Secure file sharing a priority in health care

Jan 24th, 2014 / Category: Enterprise Mobility

As electronic health record (EHR) adoption continues to expand, the wealth of data provides incredible opportunities for advancing medical care. For example, patient data analytics can help hospitals identify demographic trends and treatment best practices. However, the sensitive nature of personal health information means that data storage and sharing must uphold strict privacy and security guidelines. To take full advantage of the opportunities offered by EHRs and other medical technology, health care providers need to implement secure file sharing systems.

EHR data provides essential insights but requires protection
Entering patient health information into electronic records offers a number of critical advantages for health care providers. Teams of specialists can better coordinate care for patients by sharing test results and treatment plans. Patients can receive more accurate care when they're traveling if their records are sent electronically to a emergency provider. Hospitals can run reports to identify resource inefficiencies or inaccuracies in billing. Doctors can more easily consult with their colleagues.

However, all of this information sharing must occur under the highest security and privacy standards. Not only do patients trust their health care organizations to keep their personal information confidential, the government also requires compliance with strict regulations. Standards such as HIPAA and SOX, which require health care information to be shared only in approved circumstances, will require increasingly great attention, InformationWeek explained. With bring-your-own-device policies infiltrating the medical world, health care organizations also have to be concerned about data breaches through accidents like stolen laptops or clinicians sending patient information via their personal email accounts.

Health organizations turn to secure file sharing solutions
To make use of the wealth of information at their fingertips without risking data breaches or compliance failures, health organizations need to implement secure file sharing services. These solutions provide ways for clinicians to collaborate on patient care and hospital administrators to share internal reports within a secure environment. Importantly, they must offer the security support required by patient health information regulations and be easy enough to use that clinicians won't resort to other methods instead.

For example, PeaceHealth, a nine-hospital non-profit health organization in the western United States, uses Globalscape's enterprise file transfer software to consolidate its data across locations and protect its information with top security measures, Health IT Security reported. Because of all the patient health information regulations, it was important to PeaceHealth to find a solution that met all of its the necessary security protocols. Managed file transfer processes take care of keeping patient information secure so that the clinicians can focus their energy on treating patients.