Making cloud viable for healthcare

Sep 25, 2014

2014-09-25 Healthcare.jpgInformation security is a critical priority for many organizations as they rely on their data for essential decisions and innovation. However, with the prevalence of high-profile breaches and evolving malware, it’s becoming more difficult to ensure that important documents remain secure. For regulated industries like healthcare, keeping sensitive files safe is extremely important as a breach could cause harm to both the patients and the firm, generating heavy losses in trust and funds. As this trend grows, it will be vital to implement a company-grade online file storage platform to keep up with compliance and user requirements.

In many instances, medical professionals tried to steer clear of the cloud, although it has significant benefits. However, as users continue to gain a better understanding of the technology, the healthcare field has become more accepting of the cloud. According to a new survey by HIMSS Analytics, 83 percent of participants are leveraging some kind of cloud service. Of these respondents, over 75 percent of them are using the cloud as their primary storage, to archive data and to support their recovery efforts. Because the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, that enables doctors to have information readily on hand when necessary, allowing them to make critical decisions faster.

“The future of cloud services is positive, especially among those healthcare organizations that already use cloud services,” report authors stated. “Nearly all of the healthcare organizations presently using cloud services reported plans to expand use of cloud services in the future.”

Providing security for health data
One of the biggest deterrents when it comes to the cloud is its security, which medical facilities require in order to remain compliant with federal guidelines. However, there are steps that organizations can take to make the cloud more viable for the healthcare sector. FierceEMR contributor Marla Durben Hirsch noted that decision-makers should question the provider about its regulatory authority as well as verify what measures it takes to protect patient information. By doing this, management can ensure that they are remaining within industry standards while providing a secure file sharing platform for employees to leverage. By asking the right questions, supervisors can guarantee that the solution is viable for their needs.

“What physical, technical and administrative safeguards are being used?” Hirsch wrote. “When was the last time the vendor conducted a risk analysis of vulnerabilities, a requirement of HIPAA? When was the last time a provider included an assessment of its cloud provider in its own risk analysis?”

Category: Data Security