3 steps towards becoming a recognized hospital for obstetrics
One way to do...
As a hospital CEO, you need to be on the constant lookout for ways to improve the positive outcome rates for childbirth in your hospital.
One way to do this is to compare your hospital's statistics with others.
Your state's hospital association can provide you with the facts and figures you need to look at your hospital objectively, and to determine if your hospital is a safe delivery place for expectant mothers.
Once you've rated your hospital's standing, what are some ways you can improve your statistics, and make things even better for the mothers who trust you to bring their newborns into the world?
RELATED TOPIC: TOP 5: Best hospitals for obstetrics in the United States
Here are some actionable items to consider:
1. Publish informational reports
As the following article looks at, many first-time expectant mothers look at “pregnant and scared: questions about the hospital stay” in search of answers, answers that are often hard to come by.
When expectant mothers are choosing which hospital to have their baby, they often have little or no real information to go on, beyond what they may have heard from their friends.
To help educate new mothers, consider publishing full-color informational reports that go into detail about what they can expect when they choose your hospital.
Include plenty of candid shots of the hospital entrance and grounds, maternity floor rooms and nurses' stations. Add infographics that make the information easier to skim read, and have the writing be in a tone that is light, yet informative.
As an added bonus, work with manufacturer's to incorporate some clip-able product coupons for useful items like newborn diapers, talcum powder and similar baby needs.
When you make your hospital's services and accommodations transparent, you'll help expectant mothers make the wise choice to have their baby in your hospital.
2. Make safety a public priority
Next, address the most common problems and emergencies that pregnant women face.
Make sure that your hospital and staff is well-equipped to handle any and everything that can go wrong during a birth.
Many women choose to have their babies at home because they are fearful of things like MRSA and other horror stories they hear about maternity wards.
Invest in the tools needed so that your pediatricians can do the best for their patients during their hospital stay. A list of the things you have done to ensure the safety of every newborn should be published on your website.
More than 11,000 newborns die in the United States every year. That's more than any other industrialized nation in the world.
This tells you that mothers' fears are not unfounded.
RELATED TOPIC: Expecting? Think Twice About Having a Home Birth
The best way to address this poor statistic is to ensure excellent service and to prove that service with anecdotal evidence.
3. Provide testimonials
A few testimonials from real mothers who have given birth at your hospital can do wonders to assure expectant mothers. Get permission to post the testimonials publicly, and publish them with photos online.
As a CEO, you know your hospital is doing the best it can to ensure that every baby delivered is a healthy one.
But you need to maintain the high standards every day, and make it known that you're doing so.
About the author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.
How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.