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6 Health-Tech Horror Stories that Haunt Hospitals Every Day


Insufficient interoperability, cyberattacks and ethical concerns are just some of the challenges facing health systems.

healthcare horror,interoperability effects,cybersecurity healthcare,hca news

Healthcare’s digital transformation requires caution in some cases.

Have you heard the story about the health-tech key opinion leader who was forced to pose as an anti-vaxxer because of the poor state of interoperability? How about the bots that want to drain your budget? Or the one where data revealed doctors’ heavy-handed opioid prescribing habits?

Just as it holds great promise, health tech is rife with horror stories. But tales of bad data, cyberattacks and questionable ethics aren’t only scary on Halloween. The consequences of these issues plague healthcare every day, haunting health systems, clinicians, health IT staffers and, most important, patients.

>> READ: Dark Web Opioid Sales Climb After DEA Painkiller Restriction

That’s why it’s critical that we confront health tech’s horror stories. Only by analyzing hard-to-face problems and crafting solutions can healthcare progress in its digital transformation. So, for Halloween 2018, we at Healthcare Analytics News™ assembled our six spookiest health-tech tales. Read on if you dare.

1. 5 Data Breaches that Show How Cybersecurity Must Evolve

In this mini anthology, a healthcare cybersecurity expert takes readers to perhaps the most frightening place for data privacy: the Internet of Things. He recounts stories of covert Rasberry Pi computers, designed to siphon sensitive data, and high-tech corporate and nation-state espionage. But fear not — each example simply underscores the need for healthcare cybersecurity professionals to follow a new path.

2. The Slow, Frustrating Rise of the Electronic Health Record

When Janae Sharp moved across the country, her children’s vaccination records didn’t follow. The interoperability issue caused her to pretend to be an anti-vaxxer, which prevented her kids from receiving a vaccination that they already had. What could be scarier than that?

Well, this podcast also includes a chilling story from Seema Verma, M.P.H., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Her husband was traveling out of state when he dropped to the ground. What came next was medical record chaos.

3. 65 Percent of Docs Prescribed More Opioids than They Thought

Imagine learning that you are part of the problem. That’s what happened when researchers interviewed doctors about their opioid prescribing habits and then analyzed the data. Providers discharged nearly 120,000 patients, penning more than 75,000 prescriptions, with opioids accounting for more than 20 percent. Most physicians had no idea they were writing so many prescriptions.

But, thankfully, researchers found a way to combat this public health problem. And healthcare organizations everywhere can learn from it.

4. The Bots that Want to Drain Your Budget

Oncology Tomorrow was an exciting, new website raking in 250,000 pageviews per month. It was a prime advertising target for most healthcare stakeholders.

Nearly all of its traffic, however, was fake. The website was a sham meant to fraudulently obtain real dollars, leeching off innocent healthcare decision makers. What can we take from this experiment to avoid future attacks?

5. Why We Need to Discuss Gene Editing and Ethics

In the 1950s, Henrietta Lacks fell ill and sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She died not long after, but she still lives on in a different form today. Her genetic data were taken without her permission and used in countless studies. This story is a lesson in data ethics — and it’s becoming especially important as precision medicine and gene editing reach new heights. Are we doomed to repeat this story with even worse consequences in the not-too-distant future?

6. WannaCry, NotPetya and Cyberwarfare’s Threat to Healthcare

Enter the moment some U.S. healthcare organizations realized the bogeyman had infiltrated their networks. In this feature, we take readers to the day when NotPetya struck companies worldwide, hampering medical care and awakening healthcare leaders to a terrifying new reality.

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