Although a healthcare organization’s primary directive is delivering quality patient care, it must also assume additional responsibilities. Providers need to comply with government mandates, manage a growing amount of data, maintain robust data security, provide uninterrupted access to IT resources, and connect networks of providers in real-time — all while keeping costs down.
Meeting these data center requirements take the focus away from a healthcare provider’s core activities. However, colocation services can help improve performance in a number of ways, such as:
- Complying with Government Mandates
As the federal government plays an increasing role in healthcare delivery, providers must rely on high-performing IT systems and data centers to ensure compliance. The HIPAA and HITECH acts outline regulatory standards for how electronic health records must be managed.
Data centers play an important role in protecting patient data and ensuring privacy. A HIPAA-compliant colocation provider can offer cost-efficient, high-performance solutions for medical centers, hospitals, clinics and private practice physicians.
- Accommodating the Growth in Data
The initiative to create electronic medical records along with requirements to store greater amounts of data for longer periods of time, depend on server and storage systems that can handle high-density operations. In addition, data must be shared among sites to improve patient care.
Colocation provides a foundation for the high-density environments needed to house the increasing amount of data used in healthcare operations.
- Improving Security and Privacy on Multiple Levels
A colocation data center designed for healthcare operations can offer the required network and physical security to ensure regulatory compliance. On a physical layer, colocation facilities provide access control features that tightly regulate who can enter the building, access the data center floor, maintain equipment and view server environments.
These security measures protect data from physical theft and maintain privacy by ensuring only authorized personnel view information. Secure networks also play a major role in colocation services by adding a key layer of logical protection to patient data.
Healthcare organizations my not have had to deal with such stringent security protocols in the past. The substantial cost, effort and expertise required to maintain a secure and compliant environment have caused healthcare providers to turn to colocation solutions.
- Ensuring Continuous Access to Data and Applications
HIPAA requires a risk assessment that incorporates a review of organizational assets, threats and vulnerabilities. With hundreds of applications running on legacy and new systems, continuous access can be difficult.
Colocation provides healthcare organizations more sophisticated and resilient data center resources than what they could typically manage internally. The power and network redundancy create a more reliable environment than most premise-based data centers.
- Providing Connectivity among Disparate Healthcare Sites
Healthcare organizations must have the ability to connect networks and health information in real-time. As more physician offices merge with larger healthcare providers, the IT environment will become more complex and the need for more interconnected data centers will grow.
A quality colocation solution will offer carrier-neutral Internet connectivity, site-to-site interconnection and a high availability Internet Exchange. Colocation connectivity also provides healthcare organizations with 24×7 real-time monitoring and utilization reporting.
- Eliminating Capital Requirements and Lowering Operating Expenses
Healthcare organizations operate in an increasingly complex environment. With the advent of health insurance exchanges, providers are faced with lower reimbursement rates and slower collections because of high-deductible plans. Complying with government reforms has created financial pressure and limited innovation across the industry.
As a result, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to improve functionality while reducing costs. They’re exploring other options for deploying and managing IT operations.
Colocation eliminates the huge capital costs involved in building, staffing and maintaining an in-house data center. Instead, healthcare organizations pay a monthly fee for data center space and services. If operational requirements change, a colocation solution can quickly, easily and economically adapt.
Colocation also reduces operating expenses. The cost of energy alone for an in-house data center facility can be twice as much as a typical office building. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated healthcare organizations spent approximately $8.8 billion annually on energy. According to industry analysts, every dollar saved on energy translates to a $20 increase in revenues for hospitals and a $10 increase for medical offices.
CyrusOne’s colocation solutions are designed to accommodate the growing and diverse requirements of the healthcare industry. Learn more.