INTELLIGENCE IN ACTION

On the Hunt for Network Anomalies

We’re committed to being a trustworthy partner in simplifying intelligence sharing. Without trust, there’s no network, period. See how Eric Engelken, Principal Network Access Investigator, protects and improves the access, security and performance of our network and the data it carries.

“We’re relentless in our work to ensure data safety and integrity.”

– Eric Engelken, Principal Network Access Investigator, Surescripts

Our CEO Tom Skelton predicted that the interconnectedness of healthcare will bring both opportunities and risks. With nearly 20 billion health information transactions processed last year, we must work to proactively safeguard the Surescripts Network Alliance.

The stakes are high.

Our Network Integrity Framework guides us in managing access to the Surescripts network, enforcing rigorous security standards and continuously raising the bar for content accuracy and completeness.

Protecting the Network

For nearly 20 years, our partners have entrusted us to enable the secure transfer of patient data for the purpose of increasing patient safety, reducing costs and increasing quality, and we take this responsibility extremely seriously.

When I asked Engelken what keeps him motivated, he told me, “It’s knowing that what I do can help to ensure that the data on our network is safe and secure. I love investigating oddities. I love solving complex problems. And I love bringing a measure of order to how data flows through the system.”

“Oddities,” or anomalies in this context, are unusual data patterns that are different or unexpected from the norm. An anomaly isn’t necessarily “bad,” but it’s an outlier, so it must be investigated.

Focused on Data Mining

Our Network Access Management Program enhances trust in the network—and we do this by identifying, confirming and addressing network anomalies as quickly as possible. As an investigator, Engelken uses data analytics and machine learning (which detects patterns that may have gone unnoticed in a manual review) to identify anomalies that may indicate improper data usage.

Engelken told me that the network access team is particularly focused on the prevention of data mining for patient information and price mining for prescription costs. These activities can run afoul of contractual obligations, as well as HIPAA rules.

“We’re here,” Engelken said, “so that healthcare professionals can trust the data they’re getting, and patients can trust that their data is being handled appropriately.”

Read more about our commitment to network integrity.

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