Healthcare Information Security

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Are Healthcare Regulatory Mandates Harming the Industry?

By Elizabeth Snell

- Healthcare regulatory mandates are designed to help covered entities keep sensitive data, such as patients’ protected health information (PHI), secure. As technology continues to evolve, it is especially critical for healthcare organizations to keep their IT systems current, along with the necessary security measures.

But what happens when those mandates become too much? Could healthcare organizations be struggling so much under certain regulations that it makes it difficult to maintain their IT systems? According to “The Peak 10 National IT Trends in Healthcare Study,” that could very well be true.

Peak 10 surveyed C-level executives and information technology professionals at 149 U.S. healthcare organizations. Approximately 60 percent of respondents said that government mandates are having a negative effect on their industry, while 94 percent said complying with regulations influences IT strategy and decision-making.

In terms of healthcare security, 70 percent of those surveyed said they need partners to assist with those concerns, along with data privacy issues.

A popular decision among many IT professionals is to receive assistance from third-party organizations to ensure that they are maintaining strong and secure IT environments. Specifically, 77 percent of surveyed hospitals, biotech firms, pharmaceuticals and insurance providers said they are looking for partners and assistance to help them maintain high reliability. Moreover, half of respondents said they use a third party integrator or partner to assist them with their IT strategy.

The fact that third-party companies tend to have in-depth technical knowledge, was the top reason that healthcare organizations said they seek outside help. Sixty percent of respondents said that third party partners relieve their IT staff’s time and resource constraints.

Many healthcare organizations are shifting to cloud technology, according to Peak 10, which is largely due to healthcare regulatory mandates concerning EHRs. It’s important for facilities to have a smooth transition to new electronic systems, according to Christina Kyriazi, manager of market insights and analytics at Peak 10.

“Technology is seen as the enabler to a better patient experience, giving patients more control over their personal information and healthcare history, therefore empowering them to trust their healthcare provider and to make more sound and well-informed decisions for themselves,” Kyriazi said in a statement.

As healthcare organizations implement new systems, whether its cloud services or mobile devices, it is essential that they keep themselves updated on all regulatory mandates, such as HIPAA. Third-party companies can be beneficial, but covered entities need to have a basic knowledge of healthcare regulatory mandates before they attempt to add new aspects to their daily workflow.

As contributor Bill Kleyman explained in an October article, compliance, regulation, and security are the main barriers for healthcare organizations when it comes to implementing cloud technology. However, compliance in the cloud for healthcare facilities is now a direct possibility, according to Kleyman.

“Remember, modern cloud offerings now span much more than just HIPAA,” Kleyman wrote. “Cloud providers are now becoming compliant around SOX, PCI/DSS, ISO, FedRAMP, FIPS, DoD, CSA, MPAA, and more. Take the time to explore various healthcare cloud options to help optimize your infrastructure, improve data delivery, and do so while still being compliant.”

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