Previously mentioned in this blog was the importance of businesses ensuring that cloud and mobile technologies remain HIPAA compliant, as the security of patient records should always remain a top priority with medical facilities. Microsoft has taken that into account and now offers business associate agreements (BAAs) for Windows Azure Core Services.
Dr. Mohamed Ayad, industry technical solution specialist for U.S. Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft, told eWeek that protected health information (PHI) can now reside safely in a Microsoft data center, including Azure, as the company is ready to stand up and be a trusted steward for medical facilities.
He added though that while Azure provides doctors, health plans and other "covered entities" with HIPAA compliance capabilities, organizations will still need to ensure that their use of it follows regulations.
The technology company has always kept privacy and security top priorities, Ayad said, and that this is just the next step in its roadmap to compliance.
According to the news source, Microsoft will offer BAA agreements "in Azure for Web and worker roles in Cloud Services as well as tables, queues and binary large objects (BLOBS), which store unstructured data, such as video, audio and images."
If a medical organization is considering using Azure, or any type of cloud technology or mobile service, it should partner with a healthcare consultant, to ensure that the addition of a new platform in their business does not violate any HIPAA privacy laws.
Technology is changing all the time, and with more hospitals and healthcare facilities using EMRs and e-prescriptions, it's even more vital to keep an eye on how the alterations will affect patients. Healthcare consulting firms will ensure patient safety and the compliance of these covered entities.