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Health care, cloud storage providers and data ownership
This article is part of the Health IT issue of September 2011
The health care industry relies on data. Physicians need data to make the proper diagnosis, and they increasingly need to share data with other providers. One way of making this data available to those who need it is to store it in the cloud. However, several data ownership issues must be addressed prior to entering into a service level agreement with a cloud storage provider. Learn more about working with cloud storage providers Negotiating maximum cloud uptime from service providers Cloud storage services increasingly viable as medical images proliferate What cloud service providers bring to the health care industry For starters, the term data ownership seems to take on two separate meanings in the health care industry. On the surface, data ownership refers to the organization that the data belongs to. It is generally accepted that the organization that created the data is the data's owner. The other definition has more to do with responsibility for the data. Those who are in possession of the data are responsible for the safe...
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Before a health care organization contracts with a cloud storage provider, both sides must settle the thorny issues of data ownership, possession, backup and retrieval.
Cloud storage is a viable option for health care entities, but they must address HIPAA compliance, risk assessment and data encryption before contracting with a service provider.
Uptime issues with health care cloud services can lead to HIPAA compliance issues, not to mention lawsuits. To avoid problems, be firm when negotiating service agreements.