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What Star Trek Can Teach You About Helping Your Healthcare Clients Secure Patient Data

What Star Trek Can Teach You About Helping Your Healthcare Clients Secure Patient Data

Remember the hover boards in the "Back to the Future" movies--those levitating skateboards that characters in the films used to get around? As you’ve no doubt seen if you’ve stepped outside your house lately, more than 25 years after they first appeared in those movies, hover boards are finally here—in the real world—sort of. (They unfortunately don’t actually levitate.)

Science fiction often provides the inspiration for real-world innovations. And one very recent example in the medical industry offers an important lesson to you as an MSP. An amazing new personal medical device, which CNN reported on in early 2015, is based on the fictional medical “tricorder” from Star Trek. The real device is a handheld scanner that, when placed against your forehead, measures your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other key details about your health.

Then (and here’s the lesson for your MSP business) the device will send all of this medical data wirelessly, via a Bluetooth signal, to a smartphone or other device—or directly to your doctor.

With Personal Health Information Everywhere, Your Healthcare Clients Are Increasingly Cyber Crime Targets

What does this mean for your healthcare clients—and for your clients in any industry that handles electronic protected health information (ePHI)? The title of a recent article from ID Experts sums up the potential threat: “Medical Data Everywhere: Health Revolution or Time Bomb?

Like the CNN feature mentioned above, the ID Experts article looks on in amazement at the new Star Trek-inspired personal medical scanner, saying that the “tiny, sleek device makes the ones on the Starship Enterprise look like something from the era of vacuum tubes.” But then the article points out the potential problem with so much personal health data flying through the air: “The digitization of medical data has created new risks.”

Your healthcare clients, and the other “covered entities” your business serves, are increasingly storing and transmitting ePHI digitally, using more cloud tools and Internet-connected devices than ever. As this trend continues, it will become increasingly difficult for those businesses’ IT organizations to keep a sufficient security net around all of that highly sensitive data.

For example, another recent ID Experts article cites a study that found the typical healthcare business’s employees use 10 times more cloud services than their IT departments are aware of.

If a health provider’s staff uses tools like cloud-based file storage or their personal webmail to store and transmit patient records without their IT team’s knowledge, how can that company ensure all of this sensitive data remains secure and private?

You Can Leverage This Trend to Provide a Valuable New Service to Your Health Clients

If you have nervous healthcare clients, concerned that their PHI is traversing the Internet unsecured, or that it’s vulnerable to cyber criminals while stored on a server, here’s one great technology you can offer them to immediately alleviate some of those concerns: an enterprise-caliber, highly secure cloud fax solution to replace their existing fax infrastructure.

This brings our science fiction analogy full-circle—because the early mass-produced fax machines actually were from the era of vacuum tubes. And chances are many of your health clients are still using this physically outdated technology—desktop fax machines and in-house fax servers, transmitting faxes over analog phone lines—because fax is still a major component of business communication in the health industry.

But these antiquated pieces of hardware create significant security risks for your clients’ health data. With fax machines, your clients may have printed copies of confidential PHI left unattended in the inbound-fax tray, and digital copies of the faxes stored in the machine’s memory.

Fax servers may also leave unsecured digital copies of sent and received faxes on the hard drive. Plus, when these hard drives need to be “purged,” to free up more storage, many IT organizations are forced to print hard copies for archiving—meaning any PHI in these faxes are now in an unsecured format on paper.

But, today, your clients’ fax infrastructure doesn’t need to be built on this clunky hardware. In fact—and here’s where things get a little science fiction—your clients’ faxes no longer require any fax hardware at all, or software, or telephone lines, or maintenance, or repairs. Their faxes can be received, sent and stored entirely through the cloud (almost as if they’re levitating, like those sci-fi hover boards). All they need is a trusted cloud fax service, like the one available from eFax Corporate.

Upgrade Your Clients’ Fax Infrastructure to a Secure Cloud Fax Service

A smart approach to protecting the security, confidentiality and HIPAA compliance of ePHI that your clients transmit by fax, eFax Corporate, often complemented by eFax Secure in the HIPAA environment, is entrusted every day to transmit millions of pages of sensitive corporate documents by businesses in the most heavily regulated industries, including healthcare. Our proven capabilities help enterprises meet the strictest federal mandates regarding data transfer, tracking and storage.

And this solution is now part of our support-driven, high-touch, lucrative Partner Program and easily added to your portfolio. Please visit our eFax Corporate Partner page to learn more.

Currently responsible for the Enterprise Partner Program for j2 Cloud Services, Peter Ely is a 27-year technology veteran, having held senior executive positions looking after presales support, product management,  product marketing and technical evangelist teams in the telecommunications and data networking arenas in positions located across two continents and three countries.


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