With HIMSS15 just around the corner, health IT topics ranging from mobile and connected health to the evolution of electronic health records are set to take center stage. Among the other topics that will be top of mind and most pressing for health IT professionals, is data transfer. As data breaches and privacy become increasingly top of mind, managed file transfer will correspondingly grow in importance. Below are some key questions for healthcare organizations to consider.
What role does managed file transfer (MFT) in healthcare delivery?
Data is at the heart of healthcare – patient data, claims processing, forms, health records and more. Traditionally organizations have used open source tools to move this data from the providers to claims processors, but as data breaches and privacy concerns have risen, the need for managed secure data transfer has heightened. MFT is a core solution to ensure HIPAA compliance, end-to-end visibility and the privatization of data, particularly as digital solutions become the norm.
What are the top drivers of MFT adoption in healthcare?
A few of the top drivers of MFT adoption in healthcare include HIPAA compliance, security of transfers, and demonstrating meaningful use. As organizations look to meet the requirements in the second stage of meaningful use of the Affordable Care Act after having a secure EHR in place, MFT will play a vital role in making sure healthcare information is safely exchanged between providers and in some cases ad-hoc exchanged between providers and patients. Moreover, with MFT audit trails, organizations can gain greater visibility into how sensitive information is shared and accessed ensuring HIPAA compliance
Workers automatically assume that if they are moving data on a secure internal network, that it will be secure and compliant. However, healthcare data needs to be protected at the application level because phishing attacks are becoming the norm for data breaches and corporate network security cannot be relied on solely. Organizations need to protect data through encryption and leverage an MFT solution to ensure security at the application level.
Are there any challenges for healthcare adoption of MFT? What are some considerations that can simplify the process and address those challenges?
Smaller organizations might not have technical expertise to manage such a solution. In order for these smaller players to adopt MFT, they will need to reply on third party partners with the skillset to address hardware and software challenges. In addition, outsourcing such skills to address these challenges may become the norm in order to ensure compliance. Often times, such organizations that specialize in offering these capabilities are better from a security and compliance perspective than what healthcare organizations can build themselves regardless of their IT capabilities. This will cause some organization to adjust their business models and make room to work with these expert organizations for their needs.
What does the future hold for MFT in healthcare as data is transferred across new devices and channels?
As healthcare data is transferred across new devices and new channels, one thing to consider will be mobile healthcare capabilities. MFT will need to be able to provide data to the service that is providing mobile functionality. Additionally, setting up and managing communication with trading partners will become increasingly important. Organizations will need to ensure they are agile enough to onboard trading partners and maintain not just internal communications but also with other businesses as well. HIPAA 2015 regulations now hold organizations responsible for their business associates’ HIPAA compliance. In these cases, organizations will need to extend their solution capabilities to business associates as well. MFT will become a foundation for enabling the future of healthcare safely and securely.