Healthcare organizations have long used IT for a variety of applications including scheduling, claims processing, medical billing and so forth. Faced with increased patient demand, cost pressures and an explosion of protected health information (PHI), many providers are now discarding piecemeal IT systems and considering other options such as HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting. For a healthcare CEO, the prospect of migrating to the cloud can be daunting, especially in light of recent cyber attacks. The latest HOSTING white paper, HIPAA Compliance: What Every CEO Needs to Know, provides healthcare CEOs with essential information on HIPAA compliant cloud hosting. Following are some highlights.
eHealthcare and HIPAA Compliance Regulations
Until recently, healthcare organizations used IT systems for administrative tasks only. None of the applications involved the actual care being dispensed by medical professionals. This has changed over the past few years with the advent of Electronic Medical Records (EMR), telemedicine applications, and mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones.
There are two main issues that arise from eHealthcare’s use of PHI and mobile devices – security and availability. While storing PHI online provides greater efficiencies, CEOs must be have measures in place to ensure authorized personnel have access to it at all times – regardless of circumstances such as a disaster, cyberattack or data breach.
HIPAA specifically addresses these issues through its rules pertaining to Security and Availability. HIPAA security regulations detail administrative, physical and technical safeguards. And the technical safeguards specify the need for healthcare organizations to develop unique user IDs, emergency access procedures, automatic logoffs and data encryption policies.
In addition, HIPAA availability regulations include five separate requirements including: data backup; disaster recovery; emergency mode operation; testing and revision procedures; and a criticality analysis of data and applications.
HIPAA compliant hosting and cloud desktops
Among the cloud technologies needed to address data security and availability are cloud desktops. A cloud desktop is essentially a special form of client/server computing where the client becomes “thin” with only a minimal set of capabilities needed to access an organization’s secure data center. Users can access this data center via any device they choose – laptop, tablet or smartphone – but all data remains within the central data center.
A major advantage for cloud desktops for healthcare organizations is that all data, including PHI, can be made to reside only in the secure data centers. Because security is enforced by the server, it is immune from any impact caused by a lost or stolen mobile device.
Additionally, storing all PHI within the data center places it behind firewalls and intrusion protection/detection defenses. When configured and maintained correctly, cloud desktops can provide the necessary protection to meet compliance regulations as prescribed by HIPAA and HITECH.
Need more information about cloud desktops? Download our complimentary white paper, Enhancing Staff Productivity and HIPAA/HITECH Compliance with Cloud Desktops.
The HOSTING Healthcare Cloud™
In the wake of headline-grabbing data breaches, many healthcare organizations are refocusing their attention on data security, availability and compliance. However, faced with limited resources and IT expertise, many CEOs question whether or not they are equipped to maintain a HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting environment.
The HOSTING Healthcare Cloud™ provides CEOs with the tools and resources they need to successfully safeguard PHI while maintaining a strong HIPAA compliant posture.
The HOSTING Healthcare Cloud is a suite of secure, HIPAA compliant cloud solutions that enables healthcare organizations to improve patient service, maintain compliance and optimize performance while adhering to best practices as prescribed by the IHI Triple Aim.
Multiple security layers within the HOSTING Healthcare Cloud are specifically designed to protect electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic protected healthcare information (ePHI). While other HIPAA compliant cloud hosting offerings stop at security, the HOSTING Healthcare Cloud ensures that data remains accessible to authorized healthcare providers 24 x 7 x 365 – regardless of circumstances.
HIPAA compliant hosting can be complicated. HOSTING stands ready to help. Download our white paper, HIPAA Compliance: What Every CEO Should Know, to gain a solid knowledge foundation. And contact the HOSTING team of information security and compliance experts to learn how your organization can benefit from the HOSTING Healthcare Cloud.