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Thought leadership from SAI to accelerate your performance
 

Systems Alliance Blog

Opinion, advice and commentary on IT and business issues from SAI
Date: Jul 27, 2015

Everyone who is responsible for an organization’s web presence knows that creating, maintaining and updating content is one of the most critical and complex challenges they face.  Timely, relevant and exceptional content will keep users on your website longer, encourage repeat visits, improve search results and contribute to a successful long term web strategy. This approach is universal to just about any industry, but for an association, valuable content is critical for member retention, recruitment and continuing engagement.

At the core of membership organizations is the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  With strength in numbers, a collective voice can help influence policy, advocate for change and generate momentum for a cause.  And those are only the external advantages.   A collective voice can also create relevant and engaging web content that will demonstrate the value of membership – and strengthen the association’s own impact in the process 

Associations that are successful at curating content wisely tap into the expertise and achievements of their member base to highlight advances, spotlight ideas or efficiencies and deliver recent news in the industry. Leveraging members’ common goals not only provides engaging web content but also validates your impact and expertise. 

member spotlights

Be sure to tap into your member network for content. Their work can be a goldmine of images, videos, news, projects and best practices. When our client, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) was collecting images for their new website, they reached out to their member network which resulted in not just images, but a collection of hundreds of quality stories of students and faculty in action. APLU recognized the exciting opportunities that come with leveraging member content by providing prominent real estate on their new homepage to feature member profiles. These “Member Spotlights” are made memorable and inspiring through storytelling. The spotlights are also used as calls to action on key website pages to add dimension in the form of real-world examples to each respective cause.​

Your members are probably equally eager to share their stories and achievements. And there are advantages on both sides. Your members’ work is validated among peers and influencers, they become more invested in the cause and at the same time, you’re increasing membership value by sharing relevant content among your constituents.   It’s a win-win proposition for all involved.

To learn more about how you can add value by creating a member-centric approach to your web presence, join us for our next webinar

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services announced a $218,400 settlement with St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, MA relating to a HIPAA compliance violation. 

This enormous fine wasn’t the result of employees deliberately leaking information.  It didn’t come as a result of a major data breach caused by criminal hackers.  It came about because hospital administrators didn’t have adequate controls in place around their IT.

From the Boston Globe:

“The settlement… comes after federal regulators investigated a 2012 complaint that employees at St. Elizabeth’s used an Internet-based document sharing program to store health information of at least 498 patients.”

Employees who likely meant well started putting sensitive data into the cloud.  That’s a major shadow IT headache for any organization.  For those businesses that are subject to HIPAA or other compliance requirements, it’s also a very expensive headache.

Back to the Globe:

“Organizations must pay particular attention to HIPAA’s requirements when using Internet-based document sharing applications,” Jocelyn Samuels, director of the HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement. “In order to reduce potential risks and vulnerabilities, all workforce members must follow all policies and procedures, and entities must ensure that incidents are reported and mitigated in a timely manner.”

Think this can’t happen to your organization? Wrong.  According to the AMA, even if you’re in the dark about the rules you can be fined up to $50,000.  That’s a lot of money for an honest mistake.

hipaa requirements

Acadia healthcare policies

 

 

If you’re handling any kind of sensitive patient data on your network, now is the time to take notice. Here’s where you should be focusing your efforts:

Training, Training, and More Training: Compliance issues are a people problem, not a technology problem. Having organization-wide understanding of compliance obligations is non-negotiable.  Eradicating shadow IT and making sure that all of your employees understand why they can’t use the latest fad cloud application without permission is vital.  Stop letting users make mistakes out of ignorance.

Policies and procedures and tools to share them matter.  Doctors may take an oath to do no harm but if they or other staffers don’t know the rules, how could they know if they’re hurting patients through noncompliance?

 

 

policy tip

User Proofing Wherever Possible: Having active control around where sensitive data is stored and how it is transmitted is crucial.  That means you need a technical solution in place to enforce control obligations.  Systems that don’t enforce the standards by default will burn you.  This could be anything from automated filters to watch for particular content in emails, to encryption software that secures data at rest. 

Robust IT Governance Processes: Is your IT department disconnected from the strategic direction of the business?  How well aligned are IT’s priorities when compared with the end users?  Fixing gaps like these discourages users from trying to implement shadow IT.  If stakeholders are engaged through an IT Steering Committee or other governance structure they have the power to keep IT aligned with their needs.  There’s no reason to go it alone if you’ve got organizational partners who are focused on enabling the business.

Not sure where to get started?  SAI can help.

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