Maintaining Healthcare Regulatory Compliance with CLM Software

The healthcare industry is under constant scrutiny from the government, private sector, and general public to keep up with the latest compliance requirements. On top of regulatory compliance standards, including HIPAA, JACHO, and other state and federal regulations, healthcare organizations have to worry about any device that is networked.

Ranging from laptops to infusion pumps, many devices provide an entry point for malicious hackers to get a hold of patient data. Let’s review how contract lifecycle management (CLM) software helps organizations meet compliance standards in the healthcare industry.

Medical Devices Under Attack from Hackers

With the advent of the Internet of Things, more and more devices are connected to the Web. Medical devices are no exception. On July 312015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice that the Hospira Symbiq infusion system, version 3.13 and prior versions, was subject to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The FDA has issued additional safety communications on more devices since then.

However, the FDA has warned healthcare providers about cybersecurity issues for medical devices and hospital networks as early as June 2013. Research from “white hat” hackers (IT professionals hired by companies to break into their systems) has shown that many medical devices have defenseless operating systems and generic passwords that can’t be changed.

The Need for Centralization in CLM

The focus from “black hat” hackers on medical devices should serve as a warning sign for healthcare organizations. Any device, including laptops, smartphones, and desktop computers, used by staff to store, handle, or share CLM data is a potential point of entry for hackers.

Centralization is the backbone of contract management. This is one of the four core principles that allow any enterprise to standardize contract processes, meet compliance requirements, and mitigate risk. Documents and contract data need to be held in a single location that can be monitored on an ongoing basis and supervised to maintain consistencies across the entire CLM.

Instead of having contract templates, clauses, and data disseminated across various computers and hard drives throughout the facility, a healthcare organization should seek to establish a single repository. CLM software stands the most robust solution for the centralized location for documents and data.

How CLM Software Maintains Compliance

Once a CLM is in place, administrators can set the appropriate level, including no access, read-only, write, and administrator, of access to the central repository. By leveraging a centralized contract management software and a list of access permissions, a healthcare organization can tackle two critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

First, a contract management system has multiple data center locations to protect the integrity of your contract data. By keeping your data in-house, you have to incur high-cost charges in administration and maintenance expenses to keep servers in good condition. Instead, you can leverage the top-class servers of a CLM software provider at a fraction of the cost. For example, Contract Logix offers purpose-built systems that provide its customers a 99.9% up-time guarantee. Additionally, specialized CLM software providers seeks to meet the most stringent audit compliance requirements, such as the SSAE 16.

Second, the “white hat” hackers hired by the FDA indicated that devices with non-customizable features, such as passwords and levels of access are threat to the integrity of patient safety. CLM software provides customizable options for healthcare organizations to circumvent those limitations. Seek a CLM software provider that takes the time to understand the unique characteristics of your healthcare organization in order to determine and develop the most appropriate solution.

Takeaway

Cybersecurity inquiries from the FDA have revealed severe vulnerabilities in medical devices that allow malicious hackers get access to patient data. Healthcare organizations can learn from those vulnerabilities and take proactive steps to improve their CLM compliance through contract management software. To learn more, download Contract Logix’ Healthcare Contract Management Software whitepaper.

Image Credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific