Verizon rolls out HIPAA-compliant healthcare security portfolio

Cloud services are a boon to doctors, hospitals and nurses because of the ability to foster on-the-fly collaboration, share patient information in near real-time and store large volumes of data for electronic health records and radiology images. Also, many healthcare organizations are looking to centralize their data so they can operate more efficiently. However, thanks to HIPAA regulations, finding an adequate solution is not an off-the-shelf process for many of these entities, which is slowing cloud adoption.

"Today's health care provider is faced with the enormous and costly burden of protecting personal health information for patients," said Peter Tippett, chief medical officer and vice president of Verizon's health IT practice. "To address this need, we are bringing to market a suite of cloud services that enables health care providers to secure patient data while offloading the burden of building and managing their own data centers. By enabling a connected health care system, we intend to transform U.S. health care delivery."

The HIPAA-compliant portfolio is thus purpose-built to fit the needs of clients in the healthcare, insurance, pharmaceutical and supporting industries, the telco said, with public and private cloud services that meet applicable physical, administrative and technical security controls under HIPAA.

The healthcare-related services include managed hosting and the company’s Enterprise Cloud Private and Express Editions. Each service comes with a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement, through which Verizon works closely with clients to safeguard their patients' ePHI.

Verizon said that it expects the market for healthcare-related security solutions will grow rapidly through 2014 as physicians, clinics and hospitals move from paper-based to electronic record keeping in an effort to improve patient care and reduce costs. The US government has mandated that health care providers transition to electronic health records within two years or face penalties through reduced Medicare and Medicaid payments.

"Health industry CIOs have a pressing need for reliable, financially secure third parties or business associates that will help address the technical, physical and administrative safeguard requirements under HIPAA security rules," said Lynne Dunbrack, program director for connected health IT at IDC. "Offering a secure computing capability backed by strong performance-level agreements will be compelling to these CIOs."

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