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Office 365 Now HIPAA- Compliant

TMCnews Featured Article

October 22, 2012

Office 365 Now HIPAA- Compliant

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Do you hear that? It’s the noise of doctors and nurses rejoicing and throwing down their stethoscopes in excitement as they revel in the news that Office 365, a cloud-based collaboration solution, measures up to the many demands outlines by HIPAA regulations. 

TMCnet just reported today that institutes of higher learning including Duke University, Emory University, Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Iowa and the University of Washington have all begun to leverage this next-generation platform, but this solution isn’t just catching on like a wildfire in the education space but also within healthcare as various experts from the academic, public, and private sector worked with Microsoft (News - Alert) to create a business associate agreement (BAA) to address HIPAA requirements.

 With the technology giant alleging that it now offers the "most comprehensive agreement available to HIPAA-covered entities that manage electronic-protected health information," this will improve processes within the vertical significantly helping hospitals and doctor offices to cut costs while simultaneously ramping up efficiency.

Thomas Jefferson University’s Chief Information Officer, Doug Herrick, said in a recent article that before adopting Office 365, the school was using Google's (News - Alert) Gmail. He added, "But the university was looking for a more integrated solution and more collaborative messaging and communication functions that went beyond pure e-mail."

 Moreover, the university was in desperate need of an offering that could meet the many and detailed mandates that HIPAA demands.

"We needed a service for faculty and staff that could pass by our legal folks and our privacy folks. That knocked Gmail out; it was fine for students, but faculty and staff needed a vendor that would sign an agreement with us and have it be relative to HIPAA requirements," Herrick stated.

 In related news, last week analyst Simon Jones openly pondered whether Microsoft’s suite within an office setting is leaving devoted customers in the dust by pushing them towards using a trial of Office 365 and then subscribing to Office 2013 Professional or Home Premium.

Jones commented, “Microsoft obviously believes everyone nowadays has constant Wi-Fi coverage wherever they are, and that if they don’t have Wi-Fi then they’ll have a good 3G signal or 3G dongle for their computer.”

Yet, this simply isn’t the case, as many public locations still don’t offer access to a Wi-Fi network, which makes it virtually impossible to utilize something hosted in the cloud.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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