Healthcare providers looking for HIPAA-compliant applications, storage, and networking options are increasingly turning to the cloud, which has quickly become a low-cost way to develop the complex infrastructure required to support a variety of critical organizational activities.
As reported recently by HIT Infrastructure, HIPAA-compliant cloud tools offer the healthcare industry many benefits including cost savings, remote file sharing, custom applications, and expanded storage, giving organizations the ability to create a dynamic, future-proof infrastructure.
Cloud computing is expected to become the healthcare IT infrastructure standard in the coming years, underpinning the continued development of electronic health records and big data analytics activities. As this technology evolves, it’s important for IT decision-makers to understand and trust in the cloud solutions they implement throughout their IT infrastructure.
Cloud technology is complementary to the fast-paced environment of healthcare. Sharing data across organizations becomes more manageable and less inconvenient, which may result in improved patient services and collaboration between healthcare organizations and professionals. Also, researchers found that cloud-based analytics have significantly improved the way organizations use their data.
Using cloud to store analytics data also protects organizations against losing data in the event of a data breach or natural disaster. Backup and disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) ensures the resilience of data by automating the recovery of data in the cloud.
However, cloud-based solutions – which access patient data via the internet – come with their own unique privacy and security concerns. One of the biggest drawbacks is the various degrees of control IT departments give up depending on which service model is deployed. This lack of control, along with HIPAA compliance issues, is a significant reason why some healthcare organizations are hesitant to embrace the cloud.
Not all cloud solutions and vendors are created equal. Cloud-council.org advises organizations to manage the logistical and physical security of their infrastructure carefully and implement security protocols that take the full lifecycle of protected health information (PHI) into consideration.
Each cloud-based solution, no matter its purpose, needs to be HIPAA compliant. It’s not uncommon for cloud providers to offer tools in collaboration with other vendors, but the primary vendor’s HIPAA compliance does not necessarily extend to the other vendor.
Cloud offers organizations a cost effective, lightweight way to collect, analyze, and present data, along with accelerating day-to-day operations and providing patients with efficient, personalized care. While HIPAA compliance is still a valid concern for providers, vendors are stepping up to accommodate healthcare-specific needs as healthcare providers step into the future of cloud computing. Contact HIPAAcraticRx to determine if your cloud system meets HIPAA requirements.