The healthcare market has in recent years been experiencing significant changes. Developments such as patient demographics, regulatory and legislative changes and the introduction of new medical techniques and technologies are compelling a reevaluation of health data utility (Raghupadthi, & Raghupadthi, 2014). With most the information hosted on information technology infrastructure, cybersecurity is an ever present variable.
Collaboration across healthcare related industries can result in the development of unique products and services. A good example is Mayo’s collaboration with molecular and biotechnology firms to innovate novel medical procedures. Mergers and acquisitions afford participating hospitals economies of scale that can, in turn, translate to higher margins because provision of healthcare is a capital intensive industry.
The higher margins that large care providers enjoy are a result of their being able to spread their fixed expenditures, an advantageous development in a very competitive industry. The maintenance and expansion of teaching is advantageous for hospitals because it not only ensures a ready supply of highly qualified healthcare professionals, but also enables such hospitals readily forecast treads in the healthcare industry.
Changes in health insurance legislation, such as the rollout of the ACA, increased health insurance enrollment (Kowalski, 2014). Increased enrollments rates put a strain on the healthcare capacity nationwide because of the lack of a proportional expansion of hospitals and number of physicians per patient (Marr, 2015). Consequently, responding to major increases in patient volumes is an ongoing challenge.
Like other capital intensive undertakings, hospitals often have to contend with bad debts that arise when they offer services to patients without insurance cover or the means to pay out of pocket. Although healthcare is a basic right, not everyone that hospitals caters to can afford the same because of various factors such individuals that lack a health insurance policy, unemployment or a combination of both.
Hospitals have to continuously raise funds for the improvement and expansion of their infrastructure and services they offer. Fund raising for hospitals is not a straight forward operation, as administrators have to satisfy regulators and justify capital injection from financiers. To illustrate, hospitals with poor credit ratings or that have exhibited recent regularly irregularities cannot raise funds crucial for the improvement or expansion of their services.
Data Points and Integration
Healthcare providers rely on a variety of data points such as electronic health records (EHRs), capacity of health facility in question and social and community health determinants to manage the quality of care they deliver. Stakeholders and administrators use data to evaluate fundamental indicators such as adherence regulations, teaching and research, prudent fiscal management and quality of care. In recent years, cybersecurity threats have meant that organizations of all sizes have had to invest in measures to ensure the safety of data.
Electronic health records (EHRs) have converged the interactions between caregivers and patients. Caregivers can readily access patient histories and identify best treatment interventions while patients can monitor the progress of treatment through the healthcare system and offer feedback to their attending physicians. The Mayo clinic’s website for instance makes it possible for patients to review treatment information and links them to primary caregivers for further consultations and treatment (MFMER, 2019). In order to ensure seamless access to its online services, the Mayo clinic has assigned its staff and patients unique access identifiers. Importantly, the clinic has stressed the importance of keeping access information safe and confidential.
The cybersecurity of patient records and other information is an important factor for stakeholders, administers and staff in determining the extent to which the hospital is fulfilling its mandate. A low frequency of major system breaches for example is indicative of a robust information technology environment.
Cybersecurity is playing an increasing role in how policymakers and stakeholders approach the provision of medical services. Cyber security is important given that health data includes household compositions, communities’ access to first responder services, crime rates, education and income levels and so forth. Therefore, securing health-related data is a vital part of the delivery quality care to patients.
Kowalski, A. E. (2014). The early impact of the Affordable Care Act state-by-state. National Bureau of Economic Research No. w20597 Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/papers/w20597
Marr, B. (2015). How big data is changing healthcare. Forbes Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/04/21/how-big-data-is-changing-healthcare/#4f31c05a2873
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) (2019). Patient online services. Retrieved from https://gpsnetx.mayoclinic.org/psi/content/staticpatient/showpage/patientonline
Raghupadthi, W., & Raghupadthi, V. (2014). Big data analytics in healthcare: Promise and potential. Health Information Science and Systems 2(3) Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341817/
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