(December 4, 2012): This month, the Healthcare Billing & Management Association's (HBMA) Journal, Billing, features an HBMA Journal article written by Robert W. Liles, Managing Partner at the firm. Entitled "Be Careful Before Moving to Cloud Computing: A Contrarian View of the Inevitable," the article tackles many of the current risks associated with the use of cloud computing and cloud service providers (CSPs). The article describes the different types of clouds available, some of the cost-saving benefits of using CSPs, and the myriad concerns associated with its use. Touching on providers' obligations to protect and secure protected health information (PHI), the article covers several important points that all health care practitioners should understand when determining whether and how to adopt this technology. It also provides an interesting discussion on the government's current reticence to allow federal agencies to use the services of a CSP.
As this article shows, cloud computing isn't necessarily the panacea it is portrayed to be by its many supporters. Even when handled with care, cloud computing exposes a provider to an unprecedented new level of risk -- one in which no amount of planning or due diligence can fully reduce the potential for a breach if a CSP either employs a rogue staffer, goes out of business or moves its operations beyond the reach of American law enforcement.
At the end of the day, health care providers are left with a simple question to decide:
"Are the real and measurable benefits of convenience and cost-savings achieved through the use of cloud computing worth the additional, difficult to measure and largely uncontrollable risks that are likely to be inherent in any cloud computing business arrangement?"
Robert has written extensively on cloud computing and other health care compliance issues. Learn more about cloud computing here.
Robert Liles counsels providers on HIPAA compliance risks, HIPAA breach notification issues and the development and implementation of effective Compliance Plans. In addition, Robert performs gap analyses and internal reviews, trains healthcare professionals on compliance issues, and represents providers in Medicaid and Medicare audits and appeals. For a free consultation, call Robert today at 1-800-475-1906.