Dentists and other medical professionals can benefit from storing data in the cloud.

Migration to cloud data storage can benefit dentists

Stephen Perkins

Online data backup requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are pushing many dental and medical practices to look for data storage vulnerabilities and plan disaster recovery strategies.

Concerns about moving to the cloud are common among dentists, but such a migration to online data backup can provide substantial benefits in terms of helping dentists recover more quickly from a power outage or other disaster, Dr. Martin Jablow wrote for Dentistry IQ. Online data backup gives practices the ability to access patient information at a time when their onsite data storage would be out of commission.

"HIPAA issues are one of the biggest fears dental offices have with going chartless" Jablow wrote."There are HIPAA issues that need to be addressed by both hardware and software. Cloud computing addresses all of these HIPAA issues. Your practice has shifted many of the HIPAA responsibilities to a third party. This is a HIPAA shield for your office."

Heathcare providers are required to move patient records to the cloud by Sept. 23 in order to comply with the law. Failure to comply with these guidelines before a data breach involving personal health information occurs could leave practices and their cloud backup partners liable for substantial fines and penalties imposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to the American Medical Association.

Penalties for data loss
People who unknowingly violate the law can be fined from $100 to $50,000 per violation. Compliance failures due to reasonable causes rather than willful neglect can result in fines from $1,000 to $50,000. The department established two tiers for data security breaches caused by willful neglect. In this category, data breaches that are repaired before a given deadline can garner $10,000 to $50,000 in penalties. Those that do not correct violations can be fined $50,000. The maximum penalty for multiple violations per year is $1.5 million.

Stealing or knowingly releasing private health information can result in fines of up to $50,000 and a year in jail, while doing so using false pretenses can garner penalties of up to $100,000 and a possible prison sentence of up to 5 years. Violations committed for personal gain, malicious harm or commercial advantage can result in $250,000 in fines and a 10-year prison term.

Categories: Cloud Backup, Data Protection, Disaster Recovery