White Paper: Leveraging Funding for EHR


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By 2015, all healthcare organizations must deploy comprehensive Electronic Health Records (EHR) to be in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enacted by the U.S. Congress more than a decade ago in an effort
to reform healthcare. Title II of HIPAA requires healthcare organizations to standardize the interchange of electronic data for specified administrative and financial transactions in order to protect the security and confidentiality of electronic health information.
Meeting these standards is an uphill battle for most healthcare organizations. Transferring documents to an electronic format is a long and expensive process.
While larger enterprises such as hospitals and health systems are leading the switch to EHR, only 13 percent of physicians have implemented EHR systems in their practices.

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White Paper: Leveraging Funding for EHR

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER Leveraging Funding For EHR While Meeting HIPAA RequirementsEHR Adoption Requirements By 2015, all healthcare organizations However, HIPAA requirements do must deploy comprehensive Electronic not discriminate. Everyone is subject Health Records (EHR) to be in to the same penalties of non- compliance with the Health Insurance compliance. Those who fail to adopt Portability and Accountability Act EHR technology in the next five years will (HIPAA) enacted by the U.S. Congress see their Medicare fee schedule for more than a decade ago in an effort professional services reduced by up to to reform healthcare. Title II of HIPAA five percent per year. This urgency to requires healthcare organizations to comply has healthcare professionals standardize the interchange of electronic feeling backed up against a wall because data for specified administrative and many organizations are struggling to financial transactions in order to protect find the funds and resources to afford the security and confidentiality of the EHR transition. electronic health information. That’s why the American Recovery Meeting these standards is an uphill and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) battle for most healthcare organizations. has created an incentive for hospitals Transferring documents to an electronic and doctors who are early adopters of format is a long and expensive process. EHR systems. The ARRA has allocated While larger enterprises such as billions in funds – most of which will hospitals and health systems are leading be paid out in incentives to those who the switch to EHR, only 13 percent of purchase EHR systems. Organizations physicians have implemented EHR can start collecting ARRA funds as soon systems in their practices. as 2011 if their EHR systems are in place. Modernizing Your Network The greatest challenge with the switch with HIPAA privacy statutes, and the to EHR begins with the network. network security necessary to ensure Organizations must continue to comply this privacy comes at a substantial cost. © Windstream 2012 DATE: 3.27.12 | REVISION: 2 | 009575_Leveraging_Funding | CREATIVE: MF | JOB#: 9575 - Leveraging Funding For EHR | COLOR: GS | TRIM: 8.5” x 11”
  2. 2. WHITE PAPER ARRA Payment Table 2011 2012 2013 2014 1st Payment Year Amount 18,000 18,000 15,000 12,000 2nd Payment Year Amount 12,000 12,000 12,000 8,000 3rd Payment Year Amount 8,000 8,000 8,000 4,000 4th Payment Year Amount 4,000 4,000 4,000 0 5th Payment Year Amount 2,000 2,000 0 0 Total $44,000 $44,000 $39,000 $24,000 Data Prioritization Early adopters using EHR by 2011 will Historically, large enterprises have been be eligible to receive up to $44,000 in better than smaller entities at making incentive payments over a five-year the EHR transformation. According to period and up to $18,000 in their first an SK&A poll, 50 percent of healthcare payment year alone. The table outlines systems and 44 percent of hospitals the incentive payment schedule as have made the switch. Yet, larger defined by the ARRA. systems are not immune from difficulties. Networks must be modernized to handle The EHR shift requires significant the volume of traffic and data associated manpower and financial resources, with an EHR system, and the proper and takes time and money away from security measures must be in place other initiatives. Still, smaller entities to protect the privacy of patient data. are struggling to find the resources to Many healthcare entities still run on get started. Lack of IT staff and proper cable or DSL legacy networks that lack technology, as well as budget restraints, the speed, serviceability, and security seem to plague many organizations and needed to support an EHR system. But make EHR installation next to impossible the penalties for non-compliance are for some. substantial and not worth the risk, as fines can be as high as $50,000 per incident and include jail time. © Windstream 2012
  3. 3. WHITE PAPER Subsidizing EHR Costs In order to alleviate the burdens of EHR With the EFS and SFS solutions, system implementation, Windstream companies can have access to the offers exclusive programs called necessary hardware or software while Equipment for Services (EFS) and experiencing minimal or no capital Software for Services (SFS). These outlay. This can free up IT resources programs allow clients to use a portion for enterprises, as well as put those of the money they spend on Windstream lagging behind on track to meet services to subsidize new equipment HIPAA deadlines. and software purchases for their network to effectively install EHR systems. Windstream provides customers with an initial consultation that includes Since the programs began in 1998, insights about their network Windstream has funded more than $90 infrastructure, how to improve it, and million in equipment and software for the technologies and products more than 4,800 customers. With the necessary to provide ample security EFS and SFS programs, Windstream is for EHR implementation And, with the able to work with organizations to help EFS and SFS programs, customers subsidize the up-front purchase costs are not limited to only Windstream of an EHR system, while still allowing software and hardware. Organizations organizations to receive full incentive have the option to work with other payments from the government. communications equipment vendors, or Windstream’s preferred vendors. A Firewall is Not Enough The Windstream team also helps the security of medical records. While customers implement the proper network network firewalls provide a basic line of security solutions needed to meet HIPAA defense, there are still vulnerabilities that requirements. Network security is vital organizations must prepare for in order to the protection of sensitive medical to prevent a network security breach. records data; however, the risk to network security continues to grow. In 2009, Windstream works with customers to Internet crimes such as hackers and design and execute a plan for EHR while malicious software (malware) attacks helping to fund necessary technology increased by 27 percent. and providing security to keep patient information safe. With Windstream’s Private patient data is extremely EFS and SFS programs, healthcare vulnerable to an attack. A layering organizations do not have to navigate of network products and solutions through HIPAA requirements on their is necessary to effectively combat own. They can draw on the expertise malicious activity that may compromise of a true partner. © Windstream 2012
  4. 4. WHITE PAPER Keeping Patient Healthcare organizations may benefit are launched. When an anomaly is Information Safe from Windstream’s Intrusion Detection discovered, both the IDPS customer and Prevention System (IDPS) that and Windstream’s security operations works along with the firewall to provide center are alerted. Windstream both Intrusion Prevention Sensors (IPS) engineers contact the customer about and Intrusion Detection System (IDS) the malicious activity, and also help protection for the entire network. These remediate the problem. systems identify and prevent malware intrusion by examining information With current IDS or IPS solutions, IT via sensors within the network professionals need to sift through a infrastructure. wall of network data that likely contains a great deal of false positives As malware evolves, network security – information that is classified as must keep pace. If not, companies will malicious, but is, in fact, harmless. continue to be at risk for damage to Windstream manages this process for their networks and reputations. One its customers, and has a 99.9999 network security breach can bring percent guarantee against false operations to a screeching stop if patient positives, ensuring that the IT data is jeopardized. professional’s time is spent in the most productive way possible. This fully Windstream’s IDPS sensors provide managed and monitored IDPS solution “zero hour” protection for the helps organizations meet and exceed customer so healthcare organizations HIPAA requirements. are protected as soon as threats009575 | 3/12 © Windstream 2012