U Maryland Campuses Partner on AI, Cybersecurity for Medical Data

U Maryland Campuses Partner on AI, Cybersecurity for Medical Data

– The University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Baltimore County recently signed an agreement to leverage UMBC’s AI, machine learning, and cybersecurity experience to protect medical devices and data from cyberattacks.

The two campuses will also partner on furthering data-base medical research. To UMB Vice President of Clinical and Translational Research Stephen Davis, cybersecurity must be part of all clinical and research projects.

While UMB’s expertise is in the medical expertise, Bruce Jarrell, MD, executive vice president, provost, and dean of the Graduate School explained UMBC is more focused on technology. By partnering, the campuses will strengthen the campuses and other agencies across the state.

“It allows us to use the very broad data that we gather in delivering healthcare to ask research questions that perhaps we might not be able to ask in the past that would allow us to improve patient safety and advance our progress in cures,” Jarrell said in a state.

“The work that we’re about to do together is a very beautiful example of interdisciplinarity,” Philip Rous provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UMBC, said in a statement. “It is centered around bringing together experts, faculty, students with deep knowledge in different areas or perhaps different disciplines essentially to address, solve a problem, advance, innovate.”

UMBC will provide critical capabilities through core resources to UMBC’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), led by Davis.

The partnership will also create a Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence Core, which will enable the research team to design machine learning models to analyze large data sets and determine whether any data could be collected to improve analysis, while helping to uncover and overcome possible cybersecurity risks related to devices and or systems.

Notably, the UMB-UMBC partnership will also lend its support to the Baltimore hub of the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTDA). Officials said UMB joined Johns Hopkins University in the spring on a five-year grant meant to “improve the translational process, getting more treatments to patients more quickly.”

“It’s broader than cybersecurity,” Karl Steiner, vice president for research at UMBC, said in a statement. “Part of it is defense and part of it is scientific offense.”

Security leaders have long stressed that the healthcare sector should lean on outside resources and collaborate to fill cybersecurity gaps.

The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology recently told Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia: “Meaningful collaboration has proven one of the most under-utilized, cost-effective, and impactful strategies organizations can engage to mitigate hyper-evolving cyber threats. Threat sharing initiatives allow for stronger data protection and more importantly, for proactive deterrence options instead of reactive remediation efforts.”

The UMB-UMBC partnership should create a frame of reference for how to successfully accomplish common security goals, while fueling medical research and patient care.

Source: U Maryland Campuses Partner on AI, Cybersecurity for Medical Data

Health Data Security: Validic Receives ISO 27001 Certification

Health Data Security: Validic Receives ISO 27001 Certification

Validic, a provider of health data solutions for remote monitoring and virtual engagement, today announced it has received the ISO/IEC 27001: 2013 security certification. The certification follows a rigorous third-party auditing process and underscores Validic’s dedication to maintaining the most comprehensive, industry-leading data security standards.

As the incidence of data breaches increases both in frequency and severity, it is critical that organizations handling sensitive data have secure, validated Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) in place. In securing the ISO 27001 certification, Validic has proven its capabilities in maintaining the most secure standards and environments for personal health and lifestyle data.

Importance of ISO 27001 certification

ISO 27001 “specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system within the context of the organization,” and is one of the most well-known and recognized international standards for information security management.

Why It Matters

Requirements for ISO 27001 include proven data privacy standards, systems access control, and third-party security vetting. As Validic continues to expand its data science and connectivity capabilities, this certification ensures adherence to industry-leading security standards – protecting the four million connected lives Validic supports and the billions of data transactions Validic manages each month.

In addition to possessing the ISO 27001 certification, Validic also maintains a HIPAA-compliant, GDPR-compliant platform and its data center is SAS 70 Type II certified and SSAE16 (SOC2) compliant. The organization cultivates a culture focused on data security and privacy, and continues to expand the rigorous standards which it applies in regard to data security.

TrendMD v2.4.6

Source: Health Data Security: Validic Receives ISO 27001 Certification

Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment Halts, Reverses Alzheimer’s

Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment Halts, Reverses Alzheimer’s

A new medical device is showing that it may be possible to improve and even reverse cognitive decline in those with Alzheimer’s disease, all without drugs and with little noticeable side effects.

The MemorEM system from NeuroEM Therapeutics, a company based in Phoenix, Arizona, delivers transcranial electromagnetic treatment, or TEMT, to the brains of patients in two one-hour sessions each day for two months. This involves propagating electromagnetic waves toward β-amyloid aggregates that seem to be responsible for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In animal studies, it was shown that TEMT does indeed prevent β-amyloid aggregates from forming and even disrupts existing conglomerations.

In a study on eight patients who went through the regimen described above, all but one showed either a pause or reversal in cognitive decline, a remarkable achievement for a non-drug therapy. There doesn’t seem to be substantial side effects, so larger studies will hopefully commence soon.

Study: A Clinical Trial of Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment in Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive Enhancement and Associated Changes in Cerebrospinal Fluid, Blood, and Brain Imaging

Via: NeuroEM Therapeutics (PDF)

TrendMD v2.4.6

Source: Transcranial Electromagnetic Treatment Halts, Reverses Alzheimer’s

When an EHR is hacked by Russians

When an EHR is hacked by Russians

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Hippocrates didn’t have a server. (computer server)

In 2012 our practice invested $300,000 into building computer infrastructure and the purchase of a brand-spanking-new electronic health record, commonly referred to as an EHR. The mandate for this purchase was brought forth from the federal government with the intent to improve overall health care communication.

Since this expenditure, terms like image server, ethernet, firewall, hyperlink, backup server, IP address, fax queue, cache server, LAN, domain server, internet, intranet, and terminal emulation have been introduced into our practice’s lexicon.

None of these terms were even so much as mentioned to me in medical school lectures. They are now so interwoven into contemporary medicine that they will likely never go away. In the words of the 1990s character Forrest Gump, medicine and computers are like “peas and carrots.” ( Millennials, stream this movie tonight on Netflix.)

Computing technology — billed as an inevitable overall benefit to health care — remains a common barrier between physicians and their patients. Our practice has worked hard to be current and has even noticed some of the benefits of the electronic health record at times. E-scribing, easier communication with other doctors via fax and independence from a single paper chart are just a few of the improvements to our practice and, ultimately, our patients.

I would have agreed that despite the many glitches, the overall communication had improved perhaps slightly with the EHR – that is until last Monday.

Any positives experienced over the past seven years of EHR at NEO Urology Associates were instantly negated this past week. Monday morning our practice screeched to a complete halt at the hands of a foreign hacker from Russia who demanded $85,000 ransom from our practice in Boardman, Ohio, United States of America. The hacker’s leverage for cash was our precious patient files.

For over 45 years, our practice has cared for patient files as we would our own children. We nourished these charts by providing our medical opinions. We left notes about the passing of a spouse of a tearful patient, messages to ourselves to remind us to ask about a new grandchild to be born before the next visit, as well as trails of “breadcrumbs” for us and other health care providers to follow our care path for over 10,000 unique patients.

Our Russian “comrade” commandeered all of this information in seconds encrypting the data rendering all files unreadable. Our office was then unable to function at even the most primitive level for three painful days.

During The Hack our entire practice could not send or receive faxes, call patients, receive phone calls from hospitals or even access patient files on our EHR. Three hundred fifty-plus patients visits were canceled without us being able to inform them that their appointments were canceled. So much for improved communication! We might have found greater success placing paper cups to our ears with a string to connect them to reach out to our patients.

What happened on rare occasions was also, however, remarkable. Rarely, patients just decided to walk into our office. My staff and I greeted them and asked them how we could help them. We didn’t look up labs, referral letters, or other information on the computer because we couldn’t. What resulted was a very pleasant interaction where we listened to their concerns and alleviated his or her issue. It is nearly impossible for me to think all of this occurred without WiFi, a network login, or even a single laptop. I didn’t feel any less of a doctor, and I would argue that my communication with these patients was overall improved.

I am no Luddite. I appreciate computing technology and enjoy its benefits for my life. My children have iPads. I recently was given an Apple Watch for Father’s Day that I feel might already improve my life at times. Despite this, I, like most doctors, believe that computers are often a major barrier to patient care (read this article by Dr. Atul Gawande). Patients complain of doctors who bury their faces into computer monitors during medical visits. Doctors complain about snail-paced servers bogging down the efficiency of their day.

Electronic health records are reliably unreliable, causing recurrent delays throughout nearly every workweek. It is not unheard of in our practice for systems to slow or temporarily shut down on multiple occasions during a crowded office. In a job that has its own built-in stress, the added stress of stuttering technology is unwelcome, to say the least.

Our IT company (we have an IT company ) rescued our data and we are now running at around 85 percent speed. They hope to have us at full speed within the next few weeks. Our software vendor is dragging their feet and charging a $7,500 fee to reconfigure our relationship with them after this incident. The FBI and local law enforcement admit that since they were called after our data was recovered that they stand little chance of catching our Siberian scoundrel. A specialized technology company in Florida who our IT firm hired walked away the overall winner having earned $75,000 for a half day’s work. This cash was paid by our IT company’s insurance company to obtain our data forcibly.

A career in medicine is innately filled with stressful situations. As doctors, we encounter complex decisions one after another, where the implications of those decisions will change the course of another person’s life. Doctors have faced stress and have dealt with these stresses in their own ways for centuries. However, the contemporary physician is asked to deal with these stressful situations in addition to an equal amount of “non-medical” issues throughout the day. The introduction to information technology has added yet another complex blanket of stress that encompasses physicians.

There will arguably be a time when computers can and will make communication substantially better and more reliable in the medical world. Until this time, however, our generation is assigned the role of technology guinea pigs.

We have a choice to either complain about this, or we can learn to adapt, make the most of what we can, and innovate to make it better for the generation that follows us. A doctor’s purpose is to help to ease the suffering of his or her patients. Unfortunately, at the current time, to do so, doctors are themselves destined to suffer at the whim of little, electronic boxes.

Take home

Learn to use EHRs in expert fashion. Since technology is unreliable, control the one variable that you can. Develop skills that will enable you to chart efficiently and masterfully so that you increase your percent time spent with patients and decrease time with charting. Accept that medical technology is as much a part of your life as a doctor as it is the rest of your life. Also, if you have a knack for technology, become the agent of change by innovating.

Daniel Ricchiuti is a urologist who blogs at the Doctor Crisis.

Source: When an EHR is hacked by Russians

Universal background checks really do cut gun deaths

Universal background checks really do cut gun deaths

Controlling who has access to guns has much more impact on reducing gun-related homicides than controlling what guns people have, researchers report.

As the US reels from three back-to-back mass shootings—which occurred within the span of eight days in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio—Michael Siegel, a researcher at the School of Public Health at Boston University, says that mirrored analyses of FBI and CDC homicide data serve to “double down” on evidence supporting laws that work to cut gun deaths.

“Using completely different data sets, we’ve confirmed the same thing,” Siegel says. “The main lesson that comes out of this research is that we know which laws work. Despite the fact that opponents of gun regulation are saying, ‘we don’t know what’s going on, it’s mental health issues, it’s these crazy people,’ which doesn’t lend itself to a solution—the truth is that we have a pretty good grasp at what’s going on. People who shouldn’t have access to guns are getting access.”

Siegel’s latest study in the Journal of Rural Health reinforces previous research findings that laws designed to regulate who has firearms are more effective in reducing shootings than laws designed to control what types of guns are permitted. The study looked at gun regulation state by state in comparison with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data about gun homicides, gathered from police departments around the country.

The researchers’ analysis reveals that universal background checks, permit requirements, “may issue” laws, and laws banning people convicted of violent misdemeanors from possessing firearms can, individually and collectively, significantly reduce gun-related deaths.

It’s a particularly compelling finding because in March 2019, Siegel and collaborators drew virtually the same conclusion by analyzing state laws in comparison with death certificate data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected nationally.

In that study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Siegel’s team analyzed 25 years of national data to examine the relationship between 10 different types of state laws and the number of deaths by homicide and suicide in all 50 states.

The National Institute of Justice and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action Program funded the studies.

State gun laws requiring universal background checks for all gun sales resulted in homicide rates 15% lower than states without such laws. Laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by people who have been convicted of a violent crime were associated with an 18% reduction in homicide rates.

In contrast, Siegel found that laws regulating the type of firearms people have access to—such as assault weapon bans and large capacity ammunition magazine bans—and “stand your ground” laws have no effect on the rate of firearm-related homicide. The researchers did not find that any of the state gun laws they studied were related to overall suicide rates.

Universal background checks, which have long been a top priority for gun control advocates and policymakers in the United States, appear to have the biggest impact. Though there has been a push for federal gun regulations in recent years, the power to legislate gun sales and gun ownership is largely beholden to the states. And according to Siegel, the data doesn’t lie. The average firearm homicide rate in states without background checks is 58% higher than the average in states with background-check laws in place. As of 2017, only 13 states, including Massachusetts, had laws requiring universal background checks.

Here, Siegel explains the findings of these two studies:

The post Universal background checks really do cut gun deaths appeared first on Futurity.

Source: Universal background checks really do cut gun deaths