Healthcare Technology Security

The Challenges of Legacy Software in Healthcare


Stethoscope on Keyboard

It doesn't matter what field you work in: You will never use the most up-to-date technology on a regular basis. In some fields, this isn't the end of the world, and you should still be able to use systems that can allow you to do your job, provided that your system still functions. However, for some industries — like healthcare — out-of-date technology presents major hazards in terms of saving dollars, improving patient care, and adhering to modern regulations. Here's an overview of the challenges legacy financial software presents in the healthcare field and what you can do to address these concerns.

 

HIPAA Compliance

Perhaps no privacy law is more widely discussed than HIPAA. HIPAA — or the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act — creates a variety of legal and regulatory schemes that patient data must adhere to for it to be considered legal within the healthcare world. In this regard, an appropriately structured ERP financial software can be a lifesaver, allowing data to be exchanged while still adhering to the strict HIPAA guidelines. However, legacy programs can have major challenges when it comes to regulatory compliance.

Furthermore, ERP and electronic health record (EHR) systems must adequately protect patient data. For example, data can only be shared or viewed by authorized individuals and exchanged in a manner that is disaggregated and protects a patient's privacy. Any information that can identify a patient must be given the most stringent technological safeguards. 

As such, you must use a system that protects patient data and ensures that only authorized individuals can access records. Failure to do so can result in major fines, licensure suspensions, or even jail time.

Of course, like any law, the legal interpretation and governing regulations surrounding HIPAA are constantly changing. Your accounting software and EHR system must be capable of making these adaptions quickly and smoothly. The system must also be capable of withstanding the scrutiny of government regulators. This means you have to be able to show how your ERP software is HIPAA-compliant.

All of this leads back to a fundamental question: Is this the case for you? And how confident are you that your system is compliant?

 

Cybersecurity

The stats surrounding cybersecurity and healthcare are highly demoralizing: Every day, it seems, major healthcare networks are having their systems hacked, data stolen, and reputations damaged. In many cases, hackers can access an ERP system, allowing them to look at a customer's most sensitive data.

There is no doubt that the world of cybersecurity has evolved extensively over the past year, to say nothing about how it has changed in the past decade. As such, you require an accounting software capable of meeting modern cybersecurity needs, meaning that your ERP software must:

  • Have constant technological support that updates the system, patches any holes, and can enact new safeguards to protect against current threats.
  • Provide constant training to staff and anyone in the system to teach them how to better recognize threats and protect themselves from them.
  • Keep data encrypted and inaccessible to anyone except those authorized to see it.
  • Have robust controls that restrict system access to only authorized individuals.
  • Use the latest cloud services software, such as Amazon Web Services, which Multiview Financial Software utilizes. As one of the leading servers in the world, Amazon Web Services has a series of highly robust defenses that can help reduce the odds of a successful hack or unauthorized entry.

Comes with its own customized security programs.

The simple truth is that legacy financial software is often incapable of adequately protecting a hospital or healthcare network from the threats posed by modern cybercriminals. This reality explains why it is so important that you update your financial software to have a system capable of fighting back against today's threats.

 

Telehealth

COVID-19 ushered in a series of changes to the medical and healthcare world. One of the most obvious is in the telehealth space. Of course, telehealth had always been used, but after the COVID-19 pandemic started, a series of emergency orders dramatically enhanced its insurance coverage, popularity, and necessity. This led to a series of digital transformations that has totally revolutionized healthcare.

However, to be managed, adequate back-office procedures needed to be created that would allow hospitals and healthcare networks to implement telehealth appropriately. In many cases, this was not a problem: newer systems had systems that allowed for telehealth. However, in some instances, telehealth presented major administrative challenges. Consider all of the areas that an ERP accounting software touches and ask yourself these questions about your systems:

  • Did your ERP software enable you to bill appropriately for telehealth?
  • If your state had different disaster declarations or you operated in multiple states, how easy was your financial software able to adapt to these challenges? How customizable were the adaptions? 
  • Could your ERP financial software manage these processes if you billed different rates for telehealth?
  • Did you track outcomes for telehealth?
  • What analytics was your ERP system able to generate that demonstrated just how useful your telehealth program was?

These are all vital questions and procedures, and many legacy ERPs could not meet the demands of a modern health insurance ecosystem.

 

COVID-19 

In addition to causing the widespread adoption of telehealth services, COVID-19 stressed and challenged the healthcare industry in every imaginable way. This included the stress and strain that it put on ERPs.

Consider all of the functions that a robust financial software is meant to manage:

  • Supply chain flexibility and inventory management.
  • Accounting and billing.
  • Record retention and data visualization.
  • React to regulatory changes and help hospital administrators recognize areas for improvement and non-compliance.
  • Appropriately gather data that could be used when convincing policymakers of needed changes that had to be made. 

In all of these cases, an ERP financial system needed to be flexible, capable of assisting administrators in developing emergency solutions, and able to rise to meet the moment. If a legacy system struggled in any of these areas, it could expose a hospital to potential health or financial challenges. 

Simply put, many legacy ERPs were not able to meet this moment. The systems were not easily customizable. They could not create new COVID-19 modules or easily enable authorized individuals to access and update protocols, data, and other vital metrics for managing the virus. The information may not be available on a mobile device, thus preventing individuals from safely and conveniently accessing the data. This kept doctors, nurses, and other practitioners in the dark and forced them to fight the deadly disease with one hand tied behind their backs.

This back office challenge quickly became a front office one: Without access to good data, practitioners didn't know what they were fighting.

 


 

You don't need this blog entry to tell you a fundamental truth: The world of healthcare and hospitals has changed dramatically over the past 3, 5, and 10 years. Therefore, you need the latest tools and technology in your organization if you want to optimize your business practices, enhance patient care, and make sure that you are operating in adherence to appropriate regulations. These are the benefits that newer ERPs — like the Multiview Healthcare ERP — can offer your organization. The Multiview Healthcare ERP has a slew of customized updates for your needs, and it helps your organization protect the safety of its data while enhancing your overall efficiency.

Ready to take the next step when it comes to updating your ERP? Contact us today to request a demo and learn more about how we can help your healthcare network leverage the latest in technology to benefit your entire system. 

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Multiview's ERP provides our clients with a comprehensive software suite that empowers their finance teams to advance their organizations.

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