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Carpathia March 02, 2015

Top 3 Reasons Healthcare Providers Should Choose a Community Cloud

Under HIPAA regulations, healthcare providers can store electronic protected health information (ePHI) in the cloud. Despite the ability to do so, many organizations remain hesitant due to concerns over security and privacy of patient data.  Recent breaches (such as 80 million customer records being stolen from Anthem earlier this year) only serve to make these concerns bigger and more real.

However, with an increasing shift towards accountable care, healthcare providers and affiliated service companies face continued pressures to employ agile analytics and point-of-care access care that only technologies like the cloud can provide.

The choice between cloud and security may seem like a Catch-22, but there is a way in which providers can meet their needs while still ensuring ePHI stays secure and in their control.  The answer? Community cloud.

Before we get into why community cloud is one of the most viable options for healthcare providers today, let’s first take a look at what exactly a community cloud is.  According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a community cloud is:

“Cloud infrastructure [that] is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.”

One of the first major benefits of a community cloud is that it is only used by organizations that have similar needs and requirements. So in the case of the healthcare industry, community clouds focus solely on managing and protecting ePHI and other healthcare-related data, allowing providers to find peace of mind even in the face of ongoing and evolving compliance requirement changes.

The second major benefit is that community clouds reduce compliance complexity by being architected with industry-specific regulations in mind from the get go.  Unlike public clouds built for general purposes (and to attract a wide variety of customers), healthcare community clouds, like Carpathia’s Healthcare Community Cloud Service™, are designed to meet Common Security Foundation (CSF) standards defined by HITRUST.

Finally, community clouds provide the ability to easily share and collaborate with other healthcare organizations by delivering a common infrastructure platform to connect into. For example, take two research hospitals that need to collaborate on a new project but have separate IT infrastructure and no way to share data securely. A healthcare community cloud would allow them to spin up IT resources on-demand, share data and applications back and forth in a secure, private manner, and then turn off those resources once the project was complete. All the while, complying with HIPAA and HITECH regulations.

These are only just a few of the reasons why community clouds are one of the best options for healthcare providers and affiliated service companies.  If you’re in the process of incorporating cloud services into your overall IT strategy, we encourage you to check out our latest white paper, Reducing Healthcare Compliance Complexity with Community Clouds.  It offers key insight into important cloud security and compliance considerations and explores the benefits of healthcare community clouds as it relates to privacy, security, risk and compliance.

Download a copy today at

community, cloud, HIPPA, HITECH, security, ePHI,