May 17, 2020

How surgical hospitals can expand in 2016 via technology

Hospital Operations
Health Tech
Patient Care
3 min
Hospitals and clinics that want to capitalize on the changes in the field should focus on new trends.
Plastic surgery has come a long way from its early days when only the rich could afford the procedures or were even interested in it.

Today, average pe...

Plastic surgery has come a long way from its early days when only the rich could afford the procedures or were even interested in it.

Today, average people all over the nation choose elective procedures to make their lives better. New technology only enhances those procedures, making them less expensive and painful.

RELATED TOPIC: Turkish doctor completes world's third full face transplant surgery

Hospitals and clinics that want to capitalize on the changes in the field should focus on the trends. This means prioritizing marketing to introduce new procedures or appeal to a specific demographic.

Plastic surgery for men

More men today have cosmetic procedures done than in the past. Because the actual procedure is less invasive and healing time is faster, men see it as a viable option to help them look younger.

Micro-liposuction is one such procedure that appeals to men. Use it around the neck to remove loose areas and tighten the jawline. The process takes only about a half-hour with no sutures.

RELATED TOPIC: Five types of surgery changing in the health care industry

Hair replacement surgery has gained popularity in recent years and has become an option for many balding men. While it is a complex procedure that happens over a period of time, the results are permanent, making many men feel that it is worth it.

Men also believe that having a trim waistline helps them look younger and feel more confident. Liposuction has become an attractive alternative that makes them feel good about themselves. It yields dramatic results in a short amount of time.

Non-invasive surgery

More cosmetic procedures fit in this category because of new technology.

RELATED TOPIC: How hospitals are advancing technology in caring for personal injury victims

One example is Ultherapy, which is a nonsurgical facelift. Instead, it uses ultrasound technology to lift the skin by heating it and making the collagen contract while new tissue is produced that has more elasticity.

Patients who were afraid to "go under the knife" are willing to try this new technology to take years off their faces. While Botox has often received a bad name from those who don't advocate for cosmetic surgery, dermal fillers are still popular.

Today, it is no longer just one procedure, but numerous options that the patient can choose from. They can sit down with a surgeon and discuss their options.

RELATED TOPIC: The most progressive health tech innovations driving patient care

For instance, they may ask what the difference is between collagen and polyactic acid dermal fillers.

As the following article looks at, that is one reason why choosing a great plastic surgeon is important. The patient needs someone they can trust to provide information and make them feel comfortable; especially with the new procedures.

When hospitals and clinics consider updating their equipment or adding procedures to their plastic surgery department, they must look at the newest innovations as well as the latest trends. The typical person receiving a cosmetic procedure has changed over the years to include men and younger women.

RELATED TOPIC: Moving beyond the boundaries of traditional health care to address the whole person

What this means for facilities is that they must focus their attention on the procedures that appeal to that demographic and utilize the latest technology to gain new patients who appreciate what plastic surgery can do for them.

About the author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including technology and health 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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