Healthcare is a sensitive issue for any number of reasons, primarily concerns with privacy, liability and compliance with insurance, and state and federal regulations. Information technology (IT) is a sensitive area due to vulnerabilities in new and emerging technologies. The healthcare IT executive must be a master of both disciplines to guide a company today and into the future as technology advances.
The primary handbook for healthcare privacy in the United States is called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A recent Google search for HIPAA returned more than 18 million hits. Clearly concern with HIPAA compliance is a topic for concern and an area in which a well qualified executive must be well versed.
Yet in today’s world an executive knowledgeable in HIPAA is not enough. Many data and electronic records functions are outsourced, some to other countries. HIPAA compliance must be considered and maintained in these cases. With the developing Internet of Things (IoT) it is anticipated that medical devices will be monitored and controlled remotely. But what can be accessed remotely can be hacked remotely. IT security is every bit as important as HIPAA compliance skills.
A well qualified healthcare IT executive must be aware of the healthcare and IT implications of all current and future systems and endeavors the company makes. From outsourcing and software to remote surgery and medical devices, the challenges will increase over time. This executive must be able to navigate regulations and assess information technology as it is used in that regulatory environment.
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