SSD drives present promising future for medical data security

Due to issues regarding security and accessibility, hospitals face unique data storage concerns.

The data storage needs within the medical community have skyrocketed in recent years. The federal government has established guidelines mandating that medical facilities transfer all of their records to a digital format. With easier access to patient information, physicians will be able to provide better treatment at a moment's notice. However, this will also mean that hospitals, private practices and other medical institutions will need to invest in new data storage solutions.

As noted by BizTechMagazine, many hospitals have struggled to account for this increasing amount of data. Administrators must now store digital copies of medical images such as X-ray and MRI scans, handwritten doctor's notes and diagnostic test results. Managing the storage of these files is no easy task and hospitals have investigated several means to handle these demands.

Accounting for data storage compliance issues
Cloud computing has emerged as a potential option for some organizations as it can facilitate high-volume storage capacities at a relatively low cost. However, PerspecSys vice president Gerry Grealish recently explained in a SYS-CON Media article that cloud providers often cannot guarantee that the information stored on their servers will be adequately secured. Industry and government regulations such as those outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act have strict standards for how sensitive medical data is stored, which cloud providers may not be able to accommodate. According to a recent white paper written by Seton Hall law professors Frank Pasquale and Tara Adams Ragone, many vendors either don't have the resources to fulfill heatlhcare compliance regulations or simply refuse to enact the proper protocols.

"Although the Omnibus HIPAA Rule gives teeth to HIPAA by extending liability down the chain, many cloud service providers seem unwilling or unable to accept the implications of HHS's enforcement authority," the report stated.

To ensure that their sensitive patient records are probably secure, medical officials will likely have to deploy on-site data storage solutions. Another factor that administrators will need to consider is the ease with which personnel are able to launch important applications and access critical documents when needed. Although traditional hard disk drives can accommodate a large storage capacity, their slow read/write capabilities will result in latency issues which may interfere with hospital operations. For the most time-sensitive files and critical applications, medical facilities will need a data storage solution with much quicker access times. SSD drives can provide an optimal level of data accessibility, as the technology's NAND flash memory is not affected by the same physical limitations as HDDs. When physicians need to view medical documents without delay, SSDs can accommodate lightning-fast launch speeds and get needed information in their hands as quick as possible.

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