To help healthcare organizations confidently shift to the cloud, compliant cloud expert and HOSTING Chief Information Security Officer Johan Hybinette recently answered the top six HIPAA compliant hosting questions healthcare organizations need to understand before moving to the cloud.
1. What are the key factors driving healthcare organizations to adopt cloud services?
With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, people are entering the U.S. healthcare system at an unprecedented rate. High patient demand, reduced reimbursements and a lack of specialized IT skills have forced healthcare organizations to streamline their processes for information sharing and collaborative care. Another key factor driving healthcare organizations to the cloud is industry-wide consolidation. Healthcare has been referred to as the hottest M&A market going today, with organizations such as Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare eyeing possible acquisitions. As a result, larger organizations are being tasked with consolidating enormous volumes of data, including medical records. Finally, the healthcare industry is facing a “data tsunami,” marked by an incredible increase in data. IDC estimates that the amount of healthcare data will reach approximately 2,314 exabytes in 2020 – up from 153 exabytes in 2013. As mobile health and telehealth gain acceptance, the volume of medical data will continue to increase exponentially – as will the need to find a secure place to store all this data.
2. What reasons do healthcare organizations cite for avoiding the cloud?
According to the HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey, nearly two out of three respondents cited security concerns as an obstacle to the cloud. Anxieties have intensified in the wake of headline-grabbing security breaches experienced by Anthem, the nation’s second largest health insurance provider. It’s no secret that healthcare organizations are struggling to create a solid, proactive defense against increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals while, at the same time, hackers are aggressively targeting electronic health records (EHRs) to sell on the black market for a substantial profit. The frequency of data center outages is also causing healthcare organizations to shy away from cloud-based solutions. And while data center outages are concerning to all industries, a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute reveals that healthcare facilities average 2.7 data center outages over a two-year period. While this figure is slightly down from an average of three outages over a 24-month period in 2010, it leads all other industries surveyed, including communications, financial services and retail.
To read the last four questions and answers, download the white paper Top Six HIPAA Compliant Hosting Answers You Need to Know.