May 17, 2020

Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati are the best US states for paediatric healthcare in America

healthcare services
Catherine Sturman
4 min
Established in 2007, US News introduced the Best Children's Hospitals rankings to support families and help children with rare or life-threatening illne...

Established in 2007, US News introduced the Best Children's Hospitals rankings to support families and help children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings are the only comprehensive source of quality-related information on US paediatric centers, according to a recent press release.

Boston Children's Hospital has been highlighted as the number one paediatric hospital in the US, according to US News & World Report's 2017-18 Best Children's Hospitals. The hospital is in the top three in all 10 specialties, which are as follows:  Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & NeurosurgeryOrthopaedics and Urology. The hospital also ranks second in CancerCardiology & Heart SurgeryDiabetes & Endocrinology and Neonatology, and third in Pulmonology.

"The U.S. News rankings provide invaluable insights for patients and families as they navigate their health care needs,” comments Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO. “It is our mission to provide the best experience and outcomes possible to every family that walks through our doors."

We take a look at the top three hospitals who have made the top of the list.

1. Boston Children’s Hospital

With a multitude of awards under its belt, Boston Children’s Hospital is one of the largest paediatric centers in the US, with over 400 beds. Delivering exceptional patient care through a number of specialised services, the hospital performed over 25,000 surgical procedures and 214,000 radiological examinations last year alone.

Whilst healthcare costs in the US are continually rising, the hospital has endeavoured to make hospital costs affordable by working on over 200 hospital-wide projects, saving families time and increased costs. To hospital is also expanding and evolving its campus with new buildings and services to cater for increased demand, besides supporting patient’s in the hospital and at home throughout their treatment.

Boston Children’s Hospital is also home to the largest research program at a paediatric medical center in the world, making advances in stem cell, neurobiology and genetics and genomics research, amongst others. With over a thousand scientists within its research community, this includes nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 on-staff members of the Institute of Medicine and nine members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Current initiatives have attracted a record $225 million in annual funding, including more federal funding than any other paediatric facility.

2. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

With nearly 30,000 admissions in the most recent reported year, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has a rich history in providing medical breakthroughs worldwide.

Founded in 1855 by Francis West Lewis, who wanted to replicate the workings of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, the non-profit hospital was the first in the nation devoted exclusively to paediatric care, and housed the first paediatric day surgery in the US and neonatal surgical and paediatric intensive care in the US, amongst others.

CHOP is also home to one of the largest paediatric research facilities in the United States, and has developed the CHOP Care Network, the largest paediatric healthcare network in the US., including over 50 paediatrician offices, specialty care centers and surgical centers located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The hospital is renowned for completely mapping chromosome 22 in 1999 (covering a range of illnesses), making it the first chromosome to be fully sequenced. Additionally, it was the first paediatric hospital recognized as a Center of Excellence by Fertile Hope for its commitment to educate cancer patients and their families about the risk of infertility following cancer treatment and to offer potential ways to preserve fertility.

3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Established in 1883, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is a non-profit academic medical center, with over 600 beds. Undergoing significant growth, the hospital provides training and education to parents and medical staff, and has also been responsible for a number of medical breakthroughs.

During the Second World War, Samuel Rapport developed a method to preserve whole blood through working at the Research Foundation, as well as transporting whole blood, saving the lives of thousands.

Additionally, individuals under what is now known as Cincinnati developed the first functional heart-lung machine, opening the door to open heart surgery, as well as the development of the oral polio vaccine.

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Jun 13, 2021

How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats

Jonathan Miles
6 min
Jonathan Miles, Head of Strategic Intelligence and Security Research at Mimecast, tells us how the healthcare sector can protect itself from attacks

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. 

Going digital 

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. 

Strengthening defences

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.

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