The Importance of Data Privacy in Senior Living

 

The Importance of Data Privacy in Senior Living

As the population ages and more seniors require assisted living and long-term care, the importance of data privacy in the senior living industry becomes increasingly vital. With the amount of personal information being collected, stored, and shared among healthcare providers, government agencies, and insurance companies, it is essential that seniors and their families have confidence in the security and privacy of their information.

The Risks of Data Breaches in Senior Living

Data breaches in the senior living industry can have severe consequences, not just for the senior residents but also for the senior living facility. Personal information such as Social Security numbers, medical records, and financial information can be compromised, leading to identity theft and financial fraud. In addition, a data breach can damage the reputation of the senior living facility, leading to loss of trust and potential loss of business.

Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations

To address these risks, senior living facilities must comply with a variety of state and federal regulations related to data privacy, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These regulations dictate how personal information must be protected, including the use of secure storage and transmission methods, regular risk assessments, and employee training on data privacy best practices.

Implementing Strong Data Privacy Measures

One of the key ways that senior living facilities can protect personal information is through the implementation of strong data privacy measures. This includes using secure servers and encryption technologies to protect stored data, as well as implementing strict access controls to limit who can access sensitive information. In addition, regular risk assessments and penetration testing can help identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.

Another important aspect of data privacy in senior living is employee training. It is essential that all staff members understand the importance of data privacy and their role in protecting personal information. This can include training on data privacy regulations, best practices for handling personal information, and the consequences of data breaches.

The Importance of Transparency and Communication

In addition to implementing strong data privacy measures, senior living facilities must also be transparent about their data privacy practices and communicate effectively with residents and their families. This includes providing clear information about how personal information is collected, stored, and shared, as well as regularly updating residents and their families on any changes to the facility’s data privacy policy.

Effective communication also includes providing residents and their families with the opportunity to review their personal information and request any corrections or updates. This can help to ensure that the information being collected and stored is accurate and up-to-date.

Conclusion

As the senior living industry continues to grow, the importance of data privacy will only become more vital. By complying with data privacy regulations, implementing strong data privacy measures, and promoting transparency and communication, senior living facilities can help to protect the personal information of their residents and maintain the trust of their families.

5 key areas a full IT assessment will examine in your senior living community’s technology

As a senior living community, it is important to ensure your technology is up-to-date and running smoothly to provide a comfortable and safe environment for your residents and efficient systems for your staff. At vcpi.com, we offer full IT assessments to help you achieve this goal.

But what exactly does a full IT assessment cover? Here are 5 key areas that our team will examine during the assessment:

1.  Hardware: The IT team will take inventory of all hardware, including computers, servers, and other devices, to ensure they are sufficient and in good working condition. They will also assess the age and lifespan of the hardware to determine if any updates or replacements are necessary.

2.  Network infrastructure: The assessment will examine the community’s network infrastructure, including routers, switches, and wiring, to ensure it is capable of handling the community’s current and future technology needs.

3.  Cybersecurity: With the increasing threat of cyber attacks, it is essential to ensure the community’s data and systems are secure. Our IT team will assess the community’s cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and security protocols, to ensure they are up-to-date and effective.

4.  Software: The IT team will assess the community’s software to ensure it is compatible with the hardware and meets the needs of the community. They will also assess the age and lifespan of the software to determine if any updates or replacements are necessary.

5.  User needs: The IT team will consider the needs of the community’s users, including residents and staff, to ensure the technology meets their needs and is user-friendly. This may include assessing the community’s current systems for managing tasks such as scheduling and communication, and determining if there are any areas for improvement.

At vcpi, we have the expertise and experience to provide a thorough and comprehensive IT assessment for your senior living community. Our team will work with you to identify any necessary updates or improvements to ensure your technology is meeting the needs of your community and is prepared for the future. Find out more information on IT assessments and other assessments we provide.

 

The benefits of implementing a business intelligence dashboard in senior living

As the senior living industry continues to grow and evolve, facilities are increasingly looking for ways to improve operations and enable growth. One effective solution is the implementation of a business intelligence (BI) dashboard. By using data to track and analyze key metrics and performance indicators, facilities can gain valuable insights into their business and make more informed decisions.

One of the main benefits of using a BI dashboard is the ability to track key metrics and performance indicators in real-time. This allows facilities to monitor the health and well-being of their residents, and identify any potential issues or challenges before they become serious. For example, a facility can track metrics such as the number of falls, the incidence of chronic conditions, and the quality of care provided by staff. By analyzing this data, facilities can identify trends and patterns, and take action to address any problems or concerns.

Another benefit of using a BI dashboard is the ability to make more informed decisions. By using data to analyze the performance of different departments and services, facilities can identify areas for improvement and make strategic changes to their operations. This can help them optimize their resources, reduce costs, and improve the quality of care for their residents.

Additionally, using a BI dashboard can help facilities better understand the needs and preferences of their residents. By tracking data on their interests and activities, facilities can tailor their services and programs to better meet the needs of their residents. This can help improve satisfaction and engagement, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents.

Furthermore, implementing a BI dashboard can support the growth and expansion of a facility. By using data to track key metrics and performance indicators, facilities can gain valuable insights into their business and identify opportunities for growth. This can help them make strategic decisions and plan for the future, ensuring the long-term sustainability of their business.

In conclusion, implementing a BI dashboard in senior living can provide many benefits for facilities, residents, and staff. By using data to improve care and operations, facilities can enhance the quality of life for their residents and ensure the long-term sustainability of their business.

Press Release

Cambridge Healthcare and vcpi Partner on Digital Transformation Initiatives 

 

Cambridge Healthcare Services has partnered with vcpi for its newest digital transformation initiatives.  After recently joining Cambridge as CEO, Lance Hassell created numerous high-priority initiatives that are already making positive impacts for Cambridge Healthcare’s staff and residents.  “Vcpi has been a long standing partner of Cambridge, and they were eager to help us craft and execute a technology plan for the future” said Hassell.  In addition to providing Cambridge a fully managed IT solution for daily operations, vcpi is thrilled to be partnering on key digital transformation initiatives that will allow Cambridge Healthcare to take advantage of the latest technologies available in the industry while also comprehending emerging technologies that will impact future growth and caregiving activities.

Vcpi has been providing a full suite of IT services for Cambridge since 2012.  During this time, Cambridge has tripled the number of communities in its operation and looks forward to further expansion. “We expect continued growth and vcpi enables the technology for that to happen,” adds Paulina Salazar, CFO of Cambridge Healthcare. 

 

In recent years, vcpi has collaborated with Cambridge to develop a more robust and flexible technology platform that can keep pace with the organizations rapid growth and dynamic needs. “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best technology solutions in the industry,” says Gary Jones, General Manager of vcpi. “Over the past several years vcpi has revolutionized our technology platform to make it easier for our customers to manage their business. We are proud to bring these services to great clients like Cambridge to help streamline their operations and provide an outstanding caregiving experience to their residents.” 

 

About vcpi 

As the largest provider of Managed IT Services in Senior Living and Post-Acute Care, vcpi provides the industry’s most comprehensive managed IT services to the nation’s leading providers. Vcpi delivers a complete range of Managed IT Services including: Help Desk, Network Infrastructure, Security, Application Support, Cloud Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery. 

 

About Cambridge Healthcare Services 

Cambridge Healthcare Services’ affiliated entities are providing 24-hour post-acute and long-term care to communities across California. We offer support services to these entities as they strive to be premier providers of nursing and rehabilitation services. 

Cybersecurity Insurance: What is it and how to prepare.

Cybersecurity Insurance

Are you covered in case of a cyberattack?

Senior living organizations are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, as their residents are often reliant on technology for communication and care. As a result, many senior living organizations now consider cyber insurance to be a critical asset to their risk mitigation strategy. Cyber insurance typically covers the costs of investigating and responding to a cyberattack, as well as any damages that may result. It can also provide coverage for the loss of data or income that results from an attack. In addition to malicious cyber attacks, insurance commonly covers a wide variety of other upstream failures of technology.

While the thought of obtaining cyber insurance can seem daunting, the peace of mind it gives to you, your communities, and your residents is priceless. Some of the items needed in place to apply for cyber insurance are.

  • MFA Controlled access – On the dark web, there are 15 billion credentials, a 300% rise from 2018. Without this remote factor, attackers are unable to use them effectively thanks to multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA has become more important than ever to secure access to sensitive systems and data due to remote working.
  • Prepared & Tested Incident Response Plans – An up-to-date incident response plan with a trained team like vcpi provides efficiency, speed, and quality in response to cyber incidents. When combined with backups and business continuity plans, it significantly helps to mitigate the impacts on operations and your organization’s reputation, thereby limiting overall costs.
  • Secured & Tested Backups – Attackers are looking to delete backups prior to launching a ransomware attack launch so they can successfully cripple and extort their victims. It is essential to secure backups through encryption and isolation from the network (Offline or MFA-controlled access) as well as regularly test backups and recovery plans.
  • Filtered Emails & Web Content – Malicious links and files are still the primary way to insert ransomware, steal passwords, and eventually access critical systems. Today’s first line of defense includes indispensable technologies to filter incoming emails, block malicious sites or downloads; and test suspicious content in a “sandbox” environment.
  • Protected Network – All breached organizations used firewalls to protect their networks – but the technology is often underutilized or outdated. Now is the time to ensure efficient firewalls and other technologies are in place with well-defined rules; leverage network segmentation, intrusion detection and prevention systems, data leak prevention systems, etc.
  • Managed Vulnerabilities -Regular vulnerability scans and annual penetration testing simulate cyber attacks on the network. Such actions allow organizations to cover existing vulnerabilities and remediate them before threat actors have a chance to exploit them.
  • Secured Endpoints – Advanced anti-malware solutions on workstations, servers, and mobile devices detect malicious programs and contain their speed. Technology allows organizations to remotely respond to attacks and even prevent data leakage. The time when simple ‘anti-virus’ was good enough is behind us.
  • Phishing-Aware Workforce – Recently, attackers took advantage of COVID-19 – when people were stressed the most – as a guise to spread ransomware. There will always be environmental factors that attackers can exploit to deceive people. Training and phishing campaigns help ensure people remain aware and vigilant.
  • Logged & Monitored Network – Logging and monitoring network activities allow an organization to identify something possibly harmful that might be happening. And attackers’ actions can be detected and contained at an early stage. Automated technology combined with operators monitoring is needed to watch network events or anomalous behavior of users.
  • Patched Systems & Applications – Unpatched vulnerabilities remain a leading cause of intrusions into systems. Hundreds of vulnerabilities are revealed every month for multiple applications and systems. When technology environments are not patched in a timely fashion, attackers will seek to exploit their vulnerabilities.
  • Protected Privileged Accounts – Privileged accounts are the keys to a network. When attackers compromise these accounts, the likelihood of causing significant harm is extremely high. Limiting the number of privileged accounts, using strong password security practices/vaults, MFA, and monitoring these accounts are critical to network security.
  • Hardened Device Configuration – Attackers exploit default device settings or misconfigurations. Defining security baselines to harden devices, continuously managing secure configurations, and changing control processes are essential to preventing attackers from reaching their target.

Senior living organizations that purchase cyber insurance can rest assured that they will have the resources they need to recover from an attack and protect their residents. We highly encourage all senior living organizations to meet with a broker to find available options. By purchasing insurance, organizations can minimize the financial and emotional impact of a cyberattack.

For more information on how you can protect your organizations and residents reach out to our team. And to see where your vulnerabilities lie, get a FREE Risk Intelligence Scan. We will provide you with a report of sensitive and at-risk data across your managed networks and workstations, revealing how much a data breach might cost. 

Why Senior Care Organizations Should Get a HIPAA Security Assessment (HSA)

From caregiver mobile apps to “smart” homes, digital tools are becoming a necessity for seniors transitioning between types of care. As care goes more digital, it becomes more critical than ever for senior living organizations to protect their IT systems against data breaches and the costly HIPAA fines that come with them.

HIPAA Compliance in Senior Living 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a government legislation designed to protect health-related data, ranging from employee information to patient records. HIPAA helps to hold U.S. healthcare organizations accountable for protecting data when switching from paper to electronic record systems.

Healthcare is going more digital by the day, particularly in senior care. Obtaining and maintaining HIPAA compliance is an ongoing cybersecurity role, which senior care organizations may consider outsourcing. At vcpi, we understand the unique HIPAA challenges in home health and assisted living, and how they differ from brick-and-mortar healthcare companies. For example, the Covered Entity must educate all employees, including home health workers, on how to remain HIPAA compliant. Home health employees who use their own devices are at greater risk of loss and theft. It is unsafe to allow personal device use for agency work unless proper security measures are implemented.

Vcpi HIPAA Assessment Services 

The scope of vcpi’s HIPAA Security Assessment (HSA) details the enterprise-wide administrative, physical, and technical controls that protect a company’s Protected Health Information (PHI) in multiple forms.

Typically, our team visits client sites and conducts phone calls to obtain information for the HSA, which includes their existing cybersecurity documentation. We analyze the technical, administrative, and physical security controls, assigning risk levels to each as well as recommendations for improvement. Our reports also present the client’s current compliance levels based on the HIPAA Security Rule and HITECH Act.

We present findings and recommendations on how to remediate risks to organizational management.

Note: These reports are not intended to make a statement or declaration on the client’s overall compliance with HIPAA Security Rule, HITECH Act, or any other applicable regulations. Compliance statements are the clients’ and appropriate regulatory enforcement authority’s responsibility.

Assessment Methodology 

Our HIPAA Security Assessment (HSA) leverages the HIPAA Security Rule and HITECH Act requirements to assemble a baseline of security control objectives.
Vcpi works with clients to perform the following:

  • Obtain necessary documentation
  • Complete assessment paperwork
  • On-site visits
  • Identify, discuss and follow up on findings

First, our team assesses the client’s existing documentation, including company policies, standards, procedures, and related Information Security governance documents. We record every piece that satisfies control objectives in the HSA.

After analyzing documentation, we meet with key client security representatives to discuss their security control environment. We typically conduct these discussions with the review and testing or remaining physical, technical, and administrative controls to measure their effectiveness.

Risk Ratings

After collecting and analyzing security control data, our team assigns risk ratings to each control. These findings explain the severity of the risk and potential impacts on the client’s business operations, information assets, and systems. The below graphic displays a typical outcome:

 

Cost is variable based on scope, industry, and related factors.

10 Best Practices for Secure Web Browsing for Senior Living Communities

We all know how easy it is to get distracted while surfing the web.  A related story here, a special offer there, and suddenly you’re running in a whole different direction from where you started. However, that seemingly innocuous link may prove to be a trap, divulging information you never intended to share. So it’s increasingly important you develop browsing habits that will help you improve the security of your online activities.

Below we’ve put together a list of simple recommendations that will significantly strengthen your browsing security.

The Benefits of a Digital Workspace

vcpi_blog_workspace

The importance of providing an effective digital workspace has been accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. This crisis has greatly increased the adoption of remote working, the use of mobile devices, and the need to provide your employees with a platform to easily and securely access the applications and information they need to collaborate on a daily basis. In addition, the unprecedented adoption and convergence of mobility, cloud, virtualization, and advanced cybersecurity technologies presents a challenging ecosystem for IT teams to maintenance and manage. Traditional workspaces are quickly becoming a thing of the past, while digital workspaces are becoming powerful competitive differentiators as businesses seek new levels of agility in their processes, and service delivery methods, while providing greater flexibility for their employees by optimizing the remote collaboration experience.

Announcing: Dan Bradford – HDI Brew City 2021 Analyst of the Year!

vcpi_email_HDI 2021 analyst of the year Dan BIn 2004 HDI, an international organization for technical support professionals, introduced the Analyst of the Year award. Each year, HDI works with their local chapters around the globe to identify the industry’s top first-level support analyst. Individuals who are nominated at the local chapter level compete with their peers locally, regionally, and globally for this prestigious award.