Should Health Leaders Consider Blockchain Technology for Cyber Security Protection? Ryan Ayers

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Providing patients with quality healthcare and protecting hospitals from litigation at the same time is no easy feat. Unfortunately, cyber security is one of the most pressing issues health leaders face in 2018. For years, healthcare organizations big and small have fallen victim to data breaches. While not many were even close to the scale of the 2015 breach of Anthem Inc. that compromised nearly 80 million records, breaches in the industry continue. In 2017, only a few breaches affected more than one million records, and overall, breaches dropped 347% year over year.

These promising figures, however, don’t mean healthcare leaders can stop making cyber security a priority. 89% of healthcare organizations have had at least one breach affecting patient records in the last two years. Each breach costs organizations an average of $2.2 million, and damages the organization’s reputation. Healthcare organizations shelter very sensitive information that can be used to steal patients’ identities.

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to get past hospital defenses, and leaders need to be constantly attuned to the trends and best practices of the industry. One promising technology that has emerged in the last few years could help health leaders ensure patient protection and HIPAA compliance: the blockchain. But what is the blockchain, and can it really help make hospital data more secure?

What is Blockchain Technology?

Most databases involve a central storage location for data. The data can be copied, and there is always the risk that the central data storage location will become compromised. The blockchain, however, is decentralized. Essentially, it’s a public, distributed “ledger” that is made up of “blocks” of information that are added to whenever someone in the network makes a change. Because there is a record of every transaction and there is no central point for attack, it’s harder for cybercriminals to compromise the system.

The blockchain wasn’t originally intended to shake up the cybersecurity world. In fact, it was created to support the world’s first cryptocurrency (decentralized digital currency), bitcoin, in 2008. Since then, bitcoin has seen massive growth—in July of 2015, the price of each bitcoin was $280. By December 2017, it had reached $17,000 per coin. This explosive growth has helped popularize the blockchain technology on which it is built, and has caused security experts to consider the technology as a possibility for protecting data in other industries. Today, there are many new blockchain startups tackling security problems using this powerful technology.

Why is Blockchain Technology More Secure?

One of the biggest benefits of blockchain technology in cybersecurity is transparency. Since the record is public (not that it is public in the conventional sense, but that it is not stored and controlled in one location), it’s easy to trace anomalies that could signal a data breach. The system will actually search out and identify an anomalous block, removing the block from the chain and protecting the rest of the data. It’s nearly impossible to compromise the blockchain without taking out every node in the network all at once.

Centralized systems are only as secure as the passwords used to protect them—and those passwords can be pretty weak. We don’t want to remember a large number of obscure passwords, and it’s unrealistic to expect hospital employees to all be diligent about creating difficult-to-hack passwords. Once compromised, a centralized system may hide a breach for months, until it is finally discovered. By that point, the cybercriminals responsible have ample time to get what they want from the database.

Patient Privacy and the Cost of Data Breaches Create Urgency for Better Security Solutions

Of course, one of the most important reasons to prioritize cybersecurity is patient privacy and ensure your organization’s compliance with HIPAA. Because of the enormous breaches that have occurred in the last few years, patients are a little more leery of sharing their personal information. In 2013, 66% of patients felt comfortable sharing their health information to get better care. By 2016, that had flipped dramatically—87% of patients were NOT comfortable sharing their health information. That demonstrates an enormous drop in trust—and it shows that the industry needs to earn that trust back. In addition, more medical technology is relying on organization-wide networks, which gather patient data and must be protected.

Besides patient privacy, leaders need to consider new options for cybersecurity for financial reasons. Small healthcare organizations can’t afford to cope with an expensive data breach. Large institutions could be using money spent on mitigating damage elsewhere—such as developing vital programs and providing better care. The financial industry is already starting to recognize the power of blockchain technology in security. Health leaders would do well to consider making the switch as well—and soon.

Key Leadership Skills for Career Success – Paul Bates

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Leadership can influence efficient work and performance in an organization. For leadership to boost success in the organization, it needs to meet the mission, vision, and objectives of the company as well as an intrinsic drive to do what is best for the employees and the organization overall. The societal view of career success is a high paying position that calls for respect by fellow contemporaries. In the following article we will identify key leadership skills for career success. Leaders must possess specific attributes like human, technical and cognitive skills that will succor in achieving the intended goals towards their career.

The critical leadership skills are:

Communication skills

Practical communication skills are salient in building a rapport within the workplace. Fostering trust is one way of advancing career-wise since it creates alignment and executing strategy. The culture of openness augments innovation, problem identification, and productivity. According to Jeff Hawks, Director of Communications at SolidEssay, communication is a two-way interaction strategy that should flow freely in both good and challenging times since the message that is conveyed should meet the objectives of the organization. Non-verbal cues such as eye contact and showing up late for a meeting may relay information that is self-handicapping to the leader, hindering their chance to establish career-wise. Non-verbal communication should be synonymous with verbal messages for effective communication.

Communication is instrumental in ameliorating the morale of the workforce because they will be motivated to give meaningful feedback and requirements necessary to boost the career of the leader and ultimately the success of the organization. Depending on the problem that is identified, communication can provide alternative courses of action necessary in the decision-making process. Active listening in a leader is showcased when they implement suggestions and complaints that are made by the workforce. When they do so, the rest of the organization notices that the leader is adept at their skills and this creates an affinity with management that promotes a successful career. 


One of the fundamental aspects of a leader is the ability to adapt to various situations and circumstances as far as their job in an organizational team is concerned. In most cases, a leader experiences changes in expectations, behavior, or even performances of the subjects. In such situations, a leader is expected to act accordingly in ensuring that they address the various unique needs of the circumstance at hand. Flexibility ensures that a leader is able to deal not only with situations during normal times but also when difficult and unprecedented occurrences occur in a given setting.

A good leader is one that is aware and up to date to various technological changes in the line of their work, and as such would have the ability to employ the contemporary technology to optimize the outcomes.

Capability to make decisions

One of the critical components of organizational and career success, it is the ability to make the right and relevant resolutions. As noted by Samantha Jenkins, Head of HR department at ConfidentWriters, leaders must have the capability, in the context of any situation in an organization to make decisions that optimize the outcomes of a given scenario at that particular time. They are supposed to utilize an array of approaches including analytics such as Decision Support Systems (DSS) and base their decisions, not only on intuition but also deductions from analysis and fact. Leaders find themselves in situations where they have to make difficult decisions especially on competing needs in an organization or conflicting decisions paths. In such circumstances, it is critical that a leader remains objective, and as much as human judgments might play an important role, a leader must be able to set equilibrium between facts and opinion in the best interest of the organization.

Being able to adapt to the ubiquitous technological changes, and tackling challenges of the organization, proves the leader’s ability to collaborate, communicate, learn and listen. The article comprehensively describes the essential vital ingredients that management and business owners use to boost the career of various organizational leaders. Multiple skills like empathy, time management, transferable skills, and training and development are required to complement the overall abilities of the leader. Having the edge over competitors means utilizing useful leadership skills.

Author bio

Paul Bates is a speaker primarily focusing on leadership. He currently teaches, trains, and coaches on leadership and entrepreneurship in San Diego, California.