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How does a small rural healthcare system overcome the challenge of tech debt and secure their environment.

Transcript

 Today in health, it we're going to take a look at how rural hospitals can overcome outdated tech. And security challenges. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And creator of this week health. So channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare. One connection at a time. Today's show is brought to you by artist site one platform, infinite possibilities for improving health care artist sites, platform unlocks endless ways to relieve tension, reduce friction and make clinicians jobs easier from telemedicine to virtual nursing and beyond.

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Today's story Forbes. And it's how rural hospitals can overcome outdated tech and security challenges. Let me give you a little brief on this. So rural hospitals are facing challenges without data technology and increasing cybersecurity threats worsen by a 12.4% rise in healthcare costs between 2021 and 2023, which outpaced Medicare reimbursement growth. The situation, forces, hospitals to choose between immediate patient care needs and longterm investments in technology infrastructure. One solution is outsourcing. Chief information, officer and chief information security officer roles. To virtual or fractional executives who brings strategic oversight and specialized expertise.

This approach can help hospitals navigate cyber insurance, compliance, mandates and improve IP insecurity, operations. However, some argue in house expertise. Better understand the unique needs of these hospitals organizations must decide on the structure of these roles. Within their operations to balance it and cybersecurity effectively with models ranging from unified to independent leadership, utilizing virtual CEOs and CISOs can significantly strengthen technological resilience in resource limited, rural hospitals. That's the article.

It's a Forbes, I don't know, sometime around July 10th. Ish. Is when this article is a bit. As I look at this. Here's my first thought on this, can a virtual CIO or CSO. Help small rural hospitals. If you don't have a CIO or CSO. By all means, if you're that small, by all means tap into that expertise.

There are several other ways you could go. To be honest with you on the Cisco side, on the security side, I might look into just going flat out to a firm that you can outsource your security to. You're not going to be able to stand up a sock. You're not going to be able to stand up. Knock in many cases. You're probably going to need somebody to monitor those things at the end of the day, standing up tools and that kind of stuff is going to require some oversight.

And so you might as well skip the middleman and go straight to. A firm that can provide the, those kinds of outsource security services. One of our partners is four to five. Four or five security, four or five health security. And you could look at them and talk to them about their services.

They can also provide you a interim CSO. They're not sponsoring this show. I'm just saying that's the kind of firm you can go to. They can provide you the leadership. And the oversight. One of the mistakes that people make around security is if we bring in the security expert, that will be what we need.

The first thing is security experts going to give you as a laundry list of things that you're going to need to do by replace and all that other stuff you might as well get the full package instead of just the person who's going to give you the laundry list of things. That's my 2 cents around that. And if you're a Cisco who's offended by that and wants to be hired on by these firms. Go work for four to five or one of those other firms and they will place you in some of these other firms.

I just think the full package, otherwise, you're just going to get again, that laundry list. No, this, if you're a rural health system, And you're looking to shore these things up. There is going to be a laundry list of things you need to do. You're going to have tech debt. You need to take care of.

You're going to have in configure misconfigured. Devices, you're going to have training. You're gonna have all sorts of things you're gonna have to set up. You're gonna have to stratify your network. There's just a whole host of things that you probably have not done. You might as well find a firm that can not only tell you what needs to be done, but actually do the things that need to be done as part of a contract that gives you a fixed fee around those services.

That's my 2 cents on that. In terms of interim CIO as well. I'm not in the same camp on that one. At the end of the day, you're going to need somebody to guide you on. Your it journey. And interim CIO is a, an interim or even a fractional CIO is probably a good bet. You need somebody who's leading it. Now. Some of you may have a director who is good operationally. But it doesn't. I understand architecture or security, or they're going to have gaps.

They're going to have gaps in their understanding. That's a good place to invest. An interim CIO will be able to identify those gaps. Make recommendations around those gaps. A again, you may like, or not like the recommendations, but if you get a good if you get a good a fractional CIO, they're at least going to be able to paint the picture for you and lay out the roadmap that you need to follow to get from here to there.

So I have a little different take on this either way, if you're a rural hospital that's struggling, should we spend money on care or should we spend money on securing it? The bottom line is you. You have very difficult choices. But at the end of the day, it's going to help to have strategic advisors that can operate within that environment that understand your limitations and can make recommendations.

Quite frankly, every health system, I don't care how large or small. Has to make these decisions. Between their investments and their security level. I remember even at health system, I used to be at. We never strove to be, the department of defense level of security. Because we couldn't afford it.

Even at our $7 billion range, we could not afford it. So there are always trade-offs. There are always decisions and having a good technology leader and a good partner around security. To make those things happen. And, it's just a matter of timing. When's the right time to do this. Is it still the right time?

Is it still the right solution? Is it still the right technology? You need a trusted advisor who can take you down that path. Um, again, I appreciate this article. I appreciate the perspective on having that kind of leadership. I just differ. I think I would go with the fractional CIO. The fractional CSO.

If I'm going to do that, I'm going to do that in a package of a total solution of somebody that can actually implement those services recommend the software actually implement the software. Or processes and training that needed to be done. So that's the way I would take this if I was a small rural hospital and it really depends on where you're at, but there's always trade offs.

No, that there's always trade offs. And you just Yeah. Just know that every health systems making those trade-offs and you can only do the best that you can do, given the resources that you have. And that's all for today. Don't forget. Share this podcast with a friend or colleague, have a conversation around it.

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