New research published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Iron Mountain has revealed the lack of preparedness by many hospitals to backup and safeguard patient information.
According to the report, just 52 per cent of the 150 senior-level technology professionals at hospitals across the US who took part in the study said their facility has an active data archiving policy in place.
Overall, managers stated 75 per cent of data that is created is viewed as ‘active’ by hospital staff, despite the fact at least 30 per cent is not accessed past 18 months of its creation.
As a result, the survey showed considerable efficiency and financial savings could be made by medical providers simply by transferring this information to cheaper offsite storage providers.
Michael Leonard, director of product management for healthcare IT services at Iron Mountain, stated: “If you look at this survey, you’ll conclude that most hospitals continue to treat all data the same and don’t sufficiently tier it based on its importance and access requirements.”
He added there is therefore a need for the medical sector to embrace data archiving strategies, with all data vital to the business and near-term clinical operations being backed up to remote data centres, as this will provide swift access but also safeguard these files against accidental loss.
In terms of tackling emergency scenarios, the medical profession also needs to ensure any sensitive patient data is adequately protected from access by unauthorised individuals, as well as being sufficiently backed up to allow for swift recovery.
Lorren Pettit, vice president for market research at HIMSS Analytics, commented: “As this survey shows, all that data is generating problems that senior healthcare IT executives are not currently considering, making the need to develop a successful strategy to manage and protect that data essential.”
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