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Moving Data in Compliance with Healthcare Regulations

By Elizabeth Clor

Cloud technology plays an essential role in bringing innovation and better outcomes to today's healthcare systems, from helping doctors care for patients remotely to enabling collaboration between providers in other institutions. And as new technology is introduced, healthcare digitization will only increase.

But the collection, transmission and storage of healthcare data are highly regulated. Electronic records must be kept safe as they’re transferred between the health service agencies involved in patient treatment, including pharmacies, hospitals, insurance companies, outside vendors, and more. As organizations continue to add new cloud-based applications that can streamline operations and improve the quality of patient care, their IT teams must prioritize security to ensure their data meet cybersecurity standards, protect their patients and to help avoid costly fines.

In 2021, the number of people in the U.S. who had their health data breached increased threefold. Not only are these breaches occurring more frequently, impacting patients and their data, but patients are suing more often, adding costly repercussions for impacted healthcare institutions. Penalties and fees for non-compliance are severe and substantial. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires organizations to protect patient privacy and keep their medical records secure. A HIPAA violation due to willful neglect comes with a $10,000 penalty per violation and an annual maximum of $250,000 for repeat violations

A compliance partner can make the difference in keeping sensitive workloads accessible and secure, especially as healthcare organizations’ IT personnel are not always compliance specialists. In addition, regulations are constantly changing and being updated to improve security. Here are four key ways a compliance partner like Contegix can support healthcare organizations in keeping data secure and compliant. 

  1. Continuous Monitoring 

    Compliance isn’t a one-time task that IT teams can check off a to-do list. It’s a process that needs to be continuous, which puts a strain on time and resources. A compliance partner can provide around-the-clock monitoring and auditing of cloud solutions to ensure data safety. If a potential violation is detected, it can be identified and addressed immediately instead of waiting for the next scheduled audit.
  2. Automated Reporting 

    Healthcare organizations must provide evidence of compliance that proves they're following regulations. Compliance providers can automate the process with easily accessible reports that provide visibility to the appropriate teams. This benefit saves internal IT departments from spending time on manual reporting, freeing employees up to focus on business-strategic tasks. 
  3. Efficient Scalability

    Compliance partners can also help organizations with scale. New tools are introduced every day, and the quick adoption of new applications can create a SaaS sprawl that’s hard to contain and secure. Compliance partners ensure tools are correctly integrated for safe data sharing, so that interoperable cloud-based systems are appropriately connected and supported. 

    Scale can also be necessary due to growth within an organization. Adding new users to applications must be done by deploying a zero-trust policy. The right partner will be able to ensure compliance across all cloud configurations and environments with proper privacy and access settings.
  4. Data Management

    According to HIPAA Journal, 1.5 healthcare data breaches are reported every day. In addition to keeping medical information secure, compliance providers take care of routine operational tasks, such as backing up data, fixing bugs and installing updates and security patches. Data management also includes periodic software audits to confirm the site’s compliance.

Contegix’s team of experts understand the ever-changing requirements of the regulatory landscape and help organizations implement cost-effective solutions for compliance. Having a trusted partner like Contegix that meets federal and industry compliance standards for HIPAA, as well as for the Federal Risk and Management Program (FedRAMP), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and others, provides peace of mind that patient data and medical information remains secure.

Learn more about how Contegix helps healthcare clients with HIPAA compliance and data protection solutions.