white paper

Cloud Services and the Healthcare Alphabet Soup

The healthcare industry seems to be an amalgamation of acronyms, from HIPAA and HITECH to HHS and ACA. While far from comprehensive, this document provides a brief overview of the terminology, federal laws, initiatives and agencies behind some of these acronyms, particularly those impacting cloud and data center services, as well as links to resources for additional information.

While the healthcare industry is subject to countless regulations and laws, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, received the most press over the last two decades. Enacted by the United States Congress in 1996, HIPAA is a set of statutes designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. healthcare system.

HIPAA directly impacts data centers and cloud services providers because of the fourth bullet above as both may electronically store, transmit or otherwise handle healthcare information on behalf of a wide range of customers. This is addressed later in this document

HIPAA is comprised of hundreds of pages outlining its various rules and requirements, many of which are amendments to previously enacted regulations. It is divided into five primary provisions, known as titles.

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