4 March, 2013
Health Organizations Prescribe A Move To The Cloud
March 04, 2013
Microsoft Office 365’s cloud-based communication, collaboration, and HIPAA privacy and security capabilities win over customers across the healthcare industry.
REDMOND, Wash. — March 4, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that healthcare organizations large and small, including FHI 360, Gwinnett Hospital System Inc., Kindred Healthcare Inc. and Mihills Webb, have selected Microsoft Office 365 as the trusted cloud service to help address their end goal of providing the highest quality, safety and best outcomes of care for each patient.
The choice has simultaneously helped those required to do so comply with critical regulatory and privacy obligations under the United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which among other things is designed to protect the privacy of healthcare information for individuals. Office 365 is the only major cloud business productivity solution that addresses rigorous HIPAA regulations, and programmatically offers a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to customers.
“We’re pleased to work with health organizations and partners to offer the cloud-based productivity and collaboration infrastructure they need to enable their people and teams to communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere and substantially lower their IT operating costs,” said Dennis Schmuland, MD, chief health strategy officer, Microsoft U.S. Health & Life Sciences. “And by incorporating the required HIPAA privacy and security protections, and IT control safeguards in Office 365, Microsoft is enabling health organizations to move to the cloud at their own pace, and with confidence that Office 365 is designed to meet or exceed their requirements for patient-centered collaboration while simultaneously helping them address their HIPAA regulatory requirements for privacy and security compliance.”
The following healthcare organizations have recently implemented Microsoft Office 365 solutions for benefits that include these:
• Unifying and streamlining. FHI 360 is a global development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions for human development. Professional staff includes experts in health, nutrition, education, economic development, civil society, environment and research. They serve more than 60 countries and all U.S. states and territories, which meant FHI 360 needed a single solution to unify all offices. By adopting Office 365, FHI 360 was able to cohesively harness the power of cloud computing for the entire organization.
“We were looking to move every employee to the cloud, and Office 365 offered the best blend of feature set, corporate support and reliability,” said Michael Mazza, chief information officer, FHI 360. “Microsoft demonstrated a commitment in deployment and support that could not be matched. Microsoft’s ability to support our top five languages while understanding future considerations across our disciplines and geographies, within the organization and with our partners, was also important.”
• Low-cost, high-tech. Gwinnett Hospital System was not utilizing instant messaging and conferencing technologies and needed the ability to collaborate remotely without having to travel. The company wanted an effective cloud solution to interoperate with its existing technologies, so it chose Microsoft Lync Online.
“In general, hospitals tend to be behind in deploying new technologies,” said Rick Allen, assistant vice president of information systems at Gwinnett. “But we are competing for talent, and new technologies help attract young employees. With Lync and the cloud, we can provide easy collaboration regardless of location at a cost we can handle.”
• Standardized communication, improved collaboration, stronger management. Kindred Healthcare Inc. has experienced technological challenges in the past when acquiring and integrating healthcare companies and business portfolios, including during the most recent acquisition of RehabCare. After deciding to deploy Office 365 across all RehabCare employees, however, Kindred was able to standardize its lines of business on a common cloud platform, expand communication abilities via Microsoft Lync, and improve collaboration opportunities with Microsoft SharePoint, all the while leveraging the benefits of both cloud and on-premise offerings with robust security. Office 365 has also provided Kindred with a platform that enables it to continually improve productivity and manageability across the company.
“Because Kindred was already leveraging the Microsoft technologies before acquiring RehabCare, we felt confident in migrating RehabCare’s mobile therapists to Office 365,” said John Vorreiter, senior director of Technical Services. “Kindred has 78,000 dedicated employees providing IT and healthcare services to 546,000 patients and residents on an annualized basis, with more than 2,200 locations across 46 states. Having the latest cloud technology that supports a wide range of clinical and business applications, user collaboration, and needs and still helps ensure HIPAA security compliance enforcement tools is essential.”
• Security features and privacy compliance. Mihills Webb Medical, a small five-physician family practice, deployed Office 365 for communication and compliance benefits. Microsoft’s cloud offering not only improves communication and collaboration but provides robust security and helps meet privacy and other regulatory requirements as demanded by HIPAA, the federal law that applies to health organizations which need to protect patient data. Many organizations seeking to consolidate resources and save money in their infrastructure and email storage businesses needed to combine the benefits of moving to the cloud with the need for a solution with the highest level of scrutiny around how data is secured and accessed from the cloud.
“Compliance in particular was critical for us, and it’s a non-negotiable requirement that we demand from our technology solution providers,” said Dr. Cody Mihills, family physician at Mihills Webb. “Because Microsoft cloud services are HIPAA-compliant and came with a HIPAA business associate agreement, we’ve used Office 365 to unify communications across the office with confidence. Tasks like coordinating schedules between employees and collaborating with peers outside the office who support patients now can be executed in an efficient, HIPAA-compliant manner. Office 365, from a business standpoint, has been a winning proposition.”