The low-cost initiatives Newton Medical Center uses to boost information security

Mike Cottle, IS director at 103-bed Newton (Kan.) Medical Center, focuses on keeping the hospital and patient information secure.

Here, Mr. Cottle outlines successful projects that he has worked on and where he will turn his attention in 2020.

Question: What health IT project or initiatives has been most successful for you?

Mike Cottle: Our most recent, successful initiative has cost us very little. We have been spending more time in educating our end-users cybersecurity and how email plays a significant factor. We also deployed a button (KnowBe4) on our email client that enables our end-users to report suspicious email. Since the education, the number of reports we receive has increase dramatically. While there are a number of false positives being reported we have successfully headed off BEC and Malware email threats as well.

Q: What initiatives have the greatest return on investment?

MC: I suppose this would also be our end-user education. The threats that were avoided by increased and improved education certainly prevented us from experiencing financial and reputational losses. They probably may have helped us avoid disruption to patient care services as well which is our primary mission.

Q: What headwinds are you preparing for in 2020?

MC: Security still takes a predominant role in all the activities we are engaged in these days. Probably our biggest security concern at the moment is how to move to Windows 10 without compromising our existing security defenses.

Q: If you could make your hospital or health system more like one other company or industry, what would it be?

MC: Chick-fil-A. Their customer service culture is unparalleled by any industry. In healthcare patient safety and customer service are paramount. In healthcare technology we have the opportunity to affect both of these domains significantly. Finding a way to emulate their model and apply it to our environment would be a great boon.

Join us for the Becker's Hospital Review 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy Conference, May 19-21, 2020 in Chicago. Topics include artificial intelligence, telehealth, data analytics, clinician burnout, population health, pharmaceutical care and more. Learn more and register here. For more information about exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities, contact Maggie Dunne at

More articles on health IT:
How technology is boosting the physician and patient experience at Jefferson University Hospitals
Behind the Apple Health partnership: Allscripts CEO Paul Black shares key insights
How UC Irvine Health is navigating patient engagement efforts: Q&A with Sriram Bharadwaj

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