Every day, your medical staff processes an enormous amount of data collected from various healthcare management systems: from patient records and laboratory tests to administrative and billing data, as well as data from wearable devices and sensors. This data plays an integral role in catering to customers with the best service and making conscious decisions.
According to, 75.5%, 63.9%, and 58.9% of stakeholders agreed that storing electronic health data was important for improving treatment quality, preventing health epidemics, and reducing treatment delays. Yet, managing and securing medical data storage comes with a number of challenges. The scale of data, its complexity, and strict privacy requirements present significant obstacles for healthcare business owners.
Within this article, you’ll discover the significant health data security requirements and best practices to help ensure the safety and confidentiality of healthcare data management systems.
Healthcare Data Storage Requirements to Ensure Its Safeguard
In order to keep medical data safe in healthcare data storage, we highly suggest you follow the requirements and security measures. They will assure powerful healthcare data storage security, protecting your customers and refining the credibility of your business. In turn, this boosts your position in the market.
Medical data must be encrypted at rest and during transmission between systems and devices. For this, use strong encryption algorithms and store encryption keys in a secure location.
Data encryption flow
Authentication and authorization
The medical data storage should have authentication mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users have access to medical data. It is also important to set up an authorization system to control access to different levels of data depending on the user's role and privileges.
Servers and data storage should be housed in a physically secure room with limited access. Provide access control, video surveillance, and mechanisms to protect against unauthorized physical access.
Backup and recovery
Regularly back up medical data and store it in a separate and secure location. Review and test data recovery procedures to ensure they are effective in case of emergencies.
Monitoring and logging
Keep detailed logs of system activity and monitor access to medical data. Analyze logs to identify suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts.
Install effective malware detection and prevention software for your medical data storage solutions. Regularly update antivirus databases and conduct system scans to identify potential threats.
Educate staff about data security measures and system utilization policies. Keep staff aware of new security threats and updated security practices.
Ensure your data storage for healthcare complies with applicable regulations and standards, such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Physical and logical segregation of data
Categorize medical data and put segregation mechanisms in place to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Conduct regular penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities and verify the effectiveness of security measures in your medical data storage system.
It is critical to point out that the requirements for securing medical data may vary from country to country and region to region depending on the laws and regulations of healthcare data storage companies.
Types of Health Data Storage Methods
Let’s switch to the three different types of healthcare data storage methods: on-premises (on-premises), cloud, and hybrid. They directly impact the way you store your medical data, making each option suitable for particular healthcare business cases.
Local storage systems (On-Premises)
On-premises healthcare data storage refers to the practice of storing medical data within the physical infrastructure of a healthcare organization or facility. In this approach, the organization owns and operates its own servers, storage devices, and networking equipment to store and manage healthcare data.
- Full control. An organization has full control over its storage infrastructure and can enforce its own security policies and protections.
- High performance. Local systems can provide robust performance and low latency for data access because they reside within the organization itself.
- High cost. Using local infrastructure requires a significant financial investment in the purchase, installation, and maintenance of servers, storage, and networking equipment.
- Limited scalability. Expanding an on-premises infrastructure can be a complex and costly process. Scaling up requires additional resources and time.
Cloud data storage in healthcare implies the practice of storing medical data in remote servers and infrastructure provided by cloud service providers. Instead of managing and maintaining their own physical infrastructure, healthcare organizations can leverage the services of a third-party cloud provider to store and manage their data.
- Flexibility and scalability. Cloud systems allow you to scale your infrastructure based on your needs and provide flexibility in data storage capacity.
- Convenience and accessibility. Data can be accessed anytime and from any internet-connected device, allowing for ease of use and collaboration on data storage in healthcare.
- Security. Large cloud providers invest significant resources in data security, including encryption, backups, and authentication mechanisms.
- Dependence on internet connection. Accessing data in the cloud requires a stable and reliable internet connection. Loss of connection may temporarily prevent access to data.
- Privacy risks. Before transferring data to the cloud, you should consider the possible risks of loss of data privacy and security.
Want to know more about cloud computing in healthcare? Check our guide
Hybrid storage systems
Hybrid healthcare data storage refers to a combination of on-premises and cloud-based storage solutions for managing healthcare data. In a hybrid model, organizations store and manage some of their data on local infrastructure (on-premises) while utilizing cloud-based storage services for other data.
- Flexibility and control. Hybrid systems allow organizations to choose how much data to store locally and how much to store in the cloud. This allows for better management of data privacy and security.
- Cost optimization. Organizations can use cloud resources to store scalable and less sensitive data, while more sensitive data can be stored locally.
- Management complexity. Hybrid systems require more complex management and coordination between on-premises and cloud infrastructures.
- Integration. The need to integrate and synchronize data between on-premises and cloud storage can be challenging.
For your better guidance, we’ve outlined the core characteristics of each option:
Requires local infrastructure and setup
Data is stored in remote servers managed by cloud providers
Combination of local and remote infrastructure
Higher upfront costs
Pay-as-you-go pricing based on usage
Combination of upfront and ongoing costs
Full control over data and infrastructure
Сontrol is limited by cloud service provider policies
Varies depending on the implementation and setup
Organization is charge of maintenance
Cloud provider manages maintenance, updates, and backups
Combination of organization and cloud service provider responsibilities
Organization has direct control over security
Cloud providers have security measures and compliance
Varies depending on the implementation and setup
Choosing the right storage system depends on your organization's requirements, level of security and privacy, as well as resource availability, and budget. Often, medical organizations prefer to use a combination of different systems to achieve the best balance between control, flexibility, and cost.
Healthcare Data Storage Challenges You Should Be Prepared For
Within each type of storage, medical data keeping presents a number of complexities and challenges that you should be prepared to deal with. Let’s consider these healthcare data storage challenges and possible solutions that help you overcome them:
Data privacy and security
One of the primary challenges in healthcare data storage is providing a high level of security for medical data to prevent unauthorized access and leakage of sensitive information. The potential consequences of data breaches in the healthcare sector can be severe, leading to compromised patient privacy, identity theft, legal liabilities, and damage to an organization's reputation.
For such challenges in healthcare data storage, it is relevant to implement comprehensive security measures and best practices. Some of the key solutions include robust encryption, authentication mechanisms, role-based access policies, security monitoring systems, and conducting regular security audits. Such strategies enable healthcare organizations to obtain a secure and compliant environment for managing sensitive medical data.
Scaling and managing data volume
As the volume of medical data grows, it can be a challenge to scale hospital data storage and effectively manage all data. The increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), medical imaging, and IoT devices in healthcare generates vast amounts of data that require secure and accessible storage solutions.
When handling the scalability issue, hospitals can leverage cloud services, and virtualization technologies. Cloud storage provides scalability and flexibility, allowing healthcare providers to scale their storage needs dynamically as data volume grows. Additionally, healthcare data visualization enables efficient allocation and utilization of resources, making data storage more cost-effective and manageable in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.
Data interoperability and standardization
Healthcare data is generated from a diverse range of sources, including electronic health records (EHRs), medical imaging systems, wearable devices, and various medical devices. Each of these sources may store data in different formats and structures, leading to a lack of uniformity and standardization in data storage. As a result, healthcare organizations often face significant difficulties in interconnecting and sharing information between different systems.
To address this challenge, the industry applies healthcare data exchange standards such as HL7 (Health Level 7) or FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). These standards facilitate data compatibility and integration between different systems, ensuring seamless data exchange and improved interoperability. By adopting standardized formats for data storage, healthcare providers can streamline data sharing, enhance collaboration, and ultimately improve patient care outcomes.
Explore how HL7 integration can enable the secure and seamless transition of massive medical data amounts via healthcare systems
Data backup and recovery
Another critical setback in healthcare data storage is ensuring the security and accessibility of sensitive patient information. Healthcare organizations deal with vast amounts of data, including patient records, medical images, and research data, making it crucial to safeguard against data loss or unauthorized access.
Robust data backup and recovery procedures are very useful for this obstacle. Regularly backing up data and storing it in secure and separate locations ensures that critical information is protected in case of system failures, natural disasters, or cyber-attacks. Conducting periodic recovery tests helps verify the effectiveness of data recovery procedures and ensures that data can be restored promptly when needed. Additionally, complying with industry-specific data security standards, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, is vital in maintaining data integrity and protecting patient privacy.
Compliance with regulatory requirements
Healthcare organizations face the challenge of complying with strict regulatory requirements such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). These regulations mandate the secure handling, storage, and transmission of sensitive patient data, making data storage a critical aspect of healthcare operations.
The solution to this is to introduce policies and procedures that ensure regulatory compliance. This includes deploying secure data storage systems with encryption protocols to protect patient information from unauthorized access. Additionally, regular updates to legislative acts and guidelines are essential to keep abreast of any changes in the regulatory landscape, ensuring continued compliance and data security. By adopting these measures, healthcare providers can safeguard patient data and maintain the trust of their patients while meeting stringent regulatory requirements.
Healthcare compliances in different countries
Integration with medical systems
Integrating patient data systems with other medical systems, such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), Radiology Information Systems (RIS), and more, can cause complexities too. This integration process can be complex and requires collaborative efforts with the vendors of those systems, as each system may have its own data format and structure.
It is reasonable to collaborate closely with healthcare system vendors and work together to establish standard interfaces and protocols for data exchange. By adhering to industry standards, such as Health Level 7 (HL7) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), data compatibility and integration can be ensured. Implementing standardized interfaces allows seamless sharing of patient data between different systems, enabling healthcare providers to access comprehensive and up-to-date information for better decision-making and improved patient care.
Data lifetime management
The healthcare industry deals with a vast amount of sensitive and diverse medical data, ranging from patient records and diagnostic reports to medical images and research data. Compliance with various data privacy and security regulations, such as HIPAA in the United States or GDPR in the European Union, adds complexity to the storage process. Healthcare organizations must adhere to strict data retention policies while ensuring data accessibility and integrity.
The appropriate solution for this is to develop data lifecycle management strategies. These should define data retention, archiving, and deletion timelines in accordance with legislation and organizational policies. Implementing data lifecycle management helps ensure that medical data is retained for the necessary duration as required by regulations and it is securely archived or disposed of once it is no longer needed. By establishing clear guidelines and automated processes for data lifecycle management, healthcare organizations can improve compliance with regulatory requirements, and safeguard patient data privacy and security.
Each of these challenges requires appropriate healthcare data storage methods and implementation of the relevant technological and organizational strategies. You may negotiate the requirements of your project with your tech vendor.
Find out how healthcare software development services will assist you in developing and implementing robust healthcare management systems
Steps to Implement Healthcare Data Storage Plan
Implementing an effective healthcare data storage strategy is a multistep and complex process that requires careful planning, needs assessment, and the use of modern technology in parallel with the assistance of a reliable IT vendor. The steps taken to implement a healthcare data storage plan must be well-planned and executed with high standards of security and privacy.
At the beginning of the process is an assessment of the organization's healthcare data storage needs. This includes determining the amount and types of data that need to be stored, as well as the specifics of that data. For example, you may need to store patient data, medical histories, lab results, images, and other information. The needs assessment also includes analyzing regulatory requirements such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to ensure compliance and protect patient privacy.
Finding a reliable tech vendor
The next important step is finding an experienced IT provider that can provide the right solution and address your healthcare data storage requirements. An experienced provider must have expertise in health tech development to understand the domain specifics and be able to implement healthcare software complying with industry regulations. The provider must ensure a high level of data security, reliability and performance of the storage system.
Selecting the relevant IT infrastructure
In conjunction with your IT provider, you need to determine the optimal storage architecture. It can be local (on-premises), cloud, or hybrid model. The choice depends on your business needs, financial assets, and the level of security required. The hybrid model may be the most preferred one as it combines local storage for sensitive data and cloud resources for improved availability and scalability.
Development of health data storage system
Once the tech provider has investigated the business concept and Solution architect adviced on the solution architecture, it’s time to proceed to the design and building of the medical data storage system. The medical business analysts create a technical specification and implementation plan for the healthcare data storage system, including the selection of hardware, software, and networking solutions. It is necessary to pay special attention to data security applications of modern encryption and authentication methods to protect information.
Developing a data migration plan
The following stage is to develop a plan for migrating medical record data storage from the current systems to the new infrastructure. The plan should provide for a secure and structured data migration process, taking into account timing, risks, and security measures. Data migration can be a critical time and must be carefully planned and organized.
Ensuring data protection and securitization
The next activity is to secure and securitize the data. This includes implementing data encryption mechanisms, layered security measures, monitoring, and threat detection systems. Every step of the data storage system must be secure and transparent to authorized users, and access to sensitive information must be strictly controlled.
Implementation and monitoring
Once the system is developed, implementation and monitoring follow to verify the proper operation and effectiveness of the storage system. Regular monitoring of performance and data availability helps to promptly respond to problems and rectify them in the shortest possible time.
Staff training plays an important role in the successful implementation of a data storage plan. All employees should be trained on how to use the new storage system, as well as familiarized with security policies and information access rules. Training can take place either during system implementation or regularly for new employees or when there are changes to the system.
Maintenance and support
The final step is ongoing maintenance of the data storage system. Storing medical data is a process that requires constant attention and updating. Technical support should be provided for the organization's staff so that they can address any questions or issues with the data storage system. In addition, the system should be regularly updated and upgraded to ensure that it functions efficiently and meets the latest security standards.
Implementing a medical data storage plan is a complex but critical process that requires careful planning and primarily collaboration with qualified professionals. Keep in mind that with the right approach and adherence to all security measures, an organization can ensure that medical data is stored safely and securely, which contributes to more efficient and better healthcare operations within your business.
Healthcare data storage operation
Cleveland Experience in Building Robust Healthcare Systems
Cleveroad is a healthcare software development company that helps medical businesses cope with domain challenges by delivering cutting-edge IT services tailored to all healthcare institutions.
Our domain experts deliver full-cycle software development services to medical businesses of various scales. We have strong expertise in developing and implementing various compliant medical software like EHR, prescription, hospital management platforms, data storage systems for clinics, and other healthcare and telemedicine solutions.
What will you obtain when cooperating with Cleveroad?
- Experience in developing healthcare data storage solution with full strict adherence to industry regulations and data security standards, such as HIPAA, HITECH, CDA, CCD, and more
- AWS-certified engineers with strong experience in seamlessly deploying your medical repository into the highly compliant secure cloud
- Medical repository system implementation considering the unique data repository requirements, ensuring customized solutions that align with the organization's workflows and processes
- Experience in integration with the existing healthcare software to ensure a smooth flow of data between different components of the medical ecosystem, enhancing overall operational efficiency
To demonstrate our expertise in healthcare, we would like to acquaint you with one of our successfully delivered medical projects:
Clinic management system for rehab services provider
Our client is a US-based rehab clinic that offers remote care and online consultations. The clinic faced challenges with an unnecessary and inflexible Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system provided by SaaS solution, resulting in excessive costs. They sought a technical partner to develop a custom platform tailored to the clinic needs.
The primary objective of our team was to develop a robust clinic management system that would replace the excessive and expensive SaaS platform currently used by the company. This custom-built solution should cover appointment management and enhance overall workflow efficiency. In addition, it was crucial for the new system to be fully compliant with HIPAA requirements, ensuring data security and mitigating legal risks for US-based clinics.
Save data migration was a critical aspect of the project. We had to safely and completely move existing user data from the old scattered system to a new platform's database. At the same time, it was required to ensure that our solution does not break the US laws and regulations on personal data protection, so we built it as HIPAA compliant.
As a result, our customers received robust, fault-tolerant, and secure clinic management software. We’ve applied best practices to meet healthcare standards and ensure patient data privacy and confidentiality. Aside from compliance adherence, a platform helped the client to reduce the clinic's maintenance costs by 25%.
The video review from one of our clients serves as great evidence of our specialists’ deep domain expertise and the exceptional quality of our work. Checking the review, you can form your own opinion concerning the cooperation with us:
Breanne Butler, Project Manager at Prime Path Medtech™. Feedback about cooperation with Cleveroad
Cooperate with experienced vendor
Contact our domain experts to help you build a system for health storage safety and compliance
In healthcare, various database types are used to store and manage medical data. Some common database types include on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures. The hybrid type is considered to be the most appropriate option for medical businesses.
Yes, healthcare data is increasingly being stored on the cloud. Cloud computing offers numerous advantages to the healthcare industry, such as scalability, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. Cloud-based solutions allow healthcare providers to securely store and access patient information from anywhere with an internet connection. However, it is essential to ensure that the chosen cloud provider complies with healthcare data regulations, like HIPAA, to maintain data security and privacy.
Yes, medical data storage can be a significant challenge in healthcare. The industry deals with vast amounts of sensitive patient data, including electronic health records (EHRs), medical images, lab results, and more. Ensuring the secure and efficient storage of this data is crucial to maintaining patient privacy and complying with regulations like HIPAA. Healthcare organizations must address issues like data security, data integrity, data backup, and disaster recovery to safeguard patient information from breaches, data loss, and unauthorized access.
Healthcare organizations ensure data security through encryption, strict access controls, regular audits, and data backups. Compliance with regulations like HIPAA is essential. Cloud-based storage solutions are preferred, and staff undergo training on data protection. These measures safeguard patient data and maintain trust.
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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