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DOJ Settlement Focus On Patient Safety

The healthcare industry has gone through a drastic transformation in the last few years. The industry is quickly moving away from a fee for service reimbursement model that reduces costs since it no longer pays providers on how many services they perform. And this move also improves the overall value in the industry by improving outcomes, quality, patient engagement, continuum of care and, most importantly, the safety of patients. Now the industry is focused more on value-based reimbursement.

Today’s healthcare industry has seen a rise in technology-based services, such as apps and wearables, telemedicine and the ability to support patients who want to stay in their homes. The DOJ’s recent announcement of a settlement involving eClincialWorkds has generated a lot of buzz since it addressed the False Claims Act, with allegations against an electronic health vendor that made providers submit false claims for incentive payments because of misrepresentations with the capabilities of its software.

The settlement featured a Corporate Integrity Agreement that requires monitoring of patient safety issues and the implementation of a quality assurance program to see if there are defects that can hinder patient safety issues. Also, the agreement states that customers must be notified of any issues ASAP. This further demonstrates that safely using electronic health records is of upmost importance in patient care.

To further demonstrate this importance, the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry noted in its Executive Summery that this is a critical issue and that secure connectivity is a must as to not “betray patient safety.” This means that cybersecurity should no longer be just an IT issue, but needs to be addressed by all those part of an organization. This will mean that everyone in the workplace must understand the importance that they play in cybersecurity and must be properly trained on current and future federal and state privacy and security laws.

As we move forward in the digital age in healthcare, this new enforcement will help patients trust providers even more when it comes to their care. Cybersecuity is an important issue to not only improve patient safety, but also retain and attract new patients. It will also show that the organization is reliable and safe.

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