Verizon launches healthcare solutions business, data security services

By Eric Wicklund
08:35 AM

Verizon is wading into the ever-complicated healthcare security field with two new offerings designed to help protect electronically transmitted healthcare data.

The company’s Verizon Security Management Program-Health Care (SMP-H) suite creates a dashboard through which healthcare providers can assess the strength of their online security measures and practices and track them against federal and industry-specific security guidelines such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

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Verizon is also offering consulting services to help healthcare providers create their own standards for sharing and storing data. Those services conform to the Common Security Framework standards set forth by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST).

Both products are part of the newly created Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions.

“Moving to an electronic-based patient record-keeping system will help healthcare providers nationwide to improve patient care, control costs and expand access to critical health care information for patients and physicians alike,” said Kerry Bailey, senior vice president of global services at Verizon Business. “Verizon Business is now delivering tailored IT solutions to meet the challenges facing the healthcare sector, especially the need for strong data protection.”

According to data provided by the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 97 reported healthcare industry data breaches in 2008, a significant jump from the 64 reported data breaches in 2007. Officials believe these numbers are low, and that many data breaches go unreported.

Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions’ first clients include Maimonides Medical Center. The 705-bed, Brooklyn-based healthcare system sought a review of its network infrastructure to address HIPAA requirements and ensure the integrity of the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange (BHIX), launched last October that is spearheaded by Maimonides and includes 10 Brooklyn-based healthcare organizations.

“Maimonides takes great pride in the progress it has made to truly transform the delivery of healthcare through the use of advanced information technologies,” said Walter Fahey, Maimonides’ chief information officer. “Our long-standing collaboration with Verizon is one of the keys to our success.  Working closely with Verizon, we have deployed advanced networks and integrated critical healthcare applications. This important work touches every area of our operations, and helps us effectively deliver healthcare to our patients.”

According to officials, Maimonides has added wireless services from Verizon that include personal digital assistants, hospital carts equipped with laptops and electronic “chalkboards” that help emergency department staff keep track of patients and procedures.

“As the healthcare industry moves toward the widespread adoption of electronic medical records, patient privacy and the protection of data from cyber attacks have become major concerns,” said Blair Crump, group president of worldwide sales for Verizon Business. “By leveraging Verizon’s broad portfolio of healthcare-oriented services, as well as our security and professional services expertise, Maimonides is advancing its operations and enhancing healthcare for patients.”

 

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