Policy & LawTechnology

The Rising Importance of Data Governance and Archiving in Healthcare

3 Mins read
  • Data governance and archiving are becoming far more important to the healthcare sector, which is a trend that healthcare providers can't ignore

One of the biggest challenges for healthcare organizations, especially as they become more digital, is managing sensitive patient information. With stricter regulations and raising awareness about the importance of data privacy, it has become clear that there’s a need for a better way to collect and store sensitive data. Healthcare providers must be diligent about protecting patient data.

Healthcare organizations collect more and more data on a daily basis, from patient records and prescriptions to reports and complex diagnostic information. Large volumes of data combined with new compliance requirements can be quite challenging.

Compliance regulations require healthcare organizations to warrant long-term retention, data security and ensure that patient data stays intact. However, the question is how many healthcare organizations actually have proper archiving solutions in place to keep up with these requirements and ensure compliance.

The growing volume of data

Digitalization and the emergence of the cloud brought a lot of changes in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers started using various software and cloud solutions that allowed them to improve patient care management, easily access complete patient information and provide personalized and insightful patient care.

Although these platforms are extremely useful, they also come with some downsides. Cloud platforms generate a lot of data and the data growth can’t quickly go out of hand and become difficult to control.

Even if the organization does not rely on complex custom software, it can still experience massive data growth simply by using communication channels such as email. As the healthcare industry is strictly regulated, healthcare providers have to create long email retention policies in order to comply with these standards.

To comply with HIPAA requirements, healthcare organizations should keep their emails for 7 years, and only then can they safely get rid of them.

But how can organizations keep track of retention periods for each email record and not lose track? That’s where archiving comes into play.

The importance of archiving data

Data archiving can be of significant help in keeping track of retention periods and ensuring compliance by automating retention and mitigating the risk of human error. Not only can it help with compliance, but it can also help save time and reduce storage costs.

If you can’t control your data growth, data archiving can help you manage your data and keep it secure and accessible.

Here are the main reasons why healthcare organizations should archive their data and possibly archive it as necessary.

Ensuring compliance

In order to ensure compliance, you need to define clear policies and processes, set clear standards, and use the right tools to manage your patients’ sensitive data. With the help of email archiving you can improve your data governance strategy and ensure that your data is safe, retrieval, and easily accessible in case you need to demonstrate compliance.

The first step is to identify which data you need to store, and then determine how long you should store it. You can even create data classifications and retain different types of data for different amounts of time.

However, make sure to always keep data regulation policies in mind, as you might have to keep some types of records for up to 7 years to meet HIPAA requirements.

Cutting costs

Storing all of your patient data can require a lot of storage space and the costs can quickly add up.

Even if you don’t actively use patient data such as past patient records, you still need to keep them to ensure compliance. However, archiving allows you to preserve such data in a safe repository and access it only when you need it without taking up valuable storage space.

By strategically archiving the data you don’t often use and keeping only what you frequently need, you can save a significant amount of storage costs.

Data Accessibility

Storing data is only useful if you can easily find and access it.

Luckily, modern archiving solutions offer great ease of use and accessibility, so your data is always available to you, whenever you need it.

With advanced search and filters, you can find anything you need in seconds and easily access data that’s kept safe in your data archive.

Minimizing risk

The healthcare industry deals with data that’s especially sensitive. When storing large volumes of sensitive patient data, there’s always a risk that it will get corrupted or lost.

Archiving data will minimize the risks of data breaches and data loss and allow you to keep your data safe and intact in an easily accessible repository so it can be retrieved in case of an incident.

Over to you

As healthcare service providers went through digitalization and started relying on cloud platforms, it has become increasingly challenging for them to manage the growing amount of data.

Data archiving can help overcome some of these challenges by offering a way to safely store sensitive patient data in a tamper-proof archive, from which it can be easily found and recovered whenever necessary without taking up valuable storage space.

That way, you can ensure compliance and avoid hefty fines due to regulatory violations.

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