Cloud Storage for Health Records

A new problem in starting to pop up for medical organizations that have scanned their patient records to Electronic Health Records (EHRs). That is the issue of storage. A large hospital with thousands of patients a week have a tremendous amount of data to manage.

The obvious solution is to move to cloud storage. Services like Amazon S3 and Rackspace make data storage very cheap. However, the security requirements and data breach notifications in HITECH have made the hospitals leery to move to cloud storage. They need more control over the echosystem.

Many experts believe that the advantages of cloud storage will win out over time. The key for medical practices is to use services that have been certified as secure for HITECH. The current certifications are SAS 70 and Payment Card Industry (PCI).

Beyond security the issue of performance must be addressed. What are the backup procedures of the cloud service provider? What is the service level agreement for access at both the data center and for the Internet access of the hospital? Will losing Internet access shut the hospital down? This is obviously not an acceptable solution for a 24 hour service.