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Just what the doctor ordered: Office 365 helps healthcare providers connect, keep patient data protected

Office 365 healthBecause of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans who were previously uninsured will have new health insurance plans on January 1. This means more healthy people, but it also means doctors and healthcare providers will need to manage more patients.

Technology is already playing a key role in managing and digitizing patient records, which has helped numerous healthcare organizations increase efficiencies, decrease spending and improve access to the right information.

As healthcare organizations evaluate technology solutions, more and more are looking to Microsoft Office 365 because it provides some of the best productivity tools and is one of the few industry solutions dedicated to maintaining HIPAA compliance. One of the greatest concerns of healthcare providers is the security and privacy of patient data, so we put compliance, privacy and industry standards at the forefront of our technology solutions to help protect this sensitive information.

University of Colorado Health turns to Office 365

Take University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), for example. UCHealth is one of the largest healthcare providers in Colorado, and it is a new healthcare system formed by Poudre Valley Health System, University of Colorado Hospital and Memorial Health System. When UCHealth formed, it had to consolidate multiple disparate legacy systems in a way that would help ensure the greatest productivity and data security for its workers and patients.

After evaluating solutions from other vendors, including Google, UCHealth chose Office 365 because it goes beyond what others provide in usability and support for HIPAA. Microsoft worked closely with health leaders such as Duke University and Emory University to develop its HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

As of today, UCHealth has fully migrated 17,000 mailboxes into a single Office 365 environment. The upgrade will help UCHealth increase collaboration across the healthcare system and is expected to save approximately $13.9 million over the next 11 years. To learn more about how UCHealth is using Office 365, check out the press release.

Electronic health records–where does that data go?

While privacy is critical for healthcare providers, patients can also take control and learn more about how their electronic health records are used and stored. Whether you have new health insurance starting in January or have had insurance for years, you can use this helpful infographic to see what happens to patient data once it is added to an electronic health record. From devices (e.g., laptops, tablets and smartphones) to collaboration (e.g., specialists, hospitals and pharmacies), it is important that electronic health records are kept private and secure, no matter where the information is used.

Dr. Dennis Schmuland, Microsoft’s chief health strategy officer, recently published a blog post that dives into the issue of HIPAA BAAs and why these documents are so important for vendors in the healthcare industry. Visit the Microsoft on the Issues Blog to learn more.

From the Office 365 team, we’re wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!