Secure Cloud: Healthcare Leads The Way

Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are now the driving force behind secure cloud, according to a poll that specifically asked about use of security-enhanced cloud environments.

The survey, conducted in the first quarter of 2015, revealed that healthcare was well ahead of other industries with similarly strict laws and regulations for IT.

Top segments for secure cloud:

  1. Healthcare / Pharmaceutical – 38%
  2. Finance – 25%
  3. Telecom – 16%
  4. Public sector – 9%.

Although rules for compliance differ between healthcare and the other compliance-conscious verticals, “the common theme is to ensure both the data at rest within the cloud application and associated data workflows are protected,” explained the study’s authors, “which enables these organizations to launch new service portals and provide improved methods for sharing information.”

The HIPAA Compliant Healthcare Cloud

Healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations are not alone in their desire for bolstered cloud security, of course. However, there are numerous ways that healthcare firms are especially motivated to use cloud’s efficiency and speed within a secure setting, as through the world’s only healthcare-exclusive cloud:

  • The rise of patient-generated health data (PGHD) apps to improve care and help patients recover more quickly
  • The desire to build and enhance interoperability to reduce medical errors
  • The urgency to tap into precision medicine and other potential rewards of big data to modify diagnostics and treatments.

Assuming that the cloud environment is fully safeguarded to meet the expectations of HIPAA, cloud can be an extraordinarily valuable technology. “Use of cloud services can reduce operational costs and improve efficiency,” said HIPAA Journal, “while the physical space that needs to be dedicated to secure on-site data storage can instead be used for revenue generating purposes.”

When companies want to use cloud services, it’s necessary to scrutinize the provider to make sure it has numerous checks and balances in place to prevent breaches and HIPAA violations. Whenever a company provides health IT to healthcare or pharmaceutical companies, it’s defined by the HHS Office for Civil Rights as a business associate. Covered entities – healthcare providers, plans, and clearinghouses – must keep business associate agreements on file related to all these partner organizations.

Getting started with your secure cloud project

For years, healthcare companies avoided cloud due to security concerns. We responded by building HIPAA compliance directly into our healthcare-exclusive HealthDATA™ Cloud Platform – which combines the most advanced cloud technology, information security, and performance with a robust offering of managed and professional services.

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