Will Technology Eliminate Doctors In The Future?

Will Technology Eliminate Doctors In The Future?

Who would you trust with your life, a human or a machine?

Where once we would laugh at that question, we now have to take a second glance.

IBMs Watson, probably one of the most well-known supercomputers in the world, is quickly topping his game-skill abilities and becoming a medical genius.

Artificial intelligence is moving into fields like radiology – where there currently is about 30,000 radiologists providing analysis each day – and is taking center stage in interpreting image results.

Smart surgical bots are also showing up in all kinds of places, including orthopedic knee replacement and Lasik eye surgery, though at current merely assisting rather than completing the surgery on its own.

But how long before that changes?

According to a report compiled by professor of management practice at London Business School Lynda Gratton, and futurologist David A Smith, in just a few years we could be seeing job titles like:

  • Human to machine interface programmer
  • Avatar manager
  • Robot counsellor
  • Old age wellness managers, and
  • Synthetic life designers

While we’ve always predicted that technology will take over repetitive and laborious tasks – many are gone already – what is surprising about our future is how much artificial intelligence will be integrated into what we currently do.

Are people prepared for both the good and the bad that go along with it?

A computer or robot is only as good as it is programmed. Yes, it can grow and change; artificial intelligence is bringing that into place. But fundamentally, a machine will never be able to fully understand the human condition. All the intricate details that make us unique individuals.

Because let’s face it, humans make mistakes, but technology does too.

Yes, safeguards are in place to prevent humans from making critical errors. And while technology is only in its beginning stages of what its true potential will be in the coming years, we all realize that it’s the Wild West out there, and technology needs its fair share of safeguards too.

What Artificial Intelligence Brings To The Office

What Artificial Intelligence Brings To The Office

Whatever technological processes and systems you are learning about today will be all but obsolete in just a few short years. Why? Because technology changes things so quickly, we barely have time to learn about it before it changes once again.

Technology automates processes and increases our capabilities, creating time savings for us that can be applied to more important tasks. Welcome to the world of AI – artificial intelligence. A world that allows machines and humans to work side by side to accomplish far greater things than we could ever do on our own.

But with this change comes the need to manage the process to be able to utilize it in the best way possible. And that falls on you, the person implementing artificial intelligence into your current processes.

Adapt
Leadership has to be willing to lead by example. They have to be ready to embrace new things, change quickly, and welcome new roles as they come into play. If leadership isn’t willing to do it, employees never will.

For the IT department to thrive, that means management must shift thinking from finding ways for humans to do a job, to finding ways to automate more processes with the use of technology. With this line of restructuring, there will be resistance. People fight back when they see their position being taken over by a machine. It’s important to remind people that jobs are fluid; what they handle today may not be in their job description for tomorrow. Technology takes away repetitious jobs and makes way for people to do more important, more skilled jobs that offer far greater benefits to the overall cause.

Learn
Managing AI is different than managing people. Artificial intelligence brings the ability to process vast amounts of information in short periods of time. It creates repetition for the most common processes and accelerates the speed at which we can do things. But it never will take away our ingenuity and creativity, the ability to think outside the box to add newness to every process we create.

Yet taking initiative means learning how to work alongside technology rather than fighting it and making it more difficult than it has to be. That involves learning how systems work, and how to make processes easier by managing the data as it’s produced. Because machines are good at following rules and people are good at breaking them, training employees how to use this data to prevent problems before they occur will be key. Our future jobs will include improving functionality and business performance to do our jobs even better, to help narrow in on problem areas before they occur and create a system that will help us do even better.

Manage
The job of the IT department will no longer be limited to purchasing new technology and securing data already in place. It will stretch into implementing and automating procedures and transforming company data to make it work harder, faster and better than ever before. The IT department will have to see the bigger picture, find opportunities in ways of improvement that may never have existed before that moment in time. That takes a lot of training. That takes a lot of skill.

While that may pose challenges in growing a business, it also provides a world of opportunity. As a business, realizing early on that you don’t have to have the appropriate skills on staff to thrive is crucial. There are many ways to reach out into your community and find what you need to further your growth. We can help.

How will you incorporate artificial intelligence into your daily processes?

The Importance Of Software Patches and Updates

The Importance Of Software Patches and Updates

We all get those annoying little pop-ups from time to time, notifying us that there are software updates available for our computer. And chances are you get them at the most inopportune time, right in the middle of a project that’s too important to quit. So you hit the “Remind Me Later” button and continue as planned.

A few days later, that friendly reminder pops up again. And once again you click “Remind Me Later.” On and on it goes.

It’s a vicious cycle of keeping your computer up-to-date and as risk-free as possible, and simply doing what needs to be done.

We all do it. Even those of us in IT and know its significance have hit the button a time or two.

Patches and updates perform a variety of tasks to both our operating systems and individual software. They add new features, remove outdated features, update drivers, deliver bug fixes, and most importantly, fix security holes that have been discovered.

While non-security patches don’t necessarily have to be applied right away, it should go without saying that security patches should be applied the moment they become available.

Easy for IT to understand. Not so easy out in the field.

If your employees are working on a project and receive a patch notification, many will hit that “Remind Me Later” button over and over again. In fact, you’ll probably find an employee or two that has never hit “okay.”

This is where your risks truly lie.

Not keeping one machine up to date with the most recent patch available can compromise the security of your entire infrastructure. Your infrastructure is only as secure as your weakest link.

Which means you have two paths to follow.

1. Provide thorough education and monitor consistently

If employees understand the risks, they are more likely to take action to prevent the risks. Education is key. Teach the importance of adding updates as soon as they become available. Create a system for alerting when patches and updates become available. Be at hand if they have questions along the way. The only way to ensure its success and reduce your vulnerability is to monitor it through every department.

2. Take control through the cloud

An advantage of a cloud-based security system is that you have the ability to centralize your security rules. You have a more uniform approach to security while decreasing the risk of attacks. Because you control changes, updates and patches, there’s no more relying on employees to do the job for you. Every policy you create is consistently applied across your enterprise by entering it once at the highest level.

The result is only legitimate business transactions are completed on a timeline that works best for you, keeping your entire network safer and more secure.

How does your company handle patches and updates?

The Internet of Things: How It Impacts Your Business

The perfect storm is brewing. It’s building no matter where you live or what you do. Geography no longer matters.

Instead, the perfect storm is being created by anything that has an on or off switch. If it can be connected to the Internet, or connected to something else, it has an impact. Cell phones, tablets, televisions, garage door openers, furnaces and coffee makers all make the list. So do jet engines, automobiles and cash registers.

When connected, it produces an estimated 26 billion links around the world.

Yes, that’s how you define the Internet of Things. A vast network of connected “things” that provides an ever-growing connection of people to people, things to things, and people to things. And it’s growing smarter every day.

There are many instances of how this looks in our lives:

  • Your FitBit talks with your smartphone to track your daily activity
  • Your tablet controls your thermostat, alarm system and lights

Even if you haven’t graduated to using this type of technology yet, you will in the coming months and years. And it’s going to change the way we do business in a big way.

Products will become smarter

No longer is a product just a standalone product. Companies will have to incorporate technology into everything to make it all work together. Sports equipment, for example, will track every movement you make, and provide you with data on how well you did and how to improve your performance.

Smarter products will lead to smarter decisions

As sensors become smaller and can be attached to more things, it will allow businesses to track at deeper levels to make better decisions. Imagine being able to connect sensors to all high-level pieces of equipment, being able to detect malfunctions from the moment they occur. Not only can this add to the longevity of the equipment by being able to fix and replace on a faster timetable, but it can also thwart significant problems in things like jet engines, preventing dangerous and life-threatening hazards in the process.

Smarter decisions will change business models forever

As businesses adjust to new levels of connectivity, they will find their business models changing before their eyes. What if a heart surgeon suddenly finds wearables make his patients more aware of their conditions and better able to control their own health? Would he move from solving problems after they occur into a business model where he helps teach heart wellness instead?

Other similar business models are sure to emerge. And as one thing changes, the impact behind it will surely change tenfold.

Risks. Rewards. 

The most important thing to do right now when considering how the Internet of Things will impact your business in the coming months and years is to think bigger. The more you understand, the more you can put into place. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be.

The future is coming. Will you be ready?

Do Your Policies and Procedures Really Promote Better Security?

Do Your Policies and Procedures Really Promote Better Security?

When was the last time you made changes to your security policy? When was the last time you considered how the procedures impact your business?

According to a survey conducted last year, 43 percent of businesses dealt with some type of data breach at some point during the previous twelve months. And with the number of threats out there in the world increasing every day, that number won’t shrink any time soon.

A security policy won’t prevent a data breach. But having strong policies and procedures in place will ensure that employees better understand how to prevent breaches, and what to do if one takes place.

While not having a policy in place is reckless, not reviewing it and updating it in a world that is constantly changing can be hazardous too. Security should always be evolving. If you are looking for ways to improve your security policy, consider these basic points.

Simplify

We’ve all been involved with organizations that choose to define every last detail. Even the simplest of concepts is written out and defined in binders of information. Yet keep in mind that the more content there is within your security policy, the less likely it will be read by the masses within your organization. Time is a commodity we have little of. A binder (or two or three) may satisfy a security audit, but it won’t do much to improve security within your business.

Relevancy

Does your security policy truly match the way your employees work? In many cases, the ones that write a security policy don’t take into account the way employees do their jobs. Today’s employees use their own devices on a day to day basis. Departments choose programs based on needs to get things done. Cloud computing is at an all-time high, with more moving to cloud based services all the time. If your policy assumes anything lower than what is actually occurring within the organization, your data can be at risk.

Automate

Employees are more likely to adhere to policies when they become repetitious and automated by nature. If an email automatically flows through a central policy engine before being released to determine if it needs encryption, for example, you take the human factor out of the process.

Find your biggest threats

Many security policies clearly define how to handle external threats. Yet in many cases your biggest threat is no further than the office next door. No matter how many times an employee changes their password, or what apps they have installed on their smartphones, if an employee wants to do damage, they know where vulnerabilities lie and how to move around them quickly and efficiently.

Most IT professionals will list employees not following procedures as one of their biggest threats. Yet in many cases, they aren’t providing the proper policies and training to change the situation.

Policies need to be created with the way employees work. Clear training should then be provided to give employees a better understanding of expectations. It’s not something that occurs once when an employee is hired on, especially in this fast-changing world. Technology has a short shelf life; to not recognize it and train accordingly on a regular basis is to increase your internal risks.

Any policy written without review two years ago or longer probably has significant holes in the process. If you haven’t reviewed your policy, or trained your employees accordingly in that time frame, your internal threats are very real.

How Mobile Devices May Be Violating HIPAA Compliance

How Mobile Devices May Be Violating HIPAA Compliance

Gadgets. We all love them. We all use them every day.

When cell phones integrated with smart technology, we jumped at the chance to bring the Internet with us anywhere. We bought phones and tablets at record speed, downloading apps and programs as fast as they could be created.

And while most of these apps and programs made our lives a little easier, gave us more functionality, or simply allowed us to have a little fun, they also brought risk into our lives in new ways.

Technology is almost always ahead of the law. We invent things. We push the limits. And when there are consequences, that’s when we ask the law to step in. Policies are set. Laws are made. And then it’s up to both providers and to consumers to make sure they comply.

While compliance issues may not be difficult in some industries and niches, healthcare isn’t one of them. Providers are faced with unique challenges with complying with HIPAA laws, which is exacerbated when transferring those laws for use on mobile devices. As smartphones were developed, little thought was put into HIPAA because the perception was smartphone devices were mere phones. Yet smart technology put the power of a computer into the hands of every consumer in the marketplace, and that’s where trouble began.

Because we all lead busy lives, we take our devices and our work with us everywhere. We stop for coffee in the morning. We have lunch with a friend. We take our kids to after school activities. And while we’re sitting and waiting, we do what comes naturally; we check email, connect with a client, and work on a file or two.

But unsecured mobile networks can be more than a problem. Accessing private information on an unsecured network can leave the data vulnerable. It also violates privacy. And what if you accidentally leave your phone or tablet on the table and walk away? Theft increases the problem tenfold.

People should not download an app and assume HIPAA laws are in place. Very few health related apps are. As a health care provider, it’s important to verify that an app meets all HIPAA requirements before recommending it to a patient. In general, HIPAA does not apply to apps that allow patient to track fitness goals, yet does apply to apps that deal with PHI or allow providers and/or patients to communicate with each other.

If you like an app, ask the developer if HIPAA rules are in place. You can ask them to show their credentials or certifications to make sure you are fully covered.

You should also protect yourself by keeping all mobile devices password protected and encrypted in accordance with HIPAA standards. You can also install remote wiping and disabling programs that allow a user to quickly clear and disable mobile devices when they notice they are missing.

Under HIPAA, providers can face financial penalties for breaches. If enforced, penalties range from $100 to $50,000 per violation with a cap of $1.5 million per calendar year. However, if violations occur year after year, even with the cap in place the settlement can be substantial.

It’s not only penalties that can be detrimental to a business; a provider’s reputation is also at stake. One breach can cost a business everything.

Are you fully HIPAA compliant with your mobile devices? How about the apps you recommend to your clients?

Why Doctors Should Prepare For A Data Breach

Why Doctors Should Prepare For A Data Breach

When it comes to dealing with a data breach, it isn’t so much as if it will happen, as it is when. Studies have shown that one in four health care organizations have experienced a breach. And even if perfect security could be achieved, there is still the risk of someone with legitimate credentials accessing the data and using it inappropriately.

It’s human nature. We’re not perfect. Things happen.

Yet even with statistics showing how commonplace data breaches are in our society, what is surprising is how many health care organizations are not spending the time needed to prepare.

Preparation today is no longer about putting up a firewall to keep the bad guys out. With the growing availability of electronic devices, and an equally growing availability of patient data in electronic format, this approach is no longer feasible.

Instead of investing in firewalls, it’s now mandatory to create a system of continuous monitoring, to track how people access information and what they do once they get inside of the system.

To start, users should be subdivided into groups.

The greatest majority of users will use the system as intended on an infrequent basis. This would include patients that access their records a few times per year, for instance.

You will also have high-profile users who access the system on a regular basis in a variety of different ways. These users may have access to confidential or restricted records, or have the ability to use the system in more detailed ways. Inputting data for instance.

The higher the user profile, the more security is needed. That includes regular monitoring to ensure the system is used correctly. Through continuous monitoring, you’re more likely to catch the breach early in the process.

However, splitting people into groups and monitoring people based on their accessibility isn’t always accurate. You can’t always predict human nature. Because risk is always a constant ebb and flow environment, it’s important to have emergency overrides that allow authorized personnel to quickly restrict access and shut out eminent danger as appropriate.

If there is a situation, acting quickly is the key to success. Early response and quick action can not only help you avoid a larger problem, it can also save the potential of having a situation blow up into a publicity nightmare.

Stopping the situation is important; the right system protocol can cut your risk factors tenfold. Being prepared for a viral attack either in traditional or social media is also essential; it can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

Perfect security isn’t possible. But if you accept responsibility from the beginning – from planning, to monitoring, to recovering when things to wrong – you will provide your surest method of attack.