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

 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

PR Newswire

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Feb. 4, 2013

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --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).

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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:

  o56 percent were only "somewhat confident" in their ability to prevent a
    privacy or security breach on their network
  o76 percent of respondents are planning to upgrade their network
    infrastructure in the next two years
  o24 percent reported they are using cloud-based computing, much lower than
    other industries
  oOnly 17 percent believe mHealth will have a significant impact on the
    healthcare industry
  o80 percent agree that EHR-based systems will improve patient care
  oMore 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 2012survey 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

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

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

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Contact Information
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SOURCE Level 3 Communications
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