Despite indications that Yahoo didn’t invest as heavily as it should have in cybersecurity, the fact that hackers swiped data from 500 million accounts – in a breach that went unnoticed for two years – underscores the vulnerability of sensitive data in healthcare and beyond. Speaking of cyberattacks, this week’s HIT List looks at the newest ransomware threat and also zeroes in on other top-of-mind issues, including cloud security and optimizing IT investment.

  1. Mamba venom. HDDCryptor, aka Mamba, is the newest ransomware danger. Unlike most ransomware, which only targets specific file types or folders on drives, removable media and networks, Mamba is capable of encrypting entire hard drives. Although first discovered in January, there’s been a recent surge in Mamba activity. There’s no time to waste making sure your defenses are up to snuff.
  2. Free from ONC. ONC has launched two new free, online resources to help healthcare providers optimize their IT investments. The EHR contract guide aims to make it easier to understand and communicate EHR requirements to vendors, negotiate contracts, ensure integration and manage risk. And the Health IT Playbook provides actionable guidance for getting the most out of health IT when it comes to challenges such as patient engagement, interoperability, population health and value-based care.
  3. The missing links? A host of new home diagnostic devices awaiting FDA clearance could boost telemedicine use by enabling patients to get doctors the data they need to diagnose virtually with confidence. Gadgets can capture and record a heartbeat and breathing, check vital signs, conduct eye exams and use built-in cameras to check out tonsils, ear canals, skin rashes, etc. See what other potential game-changers are in the works.
  4. Make way for nursebots. Robots may be the answer to the nation’s nursing shortage, which could leave as many as 1M jobs unfilled by 2020. A Finnish think tank says “nursebots” could do as much as one-fifth of the work nurses currently handle, including delivering medications to patients, helping patients get into wheelchairs, or updating patient data. Ultimately, the goal is to free nurses from simple, time-consuming tasks so they can focus on the ones that require a more specialized – and human – touch.
  5. Unclouded confidence. A whopping 95% of health care organizations expect to increase cloud usage in the future, and 61% of those planning to do so say it’s primarily due to growing confidence in the security and reliability of cloud service providers (CSP), a new study reports. Although nearly half the participants suffered a security breach, fewer than 10% blamed their CSP. Close to 60% of providers who have yet to adopt the cloud expressed intention to do so within the next two years. Check out the many benefits they hope to capitalize on by making the move to the cloud.


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