Healthcare I.T. and Cloud Computing
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Healthcare Information Technology6
What is Cloud Computing?8
Benefit to Implementing in Healthcare Environment8
Illustration 1: Do you currently have an EMR system in your office?......... 9
Through the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the federal government is pushing healthcare providers and hospitals to quickly move towards electronic documentation systems or be penalized for non-compliance. This push has presented many problems for physicians and hospitals alike. Probably the most important issue that needs to be kept in mind when making a decision on a system is security and patient privacy. These two pieces present technological challenges as well as practical challenges including where and how the patient data is captured, stored, and accessed. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is the dictating law that must be kept in mind when choosing a medical charting system and the devices needed to access the system. Patient data and privacy must remain confidential and protected above any other concerns regarding electronic systems. Cloud computing is a “hot-button” topic that is becoming popular in business and healthcare. The convenience of access data from anywhere and from multiple hardware platforms has many benefits, but this ease of access comes with security concerns. These concerns must be reviewed and policies put in place to ensure that confidential patient data is not exposed.
Security Issues: Healthcare I.T. and Cloud Computing
The digital age has brought about many changes in the way certain tasks are performed, the way communication takes place, the way education is performed, and the way that medicine is practiced. As government regulation regarding healthcare practice and reimbursement becomes more strict and requires documented evidence to back up medical decisions before Medicare or Medicaid will pay the providers, it is becoming increasingly important for medical personnel and hospitals to not only conform to the new technological standards, but to embrace the technology that is driving it. In the past, organizations were required to host, store, and back-up the data and applications that were used both inside and outside of the facilities. This presented many difficulties such as application maintenance, data storage and maintenance, and hardware maintenance. Cloud computing offers some solutions to these issues by allowing IT departments to rely less on physical hardware, perform backups and duplicate them easily to offsite facilities, and provide application support to platforms that previously were unsupported. However, this presents significant security risk and legal liabilities with regards to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Purpose
The purpose of this report is to discuss the options available for implementing and accessing Electronic Medical Record Systems and the issues inherent with the different options, focusing on the security and privacy concerns specific to cloud computing. Scope
This report will identify the reasons and methods for implementing cloud computing within the healthcare environment. It will also point out the security risks inherent to electronic storage of confidential health information and compounded by access to this information through the internet. As background information, the core components and functions of Healthcare IT will be discussed. The research will also cover the laws that govern the protection of PHI (personal health information), who has access to PHI, and what are the differences in the laws with regards to...