Free EHR, EHR and Healthcare IT Newsletter Want to receive the latest updates on EHR, EMR and Healthcare IT news sent straight to your email? Get all the latest EHR News for FREE!

Digital Overload of Healthcare Information and Looming Deadlines Driving New Challenges for IT Executives

Independent Study Commissioned by Level 3 Reveals Confidence Lacking in Network Security as Infrastructure Demands Continue to Increase

Broomfield, CO — Network security issues, vital infrastructure upgrades, Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation and impending federal deadlines will guide priorities this year, according to an independent research study of 100 healthcare provider CIOs and senior IT executives commissioned by Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT). At the same time, healthcare CIOs and IT executives are less inclined to focus on mobile-enabled healthcare (mHealth) and slow to adopt cloud computing based on survey responses.

Research highlights and IT challenges for 2013 include:

—56 percent were only “somewhat confident” in their ability to prevent a privacy or security breach on their network
—76 percent of respondents are planning to upgrade their network infrastructure in the next two years
—24 percent reported they are using cloud-based computing, much lower than other industries
—Only 17 percent believe mHealth will have a significant impact on the healthcare industry
—80 percent agree that EHR-based systems will improve patient care
—More than 60 percent of respondents suggest EHR and Meaningful Use mandates are a “good idea” to support better quality patient care

Confidence in Security Lacking
The research study found that many healthcare organizations might not be prepared to deal with the scale of the security challenges headed their way, as more and more critical patient information is digitized. (Reference Exhibits 1 & 2.)

While 80 percent reported their organization had not experienced a security breach in the past 12 months, more than half (56 percent) of those respondents were only “somewhat confident” in their ability to prevent a security breach on their network. This indicates a strong lack of confidence for an industry that experiences a significant number of security breaches each year. In fact, a 2012 survey of 80 healthcare organizations from the Ponemon Institute found that 94 percent of the organizations had a least one data breach in the past two years, at an average cost of $2.4 million per data breach.

Security concerns are also a critical component of EHR implementations. Seventy-seven percent of respondents cited security breaches as either a major or moderate EHR implementation issue. The second top-rated concern with EHRs is patient safety, followed third by privacy issues. Security breaches and patients’ privacy issues were slightly more likely to be of “major concern” among large organizations, due to the sheer volume of patient information at risk. Lower on the list of EHR implementation concerns was penalty costs – 35 percent said security and compliance-related penalties were of little to no concern. (Reference Exhibit 3.)

“Patient privacy and the security of health records are weighing on the minds of healthcare CIOs,” said Karl Strohmeyer, Level 3 group vice president. “The ‘Future of Healthcare IT’ study reinforces that there is no room to take chances when patients’ privacy is at risk – ensuring the confidentiality of patient data should be a top priority. As more and more healthcare-related information is digitized and shared remotely, the need for secure networks and services to protect this data will continue to grow.”

Slow to Adopt Cloud Computing
Although many respondents recognized that cloud computing can offer cost-savings and capacity benefits, just 24 percent reported they are using cloud-based computing, which is a relatively low uptake compared to other industries.

Little Traction For mHealth
An even smaller percentage – 17 percent – believes mobile-enabled healthcare will have a significant impact on the healthcare industry, suggesting the healthcare IT industry may not yet be fully primed for a widespread move to mHealth technology and applications.

Telehealth Care Still Growing Trend
The survey results showed that telehealth is a growing trend, with two-thirds (67 percent) of organizations indicating that they currently have telehealth capabilities. The driving factor behind telehealth is patient care. Respondents believe these capabilities will offer both providers and patients better access to EHRs and, as a result, improve patient care. (Reference Exhibit 4.)

Additionally, more than one-third (37 percent) of respondents believe interconnectivity of healthcare facilities will have the greatest impact on the healthcare industry, and another one-quarter (27 percent) believes EHRs themselves will have the greatest impact.

Constant Infrastructure Upgrades In the Works
The study also showed that network infrastructure demands will continue to grow as healthcare organizations try to prepare for increased interconnectivity of healthcare facilities, security demands and other healthcare-related technology advancements. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents are planning to upgrade their network infrastructure in the next two years driven by implementation of EHRs, interconnectivity between providers and facilities, and medical imaging demands. (Reference Exhibit 5.)

“The expansion of network infrastructure that we anticipate will allow healthcare organizations to store massive amounts of patient information securely,” said Strohmeyer. “Providers can access digitized information from any location in real time, ultimately resulting in substantial efficiencies in patient care. Interconnectivity and network security are essential to meeting the growing demands of the digital healthcare world.”

“EHR Deadline is Feasible”
The research also revealed that, despite feeling pressure to implement EHRs to meet new federal regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most healthcare CIOs and senior executives support the efforts and believe ACA timeframes are feasible. More than 60 percent of respondents suggest EHR and Meaningful Use mandates are a “good idea” – due primarily to the fact that EHRs are expected to support better quality patient care with increased access to medical records and information by providers. In addition, 79 percent believe the 2015 EHR deadline is feasible.

Study Methodology & Demographics
Level 3 commissioned Corona Insights to conduct the “Future of Healthcare IT” study in November 2012. The 100-person respondent base was comprised of CIOs and other c-level and senior IT executives who are employed by hospitals, medical centers and physicians’ offices. The size of the organizations managed by these CIOs and executives range in revenues from $10 million to $1 billion.

To Learn More
To learn more about the research findings and Level 3’s solutions for the healthcare industry, please visit http://www.level3.com/en/solutions/industry/healthcare/.

About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) provides local, national and global communications services to enterprise, government and carrier customers. Level 3’s comprehensive portfolio of secure, managed solutions includes fiber and infrastructure solutions; IP-based voice and data communications; wide-area Ethernet services; video and content distribution; data center and cloud-based solutions. Level 3 serves customers in more than 450 markets in 45 countries over a global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents and connected by extensive undersea facilities. For more information, please visit www.level3.com

February 9, 2013 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.

Level 3 to Present at HIMSS 2012 Conference and Exhibition – #HIMSS12

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Feb. 21, 2011 – Ted Wagner, senior director of Product Management for Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), will present at the 2012 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas on Feb. 24. Mr. Wagner’s session, “My Bandwidth Needs Are Out of Control: Understanding Connectivity Options,” is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PST.

The HIMSS Conference and Exhibition focuses on information technologies and management systems for the betterment of the healthcare industry. For more information on the event, please visit http://www.himssconference.org/index.aspx.

About Level 3 Communications

Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) is a premier global provider of IP-based communications services to enterprise, content, government and wholesale customers. Over its reliable, scalable and secure network, Level 3 delivers integrated IP solutions, including converged, data, voice, video and managed solutions to help enable customers’ growth and efficiency. Level 3 operates a unique global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents in more than 45 countries, connected by extensive undersea facilities. For more information, visit www.level3.com.

© Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Level 3, Level 3 Communications, Level (3), Think Ahead, the Level 3 Logo and the Level 3 Think Ahead logo are either registered service marks or service marks of Level 3 Communications, LLC and/or one of its Affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.  Any other service names, product names, company names or logos included herein are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. Level 3 services are provided by subsidiaries of Level 3 Communications, Inc.

February 22, 2012 I Written By

Level 3 Extends Network to Advanced Data Center in Georgia

Offers Enterprises, Universities and the Majority of Georgia Healthcare Providers Direct and Economical Access to Level 3’s Extensive IP Network and Broad Service Portfolio

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Feb. 23, 2011 – Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT) today announced that it has extended its network infrastructure in Georgia with the construction of a full network point of presence and fiber node at Global Net Access, LLC’s (GNAX) AtlantaNAP Data Center, the main healthcare IT hub in Georgia. The data center hosts a range of customers, including Georgia’s two largest hospital systems, who may choose to have Level 3 provide them with direct access to over 190 markets served by Level 3’s international, IP network and the ability to efficiently and economically leverage the full range of Level 3’s services.

Given the rapid adoption of digital systems for global commerce and information, organizations are increasingly reliant upon data centers that provide efficient information storage, access, security and data redundancy. Enterprises require those capabilities to remain competitive within an international marketplace. Universities require them to provide next-generation education solutions, and healthcare providers require them to offer better care for their patients. By directly connecting to Level 3’s Tier 1 backbone, AtlantaNAP facility customers will be able to efficiently and economically access Level 3’s complete portfolio of services, including transport, data, IP and voice services.

“Our customers demand network access and solutions that are capable of meeting their ever-rising need for swift and secure data redundancy,” said Jeff Hinkle, president and chief operating officer for Global Net Access. “Directly connecting our facility to Level 3’s network brings innovative ways to allow customers to access our HIT ecosystem efficiently and cost effectively, and underscores our dedication to offering our customers the best solutions possible for network access and advanced communications services.”

GNAX/AtlantaNAP is one of the largest healthcare data centers in Georgia, providing a statewide healthcare information exchange hub for healthcare providers in the state. The direct connection to Level 3’s advanced IP network offers a majority of Georgia healthcare providers access to regional, scalable solutions capable of meeting the increasing industry need for more efficient communications services. According to the June 2010 Cisco, Visual Networking Index, recent industry estimates show that healthcare data is more than quadrupling every two years, and Level 3’s high-capacity backbone network and targeted services are well-equipped to manage this increasingly dramatic rise. Level 3 offers a variety of network solutions designed to meet the growing communications needs of the healthcare industry, including strategic planning for future network requirements, managed and efficient storage solutions, disaster recovery capabilities, and optimized network planning to improve organizational efficiencies.

“Atlanta is an important market for Level 3, and building a direct access into the AtlantaNAP Data Center demonstrates our commitment to providing first-rate solutions to the healthcare industry, while serving Atlanta businesses, universities and communities on a local level,” said Allan English, Level 3’s general manager for Georgia. “We are delighted that AtlantaNAP customers will be able to improve their information access and security using the direct connection to our Tier 1 network and robust service portfolio.”

Level 3 leverages its extensive fiber-optic network, metro assets and a locally focused sales and sales support organization to deliver world-class services to enterprise customers and service providers throughout the United States.

The AtlantaNAP data center is located at 1100 White St. SW Atlanta, Ga. 30310.

About Level 3 Communications

Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT) is a leading international provider of fiber-based communications services. Enterprise, content, wholesale and government customers rely on Level 3 to deliver services with an industry-leading combination of scalability and value over an end-to-end fiber network. Level 3 offers a portfolio of metro and long-haul services, including transport, data, Internet, content delivery and voice. For more information, visit www.Level3.com.

© Level 3 Communications, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.  Level 3, Level 3 Communications and the Level 3 Communications Logo  are either registered service marks or service marks of Level 3 Communications, LLC and/or one of its Affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.  Level 3 services are provided by wholly owned subsidiaries of Level 3 Communications, Inc. Any other service names, product names, company names or logos included herein are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statement

Some of the statements made in this press release are forward looking in nature. These statements are based on management’s current expectations or beliefs. These forward looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside Level 3’s control, which could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the statements. The most important factors that could prevent Level 3 from achieving its stated goals include, but are not limited to, the current uncertainty in the global financial markets and the global economy; disruptions in the financial markets that could affect Level 3’s ability to obtain additional financing; as well as the company’s ability to: increase and maintain the volume of traffic on the network; successfully integrate acquisitions; develop effective business support systems; defend intellectual property and proprietary rights; manage system and network failures or disruptions; develop new services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; adapt to rapid technological changes that lead to further competition; attract and retain qualified management and other personnel; and meet all of the terms and conditions of debt obligations. Additional information concerning these and other important factors can be found within Level 3’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. Level 3 is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

March 2, 2011 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.