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How much of health IT will go into the clouds?

The difference between computing in a cloud and in a hosted center is that there's no designated machine in the cloud. This is a problem for health applications, where the provenance (and security) of records is a special concern.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

cloudsOne fact tieing together many of today's health IT trends is cloud computing.

When medical offices do their computing as a service, it's being done in the cloud. When you move your health records into Google Health it's coming in from the cloud.

What were once hosted data centers have grown into great clouds of computing infrastructure which can be anywhere. Microsoft has a cloud. Sun has a cloud. Google has a cloud.

The difference between computing in a cloud and in a hosted center is that there's no designated machine in the cloud. This is a problem for health applications, where the provenance (and security) of records is a special concern.

But it is a concern cloud vendors are, on the whole, ignoring. When a SaaS vendors designates a cloud as the host, your office records only really know about the vendor. When Google Health has your PHR, they're working for you, not the doctor.

We're accustomed to having walls, firewalls, between our medical data and those who might grab it to misuse it. The walls are really there to keep vendors out of our stuff when it's in our doctor's hands. They're to protect us from the vendors.

But what does this mean when everything is in a cloud? We may attach legal niceties to the unpermitted exchange of medical data supposedly held by one vendor or another, but in the clouds it's just another lightning strike.

So do you have any special concerns, or recommend any special precautions, as your medical records, or those under your care, go into the computing clouds?[poll id=18]

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