May 17, 2020

Dignity Health facilities receive a $220 million facelift to express healing

Dignity Health
Hospital Leadership
Patient Care
Patient Care
3 min
Dignity Health is a 20-state network of nearly 9,000 physicians, 56,000 employees, and more than 400 care centers.
Dignity Health, one of the largest health systems in the nation, is underway with a $220 million multi-phase improvement project across its 39-hospital...

Dignity Health, one of the largest health systems in the nation, is underway with a $220 million multi-phase improvement project across its 39-hospital network that recognizes the role that the physical environment has on the ability to improve healing and the overall experience of patients, their families, and visitors. 

“From the moment patients arrive, to their departure, every aspect of their journey of care with us should be grounded in healing for both them and their families,” said Lloyd H. Dean, president/chief executive officer for Dignity Health, in an issued release.

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Dignity Health is making this investment as part of its commitment to humankindness and to improving the experience of everyone who steps into a Dignity Health facility. All improvements are slated to be completed by December 2016.

Improvements will be realized in patient rooms, emergency departments, nurse’s stations, family & surgery waiting areas, main lobbies, parking areas, gardens, and common areas. Guided by feedback from patients and their families, the improvements will flow from five design directives that link directly to patient needs:

Patient Need: Welcome me as a guest (a need to feel safe & acknowledged).

Design Directive: Refreshed surroundings and convenient added touches, such as easier access to wheel chairs, vehicle charging stations, and more clearly defined entrances. Free and easy access Wi-Fi will be available throughout the facilities.

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Patient Need: Make me feel comfortable and comforted (a need to feel comfortable).

Design Directive: Custom designed family seating will be available in patient rooms to respond to the needs of the family while visiting their friend or loved one. We will change the cafeteria experience to provide more communal gatherings for guests, families, and staff in warmer, more flexible surroundings.

Patient Need: Help me navigate with ease (a need to feel informed and empowered).

Design Directive: Improved way-finding signage and a way-finding app that will give visitors directions through any smartphone while on our campuses

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Patient Need: See me as a person first (a need to feel respected and seen).

Design Directive: Remove barriers to human connection. The improvements to patient rooms, waiting areas and cafeterias will address this need. We will also provide interactive TV and digital monitors in patient rooms and waiting areas.

Patient Need: Inspire my spirit to heal (a need to feel uplifted).

Design Directive: Interpret healing in unexpected ways. Healing messages will greet people both inside and outside the hospital to inspire healing for our staff, our patients and their families, and visitors. We will even add a wellness wall to all cafeterias that will encourage both staff and visitors to lead healthier lives.

RELATED TOPIC: TOP 10: Tips to improve patient satisfaction

Far from the typical hospital improvement project, these bold enhancements showcase Dignity Health’s kindness-centered brand with its creative approach.

The enhancements will also extend to employees and physicians as refreshed and refurbished staff and physician lounges that will provide places of respite for caregivers and staff.

“Our improvements are grounded in research, science, and our brand ethos of Hello humankindness,” said vice president, corporate real estate of Dignity Health, Jeff Land. “We understand the link between the hospital environment and the recovery process, which is why these improvements are so important to delivering the best care possible to our patients, today and in the future.”

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Dignity Health also embraces the principles of environmental stewardship. These enhancements incorporate environmental principles, policies and procedures that include water conservation, reduced waste and increased recycling, elimination of hazardous chemicals, and tracked greenhouse gases.

Each facility has a specific exterior and interior schedule of improvements that has been developed to minimize disruption of patient care.

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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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