The Affordable Care Act provides hospitals with a powerful new tool in the ability to legally store and share patient data with other healthcare facilities. This is an effective way to help patients get fast diagnoses and the care they need. However, this new ability to share medical data comes with understandable limitations to protect patient privacy. The main regulation of patient data, HIPAA, controls how this information can be shared and stored electronically. This becomes important with the increased used of cloud computing. While it provides instantaneous access to medical information, cloud computing still needs to meet the high standards of the HIPAA. This is why hospitals looking to implement cloud computing for their patient data should look into professional help building HIPAA hosting for their cloud.

What is The HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was a set of regulation guidelines passed by Congress and codified by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2000. The regulations protect the privacy and secure access of health information including electronic protected health information. The law sets down essentially three guidelines for data security. The first is secure administrative access. The second is physical security, and last is technical security. Data storage methods must meet these requirements in order to be HIPAA compliant. This is a challenge for cloud computing because of its accessible design.

Meeting Compliance

Any hospital looking to make their electronic protected information cloud compliant should hire companies that specialize in making data systems meet HIPAA standards. It is just as important as hiring a security firm to protect the physical premises of a business or facility. The experts are able to find unnoticed openings and weaknesses in security protocols that will make the data storage system fail compliance. In the case of HIPAA compliance for cloud computing, private hosting solves many of the problems. The cloud is for one hospital so access to data gets controlled only by the facility staff with proper clearance and gets shared only when needed. Second, the private hosting provides both physical and virtual protection as the physical data storage hardware is with the hospital IT department. On an internal network only staff have access, reducing the ability of remote hacking.

Making A HIPAA Cloud Hosting Secure

A cloud is not a simple system in the internet where you can place data. It involves creating a network between computers and data servers as well as providing a connection with the wider internet to access information as needed. The challenge of private hosting lies in building this infrastructure for your hospital from the start instead of using an existing cloud. That is why it helps to find a firm that has experience building private cloud networks. This shortens the process and allows for a focus on security and ease of use.

Cloud Computing Made Simple

HIPAA is an important set of guidelines helping to protect patient data when stored and shared electronically. For hospitals it means an easier way to share and store patient data and not make unnecessary physical copies of private health information. At the same time, the guidelines' requirements of administrative, technical, and physical protection is hard to achieve with cloud networks without the help of HIPAA compliance firms that have the experience and expertise to create compliant cloud networks.

Author's Bio: 

Written by John Wycliffe, an avid technology writer with a penchant for data protection. Visit to find out more about HIPAA hosting and protection.