Best HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions

Best HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions

Cloud computing in healthcare

Cloud computing refers to the use of remote servers to manage, store and process data. In recent years, a large number of healthcare businesses have begun the transition to cloud computing. There are various reasons why cloud computing has begun to skyrocket in popularity, including security, accessibility, and ease of use. If you are interested in learning more about how cloud computing works, and its specific impact on the healthcare industry, then you have come to the right place. We’re going to detail some of the reasons why cloud computing is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, why you should get on board with this, and some of the top available solutions. Moving in a new direction can be daunting, particularly if you are used to things working in a certain way, but cloud computing offers undeniable benefits for the healthcare industry that shouldn’t be ignored. 

Healthcare cloud computing

What makes cloud computing perfect for the healthcare industry?

The healthcare industry, as I’m sure you know, deals with a lot of patient data. The information that is collected does not just sit in storage, rather it is accessed and shared across providers and departments frequently. Cloud computing is the perfect solution for managing this type of data for the following reasons:

  • Cost-efficiency: Cloud computing solutions are extremely affordable, regardless of the size of your business or how much data you need to store. They only require an internet connection to be accessed, so you don’t need to install any new hardware.
  • Security: Perhaps the most significant aspect of managing patient data is security. All cloud computing storage solutions should be HIPAA compliant, with their own security measures to ensure information is protected at all times.
  • Updates: Cloud computing systems have been developed to update in real-time. This means that any changes made are immediately accessible by all authorized users, contributing to more effective communication and better coordination of care. These systems can also be integrated with software for patient communication which enhances patient-practitioner relationships.
  • Reduced risk: Storing information in the cloud reduces the risk of damage or destruction. In the case of a natural disaster or robbery, your data will not be compromised as it is located remotely. 
Using cloud computing in healthcare

What is HIPAA law in healthcare & what does it regulate?

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law that regulates how patient information can be created, stored, managed, and shared. Its main purposes are to protect sensitive information and ensure patients are kept informed about where their medical data is stored, and who can access it. HIPAA outlines a wide number of different regulations that must be adhered to, by medical practitioners and the vendors that they use. This means that when you are looking to install any type of software or program that manages patient data, it must be HIPAA compliant. To ensure that HIPAA guidelines are being followed, there are a range of financial consequences if a breach is identified. These are extremely costly, and in extreme situations, can lead to the removal of a medical license.

Importance of HIPAA-compliant cloud storage solutions

As we mentioned, if you are interested in installing a cloud storage solution, you need to ensure that it is HIPAA compliant. The vendors that develop cloud solutions should be aware of different HIPAA regulations and ensure all of the functions of their products adhere to these. As a healthcare practice, it is essential that you enter into a business associate agreement with the business associate (service provider) in order to remain compliant with HIPAA. These laws not only protect the patient but also the healthcare practice. Whenever a breach occurs, the business associate must immediately notify the covered entity so that they can rectify the breach as soon as possible and maintain security measures. In regards to the specific types of cloud storage solutions that require HIPAA compliance, any provider that stores PHI (protected health information) on behalf of a healthcare business falls under this regulation. This may include EHR systems, data collection apps for healthcare practices, or practice management software. It is also important to know that offering a BAA is not necessarily enough security from the provider to be considered HIPAA compliant. The healthcare practice is responsible for determining the specific security protocols that the provider has in place and assessing whether these are adequate.

HIPAA-compliant cloud storage

Top HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions

Thankfully, understanding HIPAA compliance is a key component of developing cloud storage solutions, meaning that there are many suitable options available to you. We’ve done the research, and have compiled a list of some of the top HIPAA compliant cloud storage solutions.

  • Carepatron: The world-leading HIPAA complaint Healthcare Workspace. Manage your clients, scheduling, and billing from one secure app.
  • Google Drive: Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage solutions, and for good reason. Google offers a BAA, which covers most of their apps, including Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and Forms. Additionally, it has sophisticated file sharing protection, making it a top option for data storage. Google Drive has been used not only for practitioners to store and share data but also as a software for patient communication.
  • Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 offers similar protection to Google Drive, including BAAs that cover most of their features. Some reviews do point out that Microsoft 365 is slightly more difficult to navigate than Google, but it comes integrated with good data loss prevention tools. When you are deciding what cloud storage solutions best suit your business, it is important to weigh the pros and cons and focus on what will enhance your specific needs.
  • Dropbox: Dropbox is an extremely well-developed cloud solution that stores data in a HIPAA-compliant manner. It is more specifically focused on sharing files, which is definitely necessary for the healthcare industry. 
  • SpiderOak: SpiderOak is a cloud storage service that ensures all of your data is automatically uploaded onto the cloud. It can be tricky remembering to upload files sometimes, but SpiderOak removes this barrier by doing it for you. All you need to do is install SpiderOak’s software into your computer, and it will safely and automatically upload new files onto the cloud. Not only does SpiderOak offer BAAs, but it also encrypts all data prior to moving it, making it basically impenetrable. 
  • Carbonite: Carbonite is also a backup cloud service that offers BAAs and other protective measures. These include off-site backup in the case of lost data and high-quality data encryption during the storage and processing stages. 

It can be hard to determine what cloud storage solutions will best suit your business, but it is essential that you conduct preliminary security tests prior to using their programs. At the end of the day, patient information is your responsibility, and you need to be able to guarantee it is kept secure and private at all times.

HIPAA compliant cloud storage solution

Take home message

Implementing cloud storage solutions into your healthcare practice is exciting, albeit slightly daunting. As a healthcare practitioner, it is likely you are already aware of the importance of HIPAA regulations, so you just need to ensure that these are managed by any vendors you use as well. Hopefully, this guide has outlined for you some of the key reasons why HIPAA compliance is so important and shows you the different things to be on the lookout for. Using cloud storage solutions is undoubtedly the way of the future for the healthcare industry, and with their streamlined functions, you will be well on the way to saving time, resources, and energy!

Implementing cloud storage solution

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