Retailers Need Managed File Transfer(MFT) to Secure Data

Retail has an information security problem. Hundreds of retailers have been hacked in the last decade and latest reports suggest that it could be just the top of the iceberg. More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, the Homeland Security Department said Friday. Information security is a big challenge for any company but even more so for retail. Credit card theft wary customers may stay away from stores and impact bottom line. Earlier this year Target blamed the data breach for 46% slide in earnings.

Information security is a complex and tricky topic and one of the technologies which improves data security tremendously is Managed File Transfer(MFT). Retailers store and move quite a bit of data between stores and central IT. Additionally they have to exchange lot of data with the suppliers and other partners. Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a class of file transfer systems that use state of art security technology to centralize data transfers in a single system. This protects unauthorized access of data and limits exposure as file transfers happen through one central system. Since this central system uses state of art security and encryption to protect data both at rest and in-transit, it protects against hackers.

Managed File Transfer is finding its use in several sectors in Banking/Finance and Healthcare sectors. As more and more records become digital e.g. EHR (electronic health records), there is an increasing need to encrypt this data and protect it when it is exchanged.  Retailers need to review their security infrastructure to improve security on both ends – the Point of Sale (POS) and enterprise IT side. MFT can provide a secure backbone for enterprise data and work with secure POS systems to keep hackers at bay. Multi channel retail requires that data from each channel be secured and MFT can be the most important system in the middle that secures customer and financial data.

As customer go out and shop this labor day, hope retailers learn from the past breaches and take steps to protect shopper data.

Read More 0

The Rise of APIs for B2B Integration

APIs are everywhere. Companies are exposing APIs to generate new revenue streams. By exposing applications and data to the outside world via APIs, companies can monetize their existing IT infrastructure. That means they can generate additional revenue without significant investment.

Netflix has over 100,000 DVD titles that it exposes through APIs for integration with over 200 devices, including several type of mobile devices. By delivering data through APIs, Netflix not only created a new revenue stream but also became a leader in this category. Stripe is a new start up which processes payments and exposes its services via an API suite. APIs are at the front, right and center of business model transformations happening today.

Read More 0

Is Standards Adoption Keeping Up With the Pace of Healthcare Evolution?

The Health Information Exchange is a key enabling technology in healthcare reform in the United States, and conceptually a seminal step in B2B partner integration. Its intent, to standardize and unify the management of private clinical data, is not only progressive but essential in the emerging architecture of healthcare systems that must be efficient, highly responsive, and pervasive across the industry and its ancillaries.

But the evolution of HIE standards is outpacing the speed with which healthcare partners can adapt, creating bottlenecks in the growth of industry adoption of improved methodologies, necessary for support of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The need for innovation was stressed at this year’s Health Information and Management Systems Symposium, held in Orlando in February. Keynote speakers addressed the issue in a session titled, “Innovation Drives Value in HIE.”

“There should be a free and easy exchange of [personal health] information,” said Brian Patrick Kennedy, health reform advocate and Rhode Island state representative, “because if you need to in and see a doctor, and another doctor has previously seen you about something else, that information should all be together in that medical record so that you don’t have to have another procedure, for example, or another test…” Patrick delivered the keynote remarks that opened the symposium along with Dr. Michael Hankins.

“One of the key benefits of the whole health information exchange is that the portability of that record, that brings along all the information that’s in that record, so that when you go to see a doctor or a specialist…all of that information is gathered together.”

Included in that clinical data is information useful to every participant in the delivery of healthcare: the patient, clinicians, specialists, hospitals, suppliers, pharmacies, and health insurance companies.

HIE standards, useful as they are, nonetheless present a huge challenge to many participants in integrated healthcare, due to the rapidity with which they are evolving. Each year, HIMSS reports on industry uptake of the revised standards – and, each year, many entities in the healthcare delivery system remain behind.

An example of this is the Stage 2 Meaningful Use Rules, which represent a major step forward in secure information exchange between healthcare delivery participants, including common implementation specifications for electronic information exchange, rules for formatting structured data, coding for procedures, medications, lab results, diagnoses, and other clinical data, various status codes, care plans, and medical diagnostic data. (The Meaningful Use adoption deadline is July 1.)

But implementing the standard is easier said than done. Stage 2 requires providers to complete two years of participation in comformity to the standard; but enough participants are lagging behind in implementation that Stage 2, which commenced over a year ago, has been extended into 2016.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, barriers to implementation include restrictions imposed upon providers who do not meet the required security standards; lack of reliable source data from government organizations feeding data into the system; and the failure of some providers and participants to meet eligibility requirements for participation.

But one of the biggest shortfalls, according to a survey of CIOs in health information management, is that HIE standards have outpaced the evolution of computerized provider order entry systems. The initial point of entry for medical records, the computer systems in the offices of doctors and specialists, do not measure up to the standards now in place among other participants in healthcare delivery.

“Policymakers and other stakeholders should consider strategies that maintain the critical elements of Meaningful Use,” the survey read, “while adequately supporting hospitals that desire to become Meaningful Use [compliant] but are impeded by specific technological, cultural and organizational adoption and use challenges.”

With the Meaningful Use adoption deadline looming, many organizations are scrambling to complete technological upgrades in order to come into compliance; many will succeed, some will not. But the impetus – the advancement of industry initiatives accommodating healthcare reform in general and the Affordable Care Act in particular – is strong, and the technological inertia is undeniable. HIE has assumed a unique and prominent stature among B2B integration initiatives.

The evolution of health information standards is greatly increasing interoperability, and in upcoming phases of its evolution will enable new models of care delivery. Despite the growing pains, HIE is providing a positive demonstration of the complexity and high standards that integrated partnership can accommodate.

Read More 0

IT Standards and Tech Upgrade Have a Positive Impact on Healthcare B2B Integration

The overhaul of healthcare IT systems throughout the country in the wake of the Affordable Care Act have led to new industry standards and a certification process to ensure their implementation, per the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Industry pundits Roger Baker and Aneesh Chopra discussed the benefits in a recent podcast, focusing on the advantages of deeper B2B integration between health care service providers and suppliers and the future that cooperation heralds.

“The ability to incorporate information across networks is absolutely essential,” Chopra said as he outlined a vision for a shared, data-driven decision-making paradigm to support the healthcare industry’s rapid evolution.

Though the new standards and optimistic vision of IT tech in healthcare bode well in the long run, uptake of the standards can be intimidating to some participants. To lessen the pain, fees for some standards have been dropped.

Baker and Chopra are both Honorary Advisory Panel members on the Government Health IT Conference and Exhibition, to be held June 17-18 in Washington, DC.

Read More 0