As a healthcare professional, we realize that you are striving to lower costs while improving your quality of patient care. We understand that you face additional requirements of meeting your IT goals within your highly regulated industry. You must find solutions that comply with the strict requirements of HIPAA regulations and also offers tight security controls for storing your patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI).
Healthcare IT systems are moving at a growing rate to cloud hosting environments, although still at a slower rate than other industries. It’s estimated that healthcare IT hosting and cloud adoption will reach $5.4 billion by 2017, according to a study from MarketsandMarkets.
You have likely been considering cloud-based IT hosting and researching the pros and cons of doing so. To help you with this decision, we’ve compiled a list of nine important questions to ask potential healthcare IT hosting providers.
- How will your healthcare IT hosting services keep our patients’ data secure? The hosting provider should provide core security services that include identity-based security and encryption. In the healthcare world, the law requires certain levels of security, so make sure they reach or exceed that level.
- Do you offer security monitoring? Many healthcare IT hosting providers constantly monitor a site and can discover a breach the moment it occurs. The service should include services like firewalls and malware scanners.
- Are your hosting services SSAE 16 Compliant? Ask hosting providers for evidence that they offer SSAE 16 compliance for hosting, as well as any other services you may be contracting for. When was the SSAE 16 audit completed and by whom?
- Will my data always be accessible? Constant access to data is vital to the healthcare industry. Your hosting provider should be able to provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that details their availability guarantees and policies.
- Do you have guaranteed response times? Your provider should lay out response times as part of your agreement. If your healthcare practice runs 24/7, it is vital to choose a provider with fast guaranteed response times.
- Is there a backup plan in the event of an outage? Your hosting provider should have the ability to support a business continuity plan and backups should be conducted at least once a day. They should assist in recovery due to major power outages or natural disasters. Make sure they will help you maintain redundant systems and manage automatic failovers (conversion to a secondary server should the first one fail). Ask if they operate on fault tolerant equipment.
- How easy is it to scale up if needed? You may need more space or bandwidth than you initially purchase. Will this be painless? Will there be any costs to change your plan if needed? A typical hosting plan should be a monthly fee based on consumption of resources, allowing you to budget and pay for only what you need.
- What if we are dissatisfied? Ask if the provider offers an out for convenience clause. Will you be penalized for canceling service, or will you be fully refunded?
- How will my Services be Deployed? Ask if your services or network will be dedicated to your practice or will it be shared with others.
While there may not be a perfect healthcare IT hosting service, there are certain things that you should be looking for. This list is a good start, but make sure to layout your own unique requirements as your first step.
We focus specifically on healthcare IT needs at Netgain, with specialized technologists with a thorough understanding of regulations and securing our clients ePHI. Call us at 877-797-4700 to learn more about our customized services and how they’ll work best for you.