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Box's new image sharing system has been FDA-approved

Box, the online file sharing and content management services company that has mainly been involved with back-office workflow,  announced at HIMSS 2016 that it is offering a new, FDA-cleared cloud sharing service that will allow hospitals to communicate with patients and with each other through mobile devices, according to a release.

It took Box three years to obtain the class 2 medical device approval from the FDA.

The new offering includes the Box DICOM Viewer, which has a viewer for the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) image format, a standard for transferring medical images such as CT scans and X-rays, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Box’s DICOM Viewer allows users to view images from the web or any mobile device securely, share images across care teams and facilities, and collaborate with other users.

Box has been working with hospitals such as MD Anderson Cancer Center and Mount Sinai Health System for three years to better understand the transition from paper to digital in healthcare.

Missy Krasner, managing director of healthcare and life sciences at Box, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that “we have learned that while they are still very interested in moving data and collaborating, about 61% of the their workflow is still very dependent on physical faxes.”

With the FDA-approved DICOM Viewer, a hospital on the West Coast could receive and view medical images such as CT scans or X-rays from a hospital on the East Coast, the Silicon Valley Business Journal said, adding that it’s important a service like the DICOM Viewer be approved by the FDA because doctors could be using those images to decide where to make an incision, for example. Therefore, accuracy of the images over large distances is important, to say the least.

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This is promising. Box has been a leader in cloud security over the years getting into this space is becoming more important and lucrative. The interesting thing is that in many cases, the cloud is not where the risk is. It's when this information gets stored on unencrypted laptops, unpatched servers that are accessible from the Internet, and the like. There is a bit of irony in all of the difficulties/efforts/bureaucracy that goes into such device certification and the ensuing responsibilities involving security/privacy when we see headlines such as hundreds of thousands of records being exposed due to unencrypted laptops and the Department of Health and Human Services - judge/jury/executioner of all things HIPAA-related - that doesn't take its own advice. From the perspective of a consumer, I wish more people would see what's going on. Lots of smoke and mirrors in the name of compliance, not unlike what's happening with PCI DSS. I suppose that's how the world works.