Google offers online tools to help with secure cloud hosting

The Google Cloud Healthcare Data Protection Toolkit can help healthcare organizations chart strategies for HIPAA-aligned data management, the company says.
By Max Sullivan
02:05 PM

More and more healthcare providers are turning to cloud hosting for integrating their myriad sources of sensitive data, a complex service in high demand in the medical industry. Google Cloud says it is making more healthcare specific products that streamline the process of transferring data safely and anonymously.

And the company has made an online toolkit and instructional materials available to help walk healthcare organizations through the process of securely deploying Cloud Cloud Platform for their data services, according to a recent blog post by Google technical editor Mike Pope.

The Google Cloud Healthcare Data Protection Toolkit is a set of scripts and procedures that walk people through the process of building out a GCP-based system for healthcare data, according to Pope.

It provides a reference for building and designing a system, diving into the different facets of how a given solution will work out. Factors it covers include security and permissions, connectivity and technology for login and monitoring.

Google's healthcare specific products use common healthcare data formats like FHIR, HL7v2 and DICOM, Pope explains. The company is offering solutions for ingesting data that are automated and in real-time, as well as in varying sizes of data bundles and batches.

Google Cloud can also help healthcare organizations de-identify data such as X-ray images that are used for research, with the company offering more than one solution for guiding users through the de-identification process.

Leaders in healthcare IT across the nation are working to better integrate their data sources to improve service for patients and workflow for care providers.

More and more health systems, including world-class institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, which recently embarked on a 10-year partnership with Google, are embracing the cloud's potential for secure data management.

The benefits, from faster precision oncology insights to more comprehensive population health programs, are hard to ignore.

"Like many other industries, healthcare has seen rapid adoption of cloud-based resources in order to do things like store, process, and analyze vast amounts of data," said Google's Pope. "However, given the healthcare industry’s complexity, many healthcare organizations have found it particularly challenging to create cloud-based solutions.

"Beyond the technical challenges of implementing highly scalable and highly available systems, a critical consideration for any healthcare solution is also how to work with protected health information," he added.

"Building out a GCP-based system for your healthcare data involves a lot of components and moving parts," he said. "Understanding all the pieces and assembling them yourself takes time and study. It's especially important that your system has the controls that are required in order to help align with data-privacy concerns."

Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime.

Twitter: @maxsullivanlive

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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