Securing Health Information in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing, in all its amorphous forms, will drastically alter the way we live our lives. Moving to a cloud paradigm is as large a technology jump as the shift from mainframe computing to PC use, or the vault from standalone PCs to today’s highly distributed and collaborative internet. The inevitable shift to cloud computing will have an equally profound impact on modern socieities.
For health care, which is already in the midst of a fundamental transformation of IT spurred on by HITECH Act and the Health Care Reform Act, the cloud presents us with considerable new opportunities. But only if we do this right.
In particular, the Achilles heel of information technology in all its forms is the challenge of securing the very sensitive information such as medical records that courses through health care organizations. Fundamentally, one might argue that health care is about life and death, or at least it is about the quality of life afforded by keeping us healthy. If we rely on electronic information to manage this care through medical devices, diagnostic equipment and tools, and management of patient health records, we must do so very, very securely.
If we cannot expect data from an infusion pump to be accurate, we might overdose patients. If our health systems are brought down by hackers, caregivers will find it difficult to do their jobs in today’s modern hospitals chock-full of electronics. If our health records are corrupted with erroneous data we will not provide good care. And, of course, if patient data is regularly stolen or used for other purposes, we will lose fundamental trust in our health are system.
So, while the move to the cloud promises real and significant opportunity to deliver better and cheaper health care, we must make sure that our information in the “cloud” is secure. The purpose of our presentation is to provide a base understanding of securing health information in the cloud. We do this by answering the following questions:
- What is the “cloud”? What are the core technologies that are driving the cloud? What are the variants in cloud computing?
- How can the cloud help Health Care?
- As Health Care increasingly moves to the cloud to deliver IT services what are the key compliance and security concerns we will encounter?
- And finally, based on all of the above how should we manage information security in the cloud?
I hope you will join me on March 22 at 2pm EST as I present a virtual encore of the topic, Securing Health Information in the Cloud, presented last month at HIMSS11.