Offsite Data Storage in the Cloud: What Hospitals Consider Before Moving
The amount of data contained in medical records can be staggering, especially when there are high-resolution radiological images involved. Rather than invest in servers to store the data on-site, healthcare facilities are taking to the cloud.
A major Boston medical center recently made the move to facilitate its need for a very large data storage capacity. The hospital’s 200 physicians located in various places in New England needed secure and unfettered access to the data and images in the electronic medical records system and new they could get that with a cloud-based storage facility.
Putting the electronic medical records system in the cloud takes the pressure off of hospital IT, plus it offers more disaster recovery assurances. Companies that operate these cloud facilities say that the benefits aren’t solely for the larger urban hospital groups – even the rural critical care facilities get tremendous value.
Cost is one of the major issues hospitals seek out the cloud solution. The availability of their records is another major reason the cloud solutions are sought out. Most hospitals are severely limited on space, and building a facility to keep banks of servers, which must be kept cool and secure, is far too expensive for most operations.
Many hospital administrators originally thought that they would be taking a chance by storing their sensitive patient information outside of the confines of their campuses, but those fears are unfounded in today’s secure cloud environment. Cloud-based companies stake their reputation on the security practices they offer clients.
Most hospital administrators and IT personnel are advised to consider a move to the cloud as a major business decision. Moving to the cloud should be considered a part of an overall strategy rather than a move to something that’s the latest and newest thing in the tech world. When the decision is made that the cloud is a good fit for the facility, the data needs to be moved strategically.
For instance, those who have done will tell you that moving everything at once is not advisable. You should start moving data that isn’t directly care-oriented to test the system and make sure it will meet expectations. Once everything looks secure, more sensitive and care-oriented data can be moved over.
While the cloud management companies can make assurances that their processes are secure, it’s ultimately the responsibility of the hospital to make sure the data isn’t compromised. Undertaking a third-party risk assessment of the proposed cloud company is recommended. Contracts between the hospital and the cloud management company should cover noncompliance issues.
OffSite Image Management, Inc., has a cloud storage solution that surpasses the expectations of healthcare professionals. OffSite makes the transfer process and setup easy and there are no limits on exams. The end-to-end, 128-bit encryption for file transfers ensures that all data is passed along in the most secure method possible. OffSite’s storage facility is equipped with dual clustered servers that are backed up to continuous redundant media.