North America Health IT growth

    Studies Project Massive Growth in (HIPAA) Healthcare IT Market

    When the rules changed to apply the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to not only healthcare providers and organizations, but also to any of their “business associates” that have access to electronic protected health information (ePHI), including IT service providers and MSPs, many of my IT clients became concerned about the impact HIPAA would have on their businesses. Some even considered not offering services to HIPAA-regulated organizations, just to avoid the hassle of additional rules and risk.

    After some research, though, many began to see opportunity—big opportunity.

    According to a recent article by Healthcare IT Connect, the North American Healthcare IT market is currently worth $21.9 billion and is expected to grow to $31.3 billion by 2017.

    north_american_health_it_growth

    The growth of electronic health records (EHR) and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) are expected to be two of the fastest-growing healthcare IT segments. Both deal directly with ePHI and therefore will require additional security and HIPAA considerations, as well. (not sure what EHR, PACS, and ePhi means? Check out our free HIPAA glossary)

    Historically, the healthcare industry is notorious for its bureaucracy and inefficiencies—which is, in part, why HIPAA was created in the first place. In today’s technology-focused environment, the healthcare industry is certainly (finally) feeling the pressure to “catch up” and use technology to become more cost-effective, service-oriented, and secure. This is one reason the use of advanced healthcare IT is continually on the rise.

    IT service providers and MSPs that embrace HIPAA and become familiar with a) HIPAA regulations, and b) the IT solutions that will help clients become fully HIPAA compliant, can see the enormous potential in offering HIPAA-compliant IT services and acting as a HIPAA security resource for their clients.

    Having HIPAA knowledge and offering HIPAA-compliant services automatically differentiates you from the competition. These healthcare companies are looking for IT service providers that can help them secure their network and data without disturbing their workplaces or requiring them to shell out big money for fingerprint recognition and other expensive software. They need an enterprise solution to bridge the gap between IT security and their day-to-day operations.

    Once you’ve gained an understanding of HIPAA rules, how do you offer HIPAA-compliant IT services? You need to become an expert in a security management system that automates password-related tasks, offers advanced authentication options, and makes both you and your client’s lives easier. Here’s a primer on the tools you need:

    • Password Management Software: Centralized password control and user permissions. Create and reset passwords as needed. Automate the expiration of passwords and automatically generate strong, unique passwords.
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Quickly becoming industry standard. Rather than requiring only a password, users must also provide another security “factor,” like a biometric scan or a one-time access code generated from a hardware token or mobile app.
    • Single Sign-On: Once a user authenticates with MFA, they are taken to secure SSO portal where they can access all needed applications without needing to login again or authenticate. Premium security and convenience.

    IT providers can also profit from reselling their preferred password management, MFA, and SSO solutions, allowing them to take in additional income as they prove themselves to existing and potential clients as a valuable resource for HIPAA security compliance and password management.

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