For Zhao Changlin, an oncologist at a hospital in Guangzhou city, China, life is full of challenges. One of his patients, a woman with late-stage breast cancer, recently begged him to stop her chemotherapy, saying she could no longer bear the pain. Zhao knows only too well the torment the woman is going through – seeing people in pain is an unfortunate but everyday part of his job. He also knows that giving up the treatment could be fatal. "She is only 54 years old.
Healthcare is undoubtedly one of the most crucial sectors for any nation, and obviously a matter for governmental and the private sector's focus. The healthcare system is tasked to ensure that society stays healthy at a reasonable expense. The way healthcare organisations are managed impacts the professional growth and satisfaction of doctors, nurses, counsellors and other healthcare professionals. Yet healthcare is often under resourced; can innovations within the industry reduce costs and improve outcomes? Emerging technology is completely transforming the business models of hospitals and health providers, changing the work of care professionals forever.
Kaiser Health News and Fortune Magazine collaborated on this joint investigation for three months. Fred Schulte is a senior correspondent for KHN. Erika Fry is an investigative reporter for Fortune. Only certain images can be republished by partners. The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli's head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn't feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief. Two months later, Monachelli was dead of a brain aneurysm, a condition that, despite the symptoms and the appointments, had never been tested for or diagnosed until she turned up in the emergency room days before her death. Monachelli's husband sued Stowe, the federally qualified health center the physician worked for. Owen Foster, a newly hired assistant U.S. attorney with the District of Vermont, was assigned to defend the government. Though it looked to be a standard medical malpractice case, Foster was on the cusp of discovering something much bigger -- what his boss, U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan, calls the "frontier of health care fraud" -- and prosecuting a first-of-its-kind case that landed the largest-ever financial recovery in Vermont's history. Patient harm: Electronic health records have created a host of risks to patient safety. Alarming reports of deaths, serious injuries and near misses -- thousands of them -- tied to software glitches, user errors or other system flaws have piled up for years in government and private repositories. Yet no central database exists to compile and study these incidents to improve safety. Signs of fraud: Federal officials say the software can be misused to overcharge, a practice known as "upcoding." Some doctors and health systems are alleged to have overstated their use of the new technology, a potentially enormous fraud against Medicare and Medicaid likely to take years to unravel. Two software makers have paid a total of more than $200 million to settle fraud allegations. Gaps in interoperability: Proponents of electronic health records expected a seamless system so patients could share computerized medical histories in a flash with doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country.
Original article As Halloween approaches, the usual spate of horror movies will intrigue audiences across the US, replete with slashers named Jason or Freddie running amuck in the corridors of all-too-easily accessible hospitals. They grab a hospital gown and the zombies fit right in. While this is just a movie you can turn off, the real horror of patient data theft can follow you. Unfortunately, this scenario is similar to how data thefts often occur at medical facilities. In 2015, the healthcare industry was one of the top three industries hit with serious data breaches and major attacks, along with government and manufacturers.
The cyberattack on MedStar Health -- one of the biggest health-care systems in the Washington region -- is a foreboding sign that an industry racing to digitize patient records and services faces a new kind of security threat that it is ill-prepared to handle, security experts and hospital officials say. For years, hospitals and the health care industry have been focused on keeping patient data from falling into the wrong hands. But the recent attacks at MedStar and other hospitals across the country highlight an even more frightening downside of security breaches: As hospitals have become dependent on electronic systems to coordinate care, communicate critical health data and avoid medication errors, patients' well-being may also be at stake when hackers strike. Hospitals are used to chasing the latest medical innovations, but they are rapidly learning that caring for sick people also means protecting their medical records and technology systems against hackers. An industry that has traditionally spent a small fraction of its budget on cyberdefense is finding it must also teach doctors and nurses not to click on suspicious links and shore up its technical systems against hackers armed with an ever-evolving set of tools.