There are few other industries in which the perceived risks of hosting data in the cloud carry more implications than in the healthcare sector. Dealing with people's confidential health information is serious business that must be carefully considered when exploring the use of cloud computing.
As with many other sectors, the technology can be extremely beneficial for healthcare providers and other organizations within the industry, such as insurance companies. According to Health Data Management, all could improve with the cloud's ability to streamline processes and reduce the costs of IT infrastructure.
There are also numerous industry-specific benefits that the cloud can provide. The news provider stated that organizations utilizing the technology will have quicker and easier access to patient information. That can foster greater collaboration between physicians to improve patient care.
Still, organizations “must do their due diligence” to ensure data security is a top focus when health data is turned over to a vendor.
“Most healthcare organizations today are accustomed to an IT infrastructure built on a traditional licensed software platform,” James Kunick, a Chicago-based lawyer, wrote for Health Data Management. “Therefore, transitioning to cloud-based solutions raises new commercial and legal issues that should be carefully considered before making the move to this 'undiscovered country.’”
Above all, the report advised, healthcare providers need a cloud provider to demonstrate the fact that its data protection measures meet the requirements of all laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
Many more healthcare providers could look into the use of cloud computing, especially given the results of a new report from HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Health Information Management and Systems Society. The group found that many plan to increasing spending on technology during the next five years.