Healthcare organizations are among some of the most data-intensive industries today. Unlike some industries, hospitals and other care providers face unique challenges because they must comply with a host of federal laws that govern the way they use and disseminate confidential patient data. Indeed, concerns over the security of electronic health records have long been an issue for patient advocacy groups.
These concerns are reflected in the provisions of various laws including HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Healthcare organizations must navigate the intricacies of the law while still maintaining always-on access to health records; moreover, such records must be organized in a way that will allow for multiple service providers to access them without difficulty and add to them as needed, all without overwriting data submitted by another provider. The technical challenges inherent in this are considerable, and in large measure explain why managed services are becoming such an integral part of the IT solutions being used to store and maintain patient data.
A related consideration for healthcare organizations must be the maintenance of massive bandwidth capacity. Without such capacity, many portions of electronic health records will take too long to access. This is because much digital medical data now consists of test results such as X-ray or MRI images; these must be digitized at a high resolution in order to fully preserve the details required for a diagnosis. Managed services can help to keep bandwidth allocations functioning as intended.