The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) put healthcare providers on notice that they will have to start transitioning to all digital records. In the years since HIPAA became law, healthcare providers of all sizes have complained about the costs associated with converting existing files to digital, and implementing a digital system for new records.
Throughout this time, the cloud was being developed as a way to store records off-site and access those records anywhere in the world. Healthcare providers have been slow to adopt the cloud for many reasons, but the main reason has been a concern over security. As the pressure from the government to complete the transition to all-digital records increases, healthcare providers have been given a lot of good reasons to give the cloud a real look.
The Problems With In-House Digital Healthcare Solutions
Every since HIPAA became law, the healthcare industry has been looking for a way to simplify the transition process, and keep records secure. The first solution that was tried was building a system in-house, but that is a monumental task for healthcare organizations that are not technology experts. The investment in equipment and software proved to be problematic for healthcare providers of all sizes.
The next step was to bring in consultants who could convert existing records to digital, and put a new digital records system in place. Aside from the tremendous cost associated with bringing in consultants, healthcare organizations also had to spend time and money training their staff to be able to use the new digital records system.
The Problems With Compliance
One of the issues with the HIPAA guidelines is that they are very vague as to what kind of digital storage system is acceptable. A primary purpose of converting healthcare records to digital is to make them readily available to healthcare providers all over the country who may need access to them. While the intent was good, the law failed to take into account the dynamic nature of the Internet and Internet security.
As the guidelines towards what types of equipment and security was acceptable started to become clearer, healthcare providers realized that in-house systems would not be financially viable. It was simply too expensive for a healthcare provider to invest in a digital storage system that had secure access to the Internet on a constant basis. Another concern was safely making archived records available while still storing them in a secure off-site location.
How The Cloud Is The Right Solution
When healthcare providers first started looking into the cloud as a HIPAA solution, cloud providers did not have a standard in place that would meet the HIPAA regulations. But as cloud providers and data centers started to understand the potential for the healthcare digital records market, many quickly made the necessary adjustments to become HIPAA compliant in the storage, transmission and archiving of digital medical records. Now healthcare providers have a range of viable, scalable and affordable cloud solutions.
Cloud partners like Vergent can bring both the security and compliance you’re needing to efficiently run your healthcare organization. From remote backup and storage to colocation and advanced networking between all your locations, we are able to lay a foundation for growth and save you from the major expense of having to buy, build and maintain your own server rooms. Contact us today to learn more about our cloud solutions.