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Tuesday, January 5, 2021 1:00 PM

2020 Year End Recap and Outlook for 2021

Written by Rich Murphy, Product Director - iatricSystems

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With the new year here, you likely have new goals. And the best way to get there is to look at the year’s past and see how you can evolve for the better. Becker’s Health IT recently released an article that covers 10 emerging trends in health IT for 2021.

In this blog, we’ll expand on some of the lessons learned from 2020 and offer educational resources and solutions to help you reach your goals in the New Year. Let’s dive in!

1. The Evolution of CIOs
The COVID-19 situation brought on the realization that it’s not always necessary to have people working side-by-side in an office space – even in the healthcare industry. Healthcare personnel like financial, administrative, IT teams, and other non-patient-facing roles who’ve been working from home may not find their way back to the office-setting soon. Many organizations were forced to quickly piece together security protocols for remote workers out of necessity.

As a result, the CIO's expertise was in high demand in 2020, which will likely continue in the new year. The Becker’s Health IT article predicts that organizations will continue accelerated digital transformation next year, and the CIO's role will evolve to look more like that of a COO's, overseeing the organization's strategy and risk management.

How iatricSystems Can Help in 2021

You’ve seen the headlines of data breaches affecting hospitals, employees and patients. CIOs and IT teams need to strategize how to prioritize security for our new, remote landscape to decrease the potential for a breach. The first step is to understand where the risks are coming from and understand how remote access jeopardizes security. Another pro tip is to ensure secure access for your remote vendors. This includes having one point of entry, implementing multi-factor authentication and automating updates and patches. You can find out right now if third-party remote access makes your network vulnerable by taking this quick assessment.

2. A Greater Push for Cybersecurity
You handle large amounts of high-value data, including social security numbers, insurance information, addresses, detailed health records, and more that make you a prime target for cybercriminals. Ransomware attacks, especially during the second half of the year, shut down IT systems and slowed operations at hospitals and healthcare facilities across the U.S.

Becker’s Health IT states that IT teams will need to effectively communicate good cyber hygiene to staff members to prevent attacks and troubleshoot vulnerabilities as more work goes permanently remote. As a preemptive measure, even organizations that didn't have a security incident cut off external emails and increased screening of incoming emails in October after hackers hit six hospitals with ransomware in 24 hours.

How iatricSystems Can Help in 2021

Earlier this year, we hosted a webinar with our partner GreyCastle Security to discuss risk management 101 and how to create a risk mitigation plan. At its core, the goal of risk mitigation is to understand your security gaps and vulnerabilities to prioritize the actions you need to take to ensure your organization impenetrable. This also includes updating your privacy and security policies and procedures – much like Becker’s Health IT suggests.

Here’s a great eBook: How to Build Effective Privacy Policies & Procedures. You’ll learn how to update, add to, or create a new policy guidebook that’s easy for your team to understand, and more importantly, implement it.

3. Data Management as a Necessity

The digital transformation among health systems was well underway when 2020 began, and the pandemic underscored the need for centralized and efficient data management. Your IT teams are likely bogged down with tedious tasks.

There’s also a struggle to balance how to be efficient while strategizing ways to meet the technical needs of the ever-busy hospital systems. Becker’s Health IT also noted that data-gathering and reporting efforts sped up during the pandemic, and even small organizations are eyeing cloud implementations to store and coordinate data securely.

How iatricSystems Can Help in 2021

This year we announced our next-generation privacy monitoring solution, Haystack iS, that integrates artificial intelligence and machine learning to help privacy teams spot truly suspicious activity. The core Haystack iS audit strategy is completely automated and uses advanced algorithms and AI to learn health systems patterns and remove false positives.

We also recently caught up with a few iatricSystems customers, and they revealed that they discovered that some of their employees were inappropriately viewing patients’ COVID-19 test results. They credit their ability to figuring this out to their Patient Privacy solution, which alerted them of the inappropriate access to patient information.

Looking at 2021 and Beyond

As we leave 2020 behind us, the healthcare industry will likely continue to face new challenges. Cybercriminals are always working to find new ways to breach systems – but remember that technology will always be on your side to help you stay ahead of cybercriminals and to safeguard your patients and their data. It all starts with a good plan.

Our commitment to you is that we will continue to bring you the educational resources and solutions you need for greater security, efficiency and ultimately – peace of mind. Please feel free to reach out to us at to discuss your goals for 2021, and we’ll work together to make sure you reach them.