February 5, 2016

Why Managed Hosting is Perfect for Healthcare IT Professionals in 2016

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry as a whole is slow to adopt new technology. Upgrading your IT environment is more than keeping great electronic health records or detailed analytics capabilities. It’s about creating an infrastructure that actually supports patients and makes it easier, safer and more accessible than ever before.

Last year at the HIMSS15 Show, Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, urged healthcare IT professionals from across the nation to “modernize the healthcare infrastructure,” even stating that “aging technology is weighing us down.”

Healthcare IT professionals are constantly facing new challenges while managing an old IT infrastructure. Cyber attacks, failing security programs, and unreliable computing systems can quickly expose your patients and staff to cyber threats. Protecting IT environments in the healthcare industry might seem less exciting than architecting new applications that change the way your organization operates. However, securing your website, applications, and data are imperative for protecting patient data and avoiding loss of reputation later down the line.

Upgrading an entire healthcare IT environment is not an easy feat and is often time-consuming, expensive and a disruption for healthcare executives. Partnering with a Managed Hosting provider to enhance and support your IT environment may be the best choice for maximizing progress with the least amount of effort on your part. Learn more about how a Managed Hosting provider can support your IT department today with a sampling of services below.

HIPAA Compliant Hosting with a BAA

All companies that handle protected health information both on and offline must comply with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The intentions are pure; we all want to prevent confidential health information from falling into the wrong hands.

Complying with HIPAA security measures can be a daunting task for IT professionals. Purchasing the right hardware and software, and hiring IT employees is incredibly expensive. The on-going costs to constantly monitor, update and maintain an IT environment is a major deterrent to moving forward with modernizing an aging infrastructure.

Partnering with a Managed Hosting provider who offers HIPAA Compliant hosting with a BAA provides you a federally secure environment and a team of technical support 24/7/365 at your fingertips. Very often, the Managed Hosting provider will have a Chief Information Security Officer who specializes in HIPAA compliance and can provide detailed guidance on rules and regulations.

Availability

Maximizing uptime is vital in the healthcare industry when there is a flood of data activity on any given day. This is clear during moments of downtime, which frequently result in the disruption of important activity such as nurses inputting notes, a patient checking their results online, or a doctor assessing his schedule for the day.

Downtime in IT systems equates to reduced efficiency and lost revenue. In order for an IT infrastructure to be successful, moments of downtime must be minimized, or even better, eliminated.

Ensuring availability and uptime requires a number of tasks and IT professionals to maintain, not to mention fighting off cyber threats, on a daily basis. Partnering with a Managed Hosting provider means having an outsourced staff of Engineers and Technical Support to ensure that your environment is always available to staff, patients, and visitors.

Security

Your medical record is worth more to hackers than your credit card. This piece by Caroline Humor and Jim Finkle on Reuters’ online publication reported: “hackers are increasingly targeting the $3 trillion U.S. healthcare industry, which has many companies still reliant on aging computer systems that do not use the latest security features.” Even more frightening is the reality that cyber criminals are gaining access to confidential medical records in the process.

While web security has been evolving over the years, unfortunately, the healthcare industry has been slow to adapt to changing IT environments. Not upgrading to modern IT infrastructures is detrimental to the long-term success of every healthcare organization on an efficiency and revenue basis.

Managed Hosting providers are a strategic way to upgrade your organization’s web and data security. You get instant access to a roster of Engineers, Security professionals, and technical support staff constantly monitoring, patching, recovering and backing up data on an enterprise level. Additionally, your Managed Hosting provider’s security team secures physical data centers, institutes an Intrusion Prevention and Detection system, provides dedicated firewalls, VLANs, and more that allows them to take the necessary actions ensuring cyber threats are handled before they ever become an issue.

Your IT department may possess the know-how to set this up, but monitoring and maintaining it 24/7/365 is still an expensive feat whereas a Managed Hosting provider is capable of doing all of this for one flat fee a month.

Scalable Environments

2016 is the year of “big data.” The healthcare industry is no exception to the ongoing trend of data utilization and analysis. Scaling an entire infrastructure takes careful and considerate IT planning to ensure that you’re able to scale up or down quickly. As your organization continues to grow, and the amount of data that you need to store increases, scaling can become a monumental task. Without careful capacity planning, you risk uptime of your environment because of an aging IT environment that cannot handle the new workloads.

It’s also difficult to effectively scale up an environment when it’s already reached its peak. A Managed Hosting provider guides you on scalability and capacity planning after gaining a holistic view of your infrastructure. In partnership, they will provide feedback on when to scale as they see your business goals outpacing your IT environment.

 

IT managers in the healthcare industry certainly have their fair share of issues to tackle in 2016. Ensuring HIPAA compliance, high availability, security, and scalability is expensive, time-consuming and difficult to manage in-house. Healthcare organizations with aging facilities and infrastructures should look to increase efficiency and lower operating costs by partnering with a Managed Hosting provider that works like an extension of their IT department.

About Edge Hosting

Edge Hosting partners with healthcare organizations of all sizes to upgrade aging infrastructures and provide a clear roadmap on security, availability, patching, backups, scaling and more. With nearly two decades of experience, Edge is one of the very first companies to be awarded the prestigious FedRAMP Certification. Additionally, Edge provides HIPAA, PCI and SSAE16 certified hosting environments in a personalized and consultative approach to building strong partnerships that deliver positive outcomes. To learn more about Edge Hosting or receive a complimentary custom analysis of your environment visit edgehosting.com or call (888) 428 – 2752.

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