Healthcare Data Centers and Cloud Solutions
Electronic Medical Records, Electronic Health Records, and Picture Archiving and Communications Systems For Hospitals and Medical Data Centers
Moving Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) to the “Cloud” poses some compliance risks to Health Care providers due to the necessity of guaranteeing complete privacy of personal information. The Cloud cannot usually provide the same level of security compliance required for standards such as HIPAA.
The push to modernize medical files is aimed at cutting costs and reducing medical errors. With the digital technology, health providers can share information more easily, better monitor patient health and prevent unnecessary diagnostic tests or harmful prescription drug combinations. Recently the US Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius said, “If you want to improve the quality of care, you need to be able to accurately measure what’s going on. You want to promote greater coordination among doctors. You need to quickly move health information to wherever it’s needed at the appropriate time.”
Healthcare Data Centers
Congress and Economic Stimulus Package
In 2009, Congress authorized funding to promote electronic health records as part of the economic stimulus package. Incentives will be paid out over five years, and by 2015 providers will face penalties if they don’t adopt the new technology. Electronic medical records will streamline a patient’s medical care by reducing paperwork, increasing efficiency and improving outcomes.
Health care providers will require new ways of storing EMR and PACS data. Currently the Cloud, in its infancy, provides little in the way of securing that data. Patient records and pictures must be stored in compliance with HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Health records contain vital personal information that can be used to construct a false identity, collect fraudulent Medicare charges, and details about medical treatment. Some worry that information, particularly mental health treatment, could be used against them in their career. The Cloud, as a hosting system for EMR and PACS, simply cannot provide the same security against these threats as hosting an organization’s own systems and a data center or colocation facility.
A recent audit by the US Department of Health and Human Services found several breaches of security in storing of electronic health records (EHR):
“We found a lack of general IT security controls during prior audits at Medicare contractors, State Medicaid agencies, and hospitals. Those vulnerabilities, combined with our findings in this audit, raise concern about the effectiveness of IT security for HIT if general IT security controls are not addressed.” (source: https://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/other/180930160.asp)
Outsourcing EMR, EHR, and PACS data to a data center or colocation facility is a win-win situation not only for Health Care Providers, hospitals, universities, and medical facilities, but also for the patients whose data it is being stored. A data center and colocation consultant can help your organization find the right facility within a budget that is both HIPAA and EMR/PACS compliant. A data center works with your medical organization to manage the services as much or as little required. There are few managed services at this level provided by Cloud vendors. Once your data is in the Cloud, it’s up to you to secure it – and there are little standards when your data is stored in an unknown facility. Working with a data center provider gives your medical organization a true sense of security for your EMR/EHR and PACS data.
The push for EMR has overlooked security concerns – but that does not mean it cannot be done. Instead of using the Cloud for EMR and PACS storage, health organizations can choose to work with a large data center or colocation facility. Partnering with a data center and colocation consultant can provide huge savings for healthcare providers wanting to store EMR and PACS data. Contact www.datacenterandcolocation.com today to find out how we can assist your organization with EMR and PACS storage.
DataCenterAndColocation, www.DataCenterAndColocation.com, is one of the largest colocation site consulting firms in the United States. They represent approximately 3000 data centers and colocation centers. At no cost to clients, they identify specific space, location, power and security requirements, solicit proposals, professionally analyze the responses, compare the strengths and weaknesses, negotiate pricing and deliver highly competitive bids for colocation. They also perform comparative analysis for in-house vs. design build services, wholesale data center space and data connectivity.