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Breaking Bad And HIT: Some Thoughts for Healthcare

Posted on June 2, 2015 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Recently, I’ve been re-watching the blockbuster TV series hit “Breaking Bad” courtesy of Netflix. For those who haven’t seen it, the show traces the descent of a seemingly honest plain-Joe suburbanite from high school chemistry teacher to murderous king of a multi-state crystal meth business, all kicked off by his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

As the show clearly intends, it has me musing once again on how an educated guy with a family and a previously crime-free life can compromise everything that once mattered to him and ultimately, destroy nearly everything he loves.

And that, given that I write for this audience, had me thinking just as deeply what turns ordinary healthcare workers into cybercriminals who ruthlessly exploit people’s privacy and put their financial survival at risk by selling the data under their control.

Sure, some of data stealing is done by black-hat hackers who crack healthcare networks and mine them for data at the behest of organized crime groups. But then there’s the surprises. Like the show’s central character, Walter White, some healthcare cybercriminals seem to come out of the blue, relative “nobodies” with no history as gangsters or thieves who suddenly find a way to rationalize stealing data.

I’d bet that if you dug into the histories of those healthcare employees who “break bad” you’d find that they have a few of the following characteristics in common:

*  Feeling underappreciated:  Like Walter White, whose lowly chemistry-teacher job was far below his abilities, data-stealing employees may feel that their talents aren’t appreciated and that they’ll never “make it” via a legitimate path.

* Having a palatable excuse:  Breaking Bad’s dying anti-hero was able to rationalize his behavior by telling himself that he was doing what he did to protect his family’s future well-being. Rogue employees who sell data to the highest bidder may believe that they’re committing a victimless crime, or that they deserve the extra income to make up for a below-market salary.

Willful ignorance:  Not once, during the entire run of BB, does White stop and wonder (out loud at least) what harm his flood of crystal meth is doing to its users. While it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how people could be harmed by having their medical privacy violated — or especially, having their financial data abused — some healthcare workers will just choose not to think about it

Greed:  No need to explain this one — though people may restrain naturally greedy impulses if the other factors listed above aren’t present. You can’t really screen for it, sadly, despite the damage it can do.

So do you have employees in your facilities on the verge of breaking bad and betraying the trust their stewardship of healthcare data conveys? Taking a look around for bitter, dissatisfied types might be worth a try.

Happy Memorial Day!

Posted on May 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In the US, today is Memorial Day. It’s a bit ironic that I’m writing about Memorial Day in the US while I’m teaching an EHR workshop in Dubai. While I love international travel, experiencing other cultures and meeting people with different perspectives, the travel also reminds me how lucky I am to live where I live and do what I do. There are a lot of amazing people who have lost their lives in order for that to be possible for me. I’m thinking about that this Memorial Day.

This never hit home more to me than when I saw this Memorial Day post by Dr. Nick. It included the following image:
Memorial Day Image

I’ll admit that the image is a bit shocking and heart wrenching for me to look at. Although, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. It’s important to remember the amazing warriors who have fought for our freedom throughout the years. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

The Newest Company to Take on Healthcare IT

Posted on April 1, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’ve been working on this for years, and it’s now finally come together just in time for HIMSS 2015. However, we couldn’t wait to announce it. This new company is the coming together of the top leaders in healthcare social media. Imagine if the #HIT100 all worked for one company. That’s basically what we’ve put together in this new healthcare IT company.

This new Healthcare IT company can cover any of your healthcare IT needs. For example, what kind of healthcare social media dream team would it be if we didn’t have @MandiBPro working with us. She’s the lead data geek, but her official title is Mythical Unicorn #1. If you need an XML schema merge, she’s your gal. However, what would a data geek be without a well thought out workflow? For all your healthcare workflow needs we’ve brought in @wareFLO. He’s ready and willing to solve all of your workflow challenges. No seriously. @wareFLO puts himself to sleep at night by counting the workflows.

I won’t go into all the details of who’s doing what at this new company, but here’s a quick look at some of the amazing people, titles, and skills we’ve brought together to satisfy all your needs:
@HealthcareWen – Chief of the Tweets
@2healthguru – Making You Look Good on Camera
@drnic1 – Resident CMO
@michnoteboom – Inga the Storyteller
@techguy – Chief Whipping Boy
@CariMclean – Lead Meme Creator (also lead Ballerina)
@john_chilmark – Head of Snark and Reality Checks
@Brad_Justus – ICD-10 Whisperer (He starts October 1st)
@HLSgirl – Rapper Queen B (see this..nuff said)
@sarahbennight – Chief Happiness Officer
@Greg_Meyer93 – Push Up Challenge Coordinator
@FarzadsBowtie – Chief Style Coordinator (HIT Never looked so good)
@askjoyrios – Customer Service Master (Could she ever be mean? Answer: NO! That’s why she handles the customers.)
@Colin_Hung – International Lead (Assuming you consider Canada international)
@HITConfGuy – Chief Health IT Conference Coordinator
@laurencstill – Chief Useless (but necessary) Documentation Creator

You might be asking yourself, who’s the leader of this group of healthcare IT social media misfits? The answer is simple: no one. We believe in the principles of Holocracy and so there’s no need for a specific leader. We all just do our work and everyone’s happy. Sounds nice doesn’t it?

I’m sure you’re all thinking to yourself, how do I get a job at this new company? I want to work with this amazing cornucopia of people! We’ll be hiring healthcare IT professionals soon.

Without further ado, I’m excited to officially announce the launch of #FoolHIT. If there’s an HIT problem, Yo, we’ll solve it. Check out our social stats while my Hootsuite revolves it. HIT HIT Baby…To Go…HIT HIT Baby To Go To go. (Yes, that’s our theme song.)

We’ll see if the company lasts until tomorrow.

UPDATE: I think this is pretty apparent, but just in case…this was just an April Fool’s Day post. Although, how fun would it be to work with all these amazing people?

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln Quotes

Posted on February 16, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I thought it would be fun to look at some quotes from Presidents on President’s day that might inspire you. I hope you enjoy the following quotes.
George Washington - EMR and HIPAA

Abraham Lincoln - EMR and HIPAA

Happy New Year! 2014 EMR and HIPAA Stats Report

Posted on January 2, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope that everyone has had a safe and wonderful holiday season. Today I saw a tweet of my 2012 EMR and HIPAA Stats Report and I decided it would be fun to do the same report again for 2014. In fact, I should probably do this on all of the Healthcare Scene blogs each year. It would definitely tell a great story.

Here are some interesting stats I got from a report on EMR and HIPAA for 2014.

In 2014, we published 282 new posts on EMR and HIPAA, growing the total archive of this blog to 2,182 posts.

EMR and HIPAA was viewed about 1,600,000 times in 2014. The busiest day of the year was December 20th with 14,522 views.

I always find my list of top posts for 2014 ironic since they often are posts from previous years. However, you can see why the top posts are still interesting in 2014:
1. Windows XP Won’t Be HIPAA Compliant April 8, 2014
2. Crazy and Funny ICD-10 Codes
3. 2014 EHR Mandate
4. EHR Certification Flexibility Final Rule Commentary and Analysis
5. 6 Healthcare Incubators Growing the Future of HealthTech

I’m particularly proud of the Windows XP is a HIPAA violation post. It’s an important post since it could save a lot of organizations a lot of money in HIPAA penalties and the embarrassment of HIPAA violations.

EMR and HIPAA has had visitors from 185 countries in all, but the US is far and away the top readership. Thanks to the 2,028 views that came from Italy (sorry, I have an Italy bias addiction in case you didn’t know).

I hope you enjoyed the stats and thanks for reading! Here’s to a wonderful 2015!

Happy New Year!

Posted on January 1, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Happy New Year Health IT

Thanks to everyone for reading! Happy New Year! I hope each one of you has a prosperous and happy 2015. I’m planning to spend some time today thinking about 2015 and what I want to accomplish. So many opportunities and so little time. Time to make sure I’m heading in the right direction.

Thanks for all your support in 2014!

Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 25, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I hope everyone’s enjoying their Christmas. Here’s a look into mine (with 2 of my beautiful children). Merry Christmas!

wpid-20141225_193217.jpg

6 Thanksgiving ICD-10 Codes

Posted on November 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I thought it fitting that AdvancedMD sent me 6 ICD-10 codes to be thankful for. Healthcare Humor…who doesn’t enjoy that? Happy Thanksgiving!

Y93.G3 Activity, Cooking and Baking
Ah, the turkey is roasting and the potatoes are boiling. And Cousin Carl just chopped the end of his finger off while preparing the veggie tray. He will earn this ICD-10 code, along with W26.0, Contact with Knife, to forever remember this year’s Thanksgiving…and that nasty scar.

W61.42 Struck by Turkey / W71.43 Pecked by Turkey / W61.49 Other Contact with Turkey
Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey. If three is a terrible mishandling of dinner’s main dish, or if a still-flapping gobbler enacts revenge, ICD-10 has three codes that are perfect for the season’s avian-related incident.

W21.01 Struck by Football
Another Thanksgiving staple is the good ol’ American sport of football. Usually, unless there is cheering for opposing teams, televised football games are safe enough. But a well-intentioned family flag-football game can result in a quick trip to the emergency room.

R63.2 Polyphagia (Overeating)
Parrots aren’t the only ones to watch out for this season. If a vampire or zombie takes their costume a bit too seriously, this code will record the chomp.

Y04.0 Assault by Unarmed Brawl or Fight
Black Friday shopping has become just as much a part of Thanksgiving as stuffing and pumpkin pie. But this mass hysteria for great deals doesn’t come without risks—especially when there are two shoppers and only one great bargain up for grabs. Get your extreme shopping skills up to snuff or Y04.0 and Y92.59, Other trade areas (mall) as the place of occurrence of external cause, may be jotted in your electronic health records.

W21.01 Lack of Adequate Sleep
No matter how we choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, few of us escape the meal prep, early morning shopping and family togetherness without a mild case of exhaustion. For those who try to do it all, there is an ICD-10 code for that.

Now I’m off to recover from my W21.01 and R63.2. Although, let me tell you, I had one of my best Turkey Bowl days ever. So much fun! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Happy Veteran’s Day

Posted on November 11, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today, I wanted to take a moment to remember the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. I recently read an article that talked about how we use to celebrate the WWII veteran’s when they would return from war. They talked about the glorious welcome home that each of these veterans would receive. Then, they discussed how our current veterans don’t seem to get the same welcome home as those WWII veterans did. They suggested that it was because our current military is a volunteer force whereas many WWII military were drafted.

I think this is true to some extent and it’s unfortunate. Certainly our current volunteer military deserves as much support and praise as those who were drafted to go to war. Hopefully on this Veteran’s Day we can all take a little time to think about this and support those people who literally risk life and limb to keep our country free. That’s worthy of support and celebration.

I know that so many in healthcare are Veteran’s. At the recent CHIME Fall Forum the big party was a full on rodeo at this amazing ranch in Texas. At one point during the rodeo the announcer honored the military veterans and asked that they all stand up to be recognized. I was impressed by the number of people who stood up. They fought the war for our country and now they’re fighting the war for patients. That’s definitely worthy of our honor and respect.

Veteran's Day

Happy Halloween!

Posted on October 31, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m just getting back from a week full of MGMA and CHIME. I’m in full recovery mode as I head off to trick or treating with my children. Looks like many others in healthcare IT are doing the same:


I wish this included a picture.


CMS loves to do this on holidays.

And this is what I have to look forward to tonight (Aren’t they cute?):
Healthcare Scene Kids