October 25, 2010
By Erica Ayotte, Marketing Strategist at Intronis Online Backup + Recovery

Intronis Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Healthcare IT – Electronic Medical Records Backup and Recovery

Electronic medical records (EMR) back up, recovery, and data retention requirements are very backbone of HIPAA regulations. It’s mission critical for healthcare providers to maintain proper back-up systems, access reliable recovery, and retain historical data properly—all within a secure environment.

HIPAA requires that sensitive health data be encrypted and stored in specific, tightly-regulated ways. So, not only are medical practices, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers producing more and more electronic records at an exponential rate, all of those files have to be stored indefinitely, in a specific manner, and most importantly, be recoverable.

Small Practices Must Look to Managed Services

Yet, the resources available to large hospitals and other healthcare organizations are out of reach for most small family practices. In most cases, they won’t have appropriate internal IT resources and won’t have the budget for large-scale EMR systems. This is the target area where managed services providers will be able to make the best inroads.

The market for small, office-based practices is ripe for the picking. According to the health care marketing research firm SK&A, only 29% of solo practices and 37% of two-physician practices currently use EMR. So the majority of these small practices need a fully loaded EMR solution, from systems to backup, and don’t yet have one. Better still, they have government money at their disposal to upgrade their data management systems.

But be cautioned: before a managed services provider can break into the healthcare industry, the service they provide must meet all regulatory standards—regardless if their client’s practice has only one doctor or is 50 strong.

Make Sure Your Backup Provider is HIPAA Compliant—and Beyond

Evaluate your providers and make sure that they can not only meet your current needs, but will be able to support your future aspirations for your business as well.

Take Intronis’ white label solution, for example. Not only are we fully HIPAA compliant, we’re SAS 70 Type II certified, and our level of encryption is the same type that is used in online banking. In addition, our data centers are located on opposite coasts, and we have never lost any client data, ever.

Data Retention Rules

One important backup feature you should look for is retention capabilities. Part of the tech specs that makes Intronis’ solution HIPAA compliant is our ability to store an unlimited number of revisions—something that a consumer-grade backup solution just can’t offer.

Plan for the Future Now

However, if you’re not planning to get into this highly-regulated industry soon, it may be tempting to start out with a consumer-grade online backup solution for your clients. Don’t do this—start out with a HIPAA compliant solution or switch now if you aren’t using one already.

Having some of your clients on one solution and some on another is both an administrative and technical nightmare. Besides, you don’t want to lose sleep by offering a solution to any of your clients that isn’t secure or recoverable.

The same logic applies to all your solutions, not just backup—security, mobile support, infrastructure, etc. Build your business on quality services, and you’ll be primed to take up healthcare clientele when the time is right.

About the Author: Erica Ayotte is Marketing Strategist at Intronis, a Boston based Managed Online Data Backup company. For a detailed tour of Intronis, click here

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