Despite their many differences, most sectors have more in common than industry members might realize. Seemingly business-oriented tools can often have tangible applications in other verticals, bringing the same benefits to a wide variety of organizations. This is particularly true of the healthcare industry and data archiving solutions. While long-term storage drives may appear to be most readily useful for large enterprises and data centers, they can offer the same level of quality and performance to hospitals, medical centers and other healthcare organizations.
Medical facilities are in the midst of an information boom. These organizations are currently being flooded by incoming data, including patient files, financial documents and medical records. There is no such thing as disposable data in the healthcare sphere, meaning that everything needs to be documented and stored for later use. Data archiving solutions are increasingly becoming a critical need for medical centers, particularly as they continue to face pressure to transition to digital records. The federal government has pushed the healthcare community to discard paper-based filing systems in favor of electronic documents, offering incentives to those organizations that can demonstrate "meaningful use" of electronic health records in their practice.
According to a recent HIMSS Analytics survey, such policies have significantly driven the need for better data management within healthcare organizations – and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
"By 2015, most hospitals are expected to have undergone a massive, data- and reform-driven transformation," said HIMSS Analytics vice president Lorren Pettit. "Between the conversion to ICD-10 for better coding, meeting meaningful use milestones for data sharing at the point-of-care, and the continued influx of EMR/EHR systems, hospitals will have created an exponential proliferation of data volume."
Medical records need to be archived
Due to the sensitive nature of these records, medical centers will require reliable methods of archiving them for later use. Even those organizations that leverage cloud-based storage services will need to have an effective data archiving solution in place in the event of a catastrophic event. CoreLink Data Centers director Nav Ranajee highlighted the urgency to deploy disaster recovery tools within healthcare operations, noting that the growing relevance of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health has further spurred on efforts to implement such assets.
"Regulatory, technological and environmental factors are raising the importance of a comprehensive DR strategy," Ranajee wrote. "Healthcare IT executives must ensure that they have identified their critical systems and have plans in place to recover if hit with a natural disaster or a cyberattack. The consequences and risks are too great to ignore."
HIPAA compliance should be of major concern to organizations that rely on cloud-based services for their data storage and archiving needs. Not all cloud providers operate in accordance with federal regulations, putting their clients at risk for violation. Furthermore, an emergency scenario could disrupt a medical facility's access to their hosted storage platforms. In some instances, that data may never be recovered. Given the high stakes of healthcare data storage, administrators should backup cloud platforms with physical data archiving solutions.
Go Blu-ray for data archiving needs
Optical media currently offers the best method of securely backing up information for the long haul. In particular, data archiving solutions built upon Blu-ray discs offer a wide range of benefits, including durability, scalability and affordability. DIGISTOR's Enterprise Archive utilizes high-quality Blu-ray discs that have been designed with longevity in mind. Healthcare officials can securely store important medical records for up to 100 years with DIGISTOR's archiving tool. Furthermore, because Blu-ray media is more cost-effective than other storage formats, medical centers can scale up their critical archiving processes without breaking the bank. This means that organizations can enjoy the financial incentives of meaningful use projects instead of having to direct those funds back into their storage needs.
Even healthcare facilities that use the cloud as a primary storage format, should look to Blu-ray data archiving solutions to back up those services. A disruptive event can occur at any time, knocking servers offline and preventing administrators from accessing their hosted documents. DIGISTOR's Enterprise Archive tool ensures that such events are merely an annoyance and not the catastrophic incident that could adversely affect hospital operations for years to come. When choosing an archiving platform, medical officials should prioritize reliability, affordability and scalability over all other considerations. The DIGISTOR Enterprise Archive solution hits on all of those marks, making it ideal for healthcare use.