Medical Device Cybersecurity


The risks of failure of computer network security and unauthorized disclosure of private information are well-established in healthcare. 2015 was a noteworthy year for large breaches in healthcare, with major hacks against payers and providers, including Anthem and UCLA. In early 2016, the threat of intrusion from ransomware came to the foreground, with Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital publicly disclosing a threat against them and paying a ransom, and many other providers announcing that they also routinely face such attacks (while not necessarily paying the ransom demanded). These ransomware demands threaten the ongoing business activities of the provider, but also patient care and reputation as well.
This paper will review the cyber security risks that medical devices may present and how current insurances may respond to bodily injury exposures. We will also examine the current regulatory oversight of medical device software and security and provide a framework to analyze which insurance policies might respond to the breach, the parties that might be implicated in the chain of responsibility and how those policies collectively respond to bodily injury arising out of the failure of security of a medical device. [More]


Equipment Maintenance Alternatives


Let’s begin with full disclosure - I don’t buy maintenance agreements or extended warranties of any for any type for any type of product; including cars, refrigerators, cell phones, computers, printers, couches, driveways or anything else. Some might argue that it is prudent to warranty some of these items. However, my view is that in the long-run, it doesn’t make sense.

Now don’t get me wrong; I think there is a place for the short-term standard warranty that you automatically get when buying a product. There is always the possibility that you could wind up with a “lemon.” But financing extended warranties may not be the best decision for your organization.

Extended maintenance agreements are financial instruments. A good CFO is always looking to save money and get the best return on investment. Below we examine the pros and cons of these products. [More]


Humidity Levels in Surgical Settings


Recently, risk managers around the country have been called into internal discussions regarding “humidity requirements” in a surgical setting or operating room (OR). What are they? What should we be doing? What is required?

There have been a number of questions and conflicting interpretations of standards concerning relative humidity requirements (especially in California). In addition to the confusion we have seen about standards interpretation, there is also a “be careful what you wish for…” scenario that has developed. [More]


The Doctors Company On Defending Against Malpractice Allegations in Highly Publicized Cases


The media and general public often empathize with the patient when allegations of malpractice are raised. For a physician, this predisposition can be terrifying because it automatically paints the doctor as at fault, even when best practices were clearly followed. This video, presented by The Doctors Company (TDC), discusses the malpractice suit leveled against a physician in Texas involving a patient who overdosed on prescription drugs shortly after being treated. [More]


HIPAA Impact on Risk Management


Today everyone in the healthcare industry is aware of the impact of HIPAA, (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) on their daily activities. Protection of patient privacy is a paramount concern as release of patient information can have serious consequences for the patient as well as the provider. While every healthcare worker has an awareness of these regulations, few realize how easily an infraction of policy can be committed, and the associated risk to management is significant. [More]


What is a Waiver of Subrogation, and What Does It Do?


Requests for waiver(s) of subrogation are commonly seen in health-care staffing contracts and generally are implemented by the contractor without a great deal of thought. Here we will briefly examine what a Waiver of Subrogation does and this mechanism’s impact on medical staffing liability programs. [More]


Best Practices in Reducing Patient Transfer Claims


During a nursing in-service the following question was posed to the nurses: “How many of you go home with sore backs and need to take something to sleep at night because of it?” With most of the nurses raising their hands, we wanted to assure them they do not have to go home in pain and worry about if they will remain healthy until retirement. [More]


What can a medical practice learn from a data breach at Target?


I received two emails today from the Chase Bank fraud department stating that my credit card information may at risk due to Target’s data security breach. Not that I shop at Target all that much, but if I had been there even once between November 27 and December 15 my card information could be at risk. So much for being proactive and not waiting until the last minute to buy a few Christmas gifts. The good news is that there is nothing to show that my data has been compromised and they are sending me new cards; however, that also means that I have to change all of my auto-pay bills that are set up on that specific credit card… which is essentially every recurring bill that I have. [More]


Social Media and Healthcare Best Friends or Worst Enemies


Social media isn’t just a fad. Facebook is a $100 billion company with 1.1 billion users, LinkedIn has over 200 million users throughout 200 countries, Twitter has successfully filed its initial public offering, and Google is one of the most valuable and powerful companies on the planet. The social media revolution has affected every industry, yet it poses unique challenges for the healthcare sector. [More]


Growing Trend: Direct Employer Contracts with Healthcare Providers in the Self-Insured Industry


While not a new trend, direct employer contracting with providers is rapidly picking up steam, particularly among self-insured companies. The arrangement can provide employers and healthcare providers with myriad benefits, but with these benefits come risks.

Before providers agree to enter into such an arrangement with employers or approach self-insured employers to discuss a partnership (if this allowable under a provider's contract terms with existing health plans), it is important to understand how the arrangement works, why it can work well for both parties and some the risks providers need to be aware of. [More]