Data security and privacy have become major priorities for hospitals as the transition to EHRs has created many challenges that healthcare providers are not all ready to overcome. Turning to colocation can help hospitals improve their data security systems by giving them access to third-party resources that help them protect data more effectively.
Understanding the healthcare security problem
According to a recent Level 3 Communications study, security and data privacy have emerged as some of the most pressing concerns among healthcare organizations. Approximately 56 percent of those polled said they are somewhat confident that they have a setup that is secure enough to prevent a data breach. This lack of confidence presents a major problem, even though 80 percent of the respondents said they have not experienced a data breach in the past 23 months.
Pointing to a study from the Ponemon Institute, Level 3 Communications explained that the security problem is real in healthcare. A 2012 Ponemon Institute study asked 80 care providers about their data security situation and 94 percent of respondents said they had experienced a breach in the past two years. The average cost per data-loss incident – $2.4 million.
Many experts agree that improving security and data privacy is increasingly important in the healthcare sector, as data breaches can chip away and consumer confidence and may hold back EHR adoption. Karl Strohmeyer, group vice president for Level 3 Communications, echoed this sentiment by explaining that data security has become a main priority in healthcare.
“Patient privacy and the security of health records are weighing on the minds of healthcare CIOs,” said Strohmeyer. “The ‘Future of Healthcare IT’ study reinforces that there is no room to take chances when patients’ privacy is at risk – ensuring the confidentiality of patient data should be a top priority. As more and more healthcare-related information is digitized and shared remotely, the need for secure networks and services to protect this data will continue to grow.”
Implementing colocation services allows hospitals to store their data and maintain IT systems in a third-party facility with robust access control systems, secure networks and a staff of professions who understand how to safeguard data. Working with a vendor that understands HIPAA guidelines is important when considering third-party services, but choosing a vendor that focuses on security and reliability while following HIPAA can ease many security and privacy concerns in the sector.