie, Mimecast Cloud Strategist, led the session BYOD and the Cloud and found attendees were especially interested in learning how to secure PHI on Mobile devices. In addition to managing and enabling employees’ mobile and tablet devices, the healthcare BYOD challenges are two-fold: how to embrace the proliferation of these devices and secure data on each device to provide better patient care.
  • Sustainability of health information exchanges.  From both a financial and technical perspective, healthcare organizations are beginning to pay close attention to ways of managing and sustaining their information exchanges beyond government funding. For some organizations, traditional email technology doesn’t enable HIPAA privacy, security, and compliancy.
  • Business intelligence and analytics.  Healthcare organizations are stewards of mountains of data.  The challenge is how to leverage the data to deliver better care affordably.   Organizations are looking for solutions that surface BI to improve processes, enhance secure communications, and mitigate risk at lower costs.
  • Managing the technology and regulation gulf.  While regulatory challenges remain a key issue, conversations at the conference revolved around how healthcare organizations can leverage existing technology infrastructure, introduce new systems and solutions, all while ensuring workforce productivity and meeting all regulatory requirements.  For example, technologies that allow healthcare organizations to build a secure messaging environment were a big focus during the event.

In summary, NJ HIMSS was a very informative conference.  We left feeling energized knowing that our customers and their peers are vigilantly pursuing better ways to improve their technology ecosystem, in order to continually provide affordable quality care.