The medical field is a buzz regarding the impending mass acceptance of IT infrastructure services provided by cloud computing consultants. Despite the fact that health care industry has been using electronic medical record (EMR) programs for some time and smaller organizations have outsourced such services; the recent passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITEC) Act has experts concerned about where the regulation, and use of cloud computing services, is going in way of security.
Working with health organizations, a cloud computing service provider can offer a variety of medical information storage and dissemination services that provide many advantages to medical organizations. First of all it allows them to begin implementing systems that will help meet the new requirements. The HITEC Act aims to implement mandatory file sharing access among public health organizations and the cloud’s services help to do just that.
Whereas some believe the easy retrieval of medical history that cloud provides will increase the quality of care, others believe that there will be great risk of deviating from the requirements of the Health Information Patient Privacy Act (HIPPA). Because sharing access to medical records increases the number of people who have access to such hypersensitive data, it also increases the chances that employees will deflect from meaningful use (also a requirement of HITEC). In the minds of many, these increased risks are unacceptable, as they may pose a problem for many businesses.
Another concern is the location of the data. Because cloud computing offers virtual servers many are concerned that the information entrusted to their care could come to be housed in a location outside the country where it could be at even greater risk of compromised security.
A recent study by KLAS Research found that 55% of their survey respondents, from both large and small facilities, already had some sort of information stored in a cloud. It was also found that 58% of the total surveyed see their organization adopting or expanding their use of cloud technology in the near future. HITEC regulations are pushing health care providers toward cloud, and it is quite likely that it will be only a matter of time before their services take this country’s EMR systems to new heights.