Thought Leadership

Positioning your Company for the Future of Healthcare – Part 4

Welcome back to our series, Positioning Your Company for the Future of Healthcare. Over the past several weeks, we’ve been walking you through the current state of healthcare and the concrete actions you can take to position your organization for success in an evolving landscape.

If you missed the previous posts feel free to jump to them here: Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Step 4 – Securing Your Systems

What is the most valuable asset that a healthcare company has today? It’s not buildings, technology or even staff. For many companies, it’s their data. While providers may not be able to sell healthcare data (legally) for profit, it still comprises an incredibly valuable asset. Data allows clinical staff to provide services, financial staff to bill, and compliance staff to maintain state and federal standards. If an EHR system goes down, it can cost literally hundreds of dollars per minute until it comes back online.

Over the past few years, healthcare data has also become one of the most targeted assets for hackers and data exploitation worldwide. It’s estimated that $300,000 is paid out every day in ransomware attacks against the healthcare industry. And while the average ransomware cost for an organization is not exorbitant, the costs due to a breach, downtime, loss of productivity, and potential loss of data is significant.

To add to the above concerns, there are more regulations for the person cutting your hair than there are for the standard company hosting your data. For these reasons, securing your infrastructure and processes around organizational data sources and systems should be a top priority for any healthcare provider.

Concrete Next Steps

To secure your systems, your organization will first need to understand its potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This isn’t just about protecting data. It’s about ensuring all systems and applications that staff is reliant on are properly supported. Is the antivirus up-to-date on all endpoints and servers? Are backups running regularly and are they separate from the rest of the network? If your systems and data are on premises, an assessment is a great way to help identify and quantify the potential risks. If any weaknesses are identified, a short-term plan can be put in place to make improvements for security and safeguards.

The other option is to work with an external organization that can help host your applications and data. The benefit to this approach is that most healthcare providers don’t have the expertise to be a technology company, which is what they become the moment servers and applications are installed in their facility. Third-party HIPAA compliant hosting companies, on the other hand, spend their time thinking about how to host and secure data properly. They have experts who manage the processes and continually learn from best practices and advancements in technologies that allow healthcare companies to function more effectively. In most situations, they also have models that allow organizations to scale up or down based on need, which helps improve an organization’s agility in a turbulent market.


Once the decision is made to outsource your hosting, or the internal processes and technology are optimized, your company will be in a great position to provide services and adjust to market conditions.  And if you’ve followed the remaining steps in this series, your clinical processes are efficient, your infrastructure is stable, your strategy promotes holistic health, and you’re making data driven decisions. Regulatory and reimbursement entities will never make it easy for healthcare organizations, but by following the concepts in this series you will position your organization well to respond to what comes next. Good luck on the journey and Afia is here to help any way we can!

This concludes our series, Positioning Your Company for the Future of Healthcare. If you’re ready to start on the road to more effective, secure integrated health, we’re here to guide you along the way. It’s not an easy path, but it is necessary to remain viable in an environment of extreme consolidation and competition around clients and revenue.

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