Sharing Secure Data Puts Pressure on Providers: Finding the Right Cloud Fax Service Can Help

Data Exchange is Part of the Healthcare Industry

For healthcare providers, the exchange of critical patient information and protected documents is a necessary—and constant—part of day-to-day business. It’s no secret that the sensitive nature of healthcare information makes it a popular target for hackers and would-be identity thieves, but the truth is that security breaches aren’t limited to external attacks. In fact, the majority of healthcare data breaches stem from internal, well-intentioned sources, not malicious attackers.

A 2016 study from Safetica showed that while 32% of healthcare data losses were a result of hacking, 41.3% were from internal data sharing or unauthorized access/disclosure. This trend speaks volumes about the growing need for providers to implement comprehensive security protocol, particularly in regard to the way that PHI and sensitive documents are shared.

The vastness of the healthcare industry only continues to expand, with newly developing roles and specialties. Along with this expansion comes a growing number of touch-points for each document that accompanies a given patient. With all the different ways that patient data makes its way through the healthcare system—claims info exchanged between providers and payers, data transferred to labs and clinics, notes and records being added into EHR systems, to name just a few—it’s not surprising that so much data is shared or exchanged either accidentally, or through a process that’s not secure.

Related: How Do Data Breaches Impact Reputation?

Find a Solution for Secure, HIPAA Compliant Data Exchange

This need for secure health document exchange methods is driving more and more providers to adopt solutions that are specifically geared toward tight security and HIPAA compliance. A common example of this is the shift away from less-secure traditional fax machines to the more secure option of cloud fax. This shift is vital for organizations that want to tighten security, but it’s also not a move that should be made without careful consideration. For organizations that are looking to make the move to a cloud fax solution, or any cloud-based solution for that matter, there are three factors that need to be considered to ensure that the selected solution can truly help alleviate issues of secure data sharing in the long term: Compliance, governance and scalability.

Compliance: This needs to be the first (and arguably the most important) factor that healthcare organizations address. There are plenty of HIPAA compliant cloud fax services on the market today, but they’re not all made equal. Look for a cloud fax service that has multiple active datacenters, encrypts all data in transit and at rest, and is willing to sign a BAA. Once these three criteria have been evaluated, your organization can evaluate other compliance concerns as needed.

Governance: This factor is slightly more difficult to qualify, but nonetheless will be crucial to assessing whether a cloud fax service can truly alleviate the difficulties that come with sharing sensitive data. Look for a cloud fax service that allows for data to be managed by different users based on permissions. This will ensure that data can only be viewed by or shared with the proper individuals, so compliance breaches that come from accidental data sharing can be avoided.

Scalability: Finally, look for a cloud fax service that can be scaled in the event that your organization expands or changes. Though this may not seem like a direct security concern, the reality is that with how rapidly technology changes, your organization can’t possibly predict what services it may be using in the future. By choosing a cloud fax service that is flexible and can be easily integrated with other programs, this will contribute to overall security by enabling future integrations to take place without the use of ad hoc processes that could compromise that security.

Compliance and security concerns in the world of healthcare will never go away—if anything, protecting patient data grows more important each year. In a field where that data needs to be exchanged and shared in order to provide the best possible service, providers often end up under a great deal of pressure. To learn more about finding a cloud fax service that will alleviate that pressure and promote the secure exchange of documents, download our Cloud Fax Reference Guide below, or contact us with your questions.

 

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