May 17, 2020

Ways to improve wellness without the cost

Admin
3 min
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StayWell Health Managementannounced today that it will help wellness program participants overcome such crucial moments by giving individuals access to...

StayWell Health Management announced today that it will help wellness program participants overcome such crucial moments by giving individuals access to an adaptive, interactive coaching platform called Coach Alba. StayWell’s partnership with Coach Alba broadens options for consumers to engage in their health, and offers a highly personalized experience. Leveraging SMS texting, Coach Alba supports individuals during those critical times when they say they struggle most to achieve their health goals.

According to Paul Stinson, chief product and marketing officer at StayWell Health Management, the company’s partnership with Coach Alba expands StayWell’s health coaching reach and breadth of modalities in a way that is convenient and highly accessible for the individual.

“Smartphones and mobile devices have become ubiquitous in today’s society, which makes these devices the perfect vehicle for delivering timely information and support for healthy behavior change,” said Stinson. “While a live health coach can’t be with an individual 24/7, we can work with them to identify the hurdles and crucial moments that inhibit their behavior change efforts. That information can then be used to customize the Coach Alba platform to deliver customized text reminders at just the right moment in time to prevent lapses that can derail efforts. It’s an evidence-based complement and extension of health coaching and other wellness program interventions for today’s health care consumer.”

StayWell is piloting Coach Alba with select clients, and it will be available as a program enhancement to clients across StayWell's book of business in the coming months. The Coach Alba platform currently supports multiple health improvement goals including: weight loss, smoking cessation, lowering blood pressure, managing cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and stress management. Using automated text messages, Coach Alba helps users identify when they’ll have unhealthy crucial moments and commits them to strategies for overcoming these barriers to successful change. Coach Alba holds individuals accountable to their strategies by asking them to rate their performance and tracks their progress over time. As a backup to the automated service, an individual can simply text ‘Live Coach’ at any time they need additional support and the first available coach will contact the individual via text.

“To change behaviors for the long-term, we have to first recognize those things that challenge us and take us off track from our healthy habits. If we can overcome these challenges, or crucial moments, as we call them, we’re more likely to achieve lasting behavior change,” said Vince Han, CEO, Coach Alba. “Coach Alba users value the privacy, immediacy, ease and convenience of getting help via a text message. And our platform supports StayWell’s commitment to science-based behavior change and fits with the way people live and work today, including how they access and experience health care and self-improvement efforts.”

StayWell participants will have access to the Coach Alba platform through employer-sponsored workplace wellness programs electing the service, and can interact with the service on any mobile device capable of receiving text messages.

About StayWell 
StayWell Health Management, LLC is a population health management company that pairs the science of behavior change with the art of program delivery to help organizations improve employee health and wellness, increase productivity, and decrease health care costs. StayWell’s proven approach yields three key outcomes that strengthen cultures of health – organizational alignment, social connection, and personal change. Founded in 1978, StayWell is subsidiaries of MediMedia, USA, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. StayWell programs receive top industry honors, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award, NBGH Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Award, and WELCOA Well Workplace Awards for health management programs. To learn more about the company, visit http://www.staywell.com or follow the company at twitter.com/staywelltweets.

About Coach Alba 
Founded in 2010, Coach Alba is a behavioral change company that builds innovative Web and mobile technologies to help people achieve life-changing goals. Headquartered in Provo, Utah, Coach Alba leverages powerful proprietary research and an adaptive, personalized SMS messaging platform to help users recognize and overcome the day-to-day challenges that keep them from attaining sustainable, positive change in their lives. For more information, visit http://www.coachalba.com.

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Jun 13, 2021

How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats

#Cybersecurity
#cyberattacks
#digitaltransformation
#covid19
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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