What in the world is that?

Have you ever wanted to search for an item, but you didn’t know what to call it?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just take a picture and search that way?  Now you can … in more ways than one.  It’s called image based searching, and it’s a lot of fun.  How you do it depends on what type of smart phone you have.

Andrew Clarke

Android phones have access to an app called Google Goggles.  Once you download and open the app, all you need to do is use the photo icon in the app to take a picture of the item you want to search for.  If Google recognizes the image, you will receive search information about it.  Google Goggles is not available on IOS, however.

If you have an iPhone, there’s an app called CamFind by Image Searcher, Inc.  I’ve tried it out, and it works great.  It works in a similar fashion to Google Goggles, and some users report even better search results.

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There’s more than one way to hack

A recent article in Healthcare IT Newsdiscusses “Visual hacking” – not something we perhaps are as conscious of as we should be. For example, someone is standing near your desk and not even facing your computer but how easy is it for the eye to stray for just a moment and if a patient’s name is visible . . . you’ve been hacked. Jessica Davis writes “When the Ponemon Institute released its 2016 Global Visual Hacking Experiment, the research firm found that 91 percent of visual hacking attempts are successful.”

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Also termed ”shoulder surfing” visual hacking occurs on desktop monitors, laptops, any kind of mobile device, and of course, paper records as well. Attacks are stealthy, occur quickly, and usually are undetected unless and until the information is used maliciously.

Davis interviewed Kate Borten, a Visual Privacy Advisory Council member and founder of The Marblehead Group. According to Borten, “Although training employees to protect against visual hacking is not required under HIPAA, CISOs and CIOs should not overlook the threat.”

Since so much of hacking is through the IT venue, and given the fact that visual hacking is not addressed by HIPAA, it’s easy to see why it can easily be overlooked.

There are some simple ways that visual hacking can be addressed including simply educating staff to the problem. Borten suggests “walk-around audits” to identify areas of vulnerability. The angle of screens away from doors, privacy filters, and screen savers are all ways that can cut down on the opportunity for patient data to be visually hacked.

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Be prepared — part two

Last week, NEMT President Linda Allard blogged about preparing our business and home offices for recovery in the event of a natural disaster.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

At the same time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its federal disaster preparedness requirements for healthcare providers and suppliers.

In the healthcare documentation industry, we need to ensure that all of our transcriptionists, coders, IT specialists and others can continue to work — or have seamless coverage — if the power or Internet goes out.

For hospitals, nursing homes and other providers, it’s a lot more physical. The new rules — which providers will have a year to put into practice — are intended to make sure patients can be treated in the middle of hurricanes, floods, terrorist attacks or pandemics.

One of the major requirements involves testing generators because catastrophic generator failure has been a repeated problem in hospitals and nursing homes during major storms.

The government predicts it will cost more than $279 million to implement the preparedness measures. By this time next year, we’ll know if they’re right.

For those of us in the documentation field, the new measures are another reminder for us to check our own backup plan.

  • Is your data backed up to the cloud?
  • If you can’t work tomorrow or even call in to give instructions, can someone else pick up your job and keep moving?
  • If a disaster takes out power in your entire region, can you get enough people in an unaffected area to pick up the work seamlessly?
  • And our “hit by a bus” scenario — if you are hit by a bus on the way to work, can someone else find all of your files? Will they know what to do with them? Can they figure out what you’ve named your files and how you’ve saved them?

Disasters are inevitable. Surprise isn’t – plan ahead.

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Posted in News and stories | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Disaster recovery — be prepared

It’s hurricane season. For some parts our our country, this weekend has been one of dealing with a disaster that has caused all different types of damage depending where you live. Last month we watched a state going through massive flooding where people lost everything they had. One of our own team members had this happen. Before that there were terrible storms in the southeast, and I woke up to find a tree across my yard, into the garage roof and on a car. I was one of the lucky ones.

NEMT President Linda Allard

These natural disasters remind us that we need to be prepared in our facilities or companies. NEMT keeps a map of all team members so we can quickly see how many MTs will be impacted and not only keep up with them but get help from MTs in other parts of the country in case of power outages, etc. We also maintain a separate disaster recovery website that contains procedures for all departments in addition to technical backup plans.

Are you prepared for a disaster? We are all supposed to be prepared, but are we? I know I am going to go through my procedures to make sure they are all working. Have you done a test run on your disaster recovery program? Now might be the right time to perform one.

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Do you have the right protection?

A friend of mine recently bought a new Windows 7 computer for his wife. He asked if I could recommend anti-virus software, etc. Before I gave him my recommendation, I decided to take a quick look at the different free options Microsoft offers, and I’m glad I did. I discovered that not all versions of Microsoft Defender are the same. What the product does depends on what operating system you have.

Andrew Clarke

If you are running Windows 7 or Vista, Windows Defender only removes spyware. To get rid of viruses and other malware, including spyware, you need to use Microsoft Security Essentials.

If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 10, the built-in Windows Defender gets rid of viruses, spyware and other malware. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to call the built-in product Microsoft Security Essentials? That would have eliminated a lot of confusion. Oh well.

No matter what operating system you’re running, always remember that you are the most important anti-virus and anti-malware tool you have. Social engineering and lack of paying attention is the number one way unwanted programs are introduced into your system.

Think before you click.

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Posted in IT | Tagged , | 1 Comment