The healthcare industry had the smallest share of data among key industries in 2018, yet it was primed to grow the fastest. In fact, experts predict healthcare data will grow by almost 40 percent per year until 2025.
That’s a lot of data for healthcare organizations to contend with. You’ll need to take a look at policies around data collection, protection, deletion, and much more.
Data storage should also be on your mind. Where are you going to keep all this new information? You’ll need to make sure it’s accessible, secure, and manageable.
With that in mind, this guide looks at the top five healthcare data storage options you have. By choosing the right storage now, you’ll be in a better position to manage your organization’s data for years to come.
1. Blockchain Data Storage Solutions
The first healthcare data storage option on the list is blockchain. Despite popular belief, blockchain technology has been around for quite some time. It recently gained more interest as the technology behind cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain is useful for much more than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, though. One of the reasons cryptocurrencies use it is for its added security features.
Blockchain improves validity of data and offers heightened security over transactions. That’s good news for cryptocurrencies, but what does it mean for healthcare data storage?
In effect, it means better security. With blockchain, health data can be verified. That means it’s almost impossible to tamper with data.
Blockchain is also difficult to hack, which better protects your health data. Data transactions can also be verified, meaning it’s much easier to trace the source of a potential breach.
Perhaps best of all, blockchain doesn’t need to be used by itself. It can be added to storage systems to improve their security.
2. On-Premise Storage
One of the most common types of storage is on-site or on-premise storage. This is a system that your organization sets up in its own facilities.
In the past, on-premise storage was one of the only options available. It does have some distinct advantages. One is that you exercise complete control over the storage system.
That means you can determine the security protocols for the digital system. You also have more control over security at the physical location. On-premise storage can be faster, since the data doesn’t need to travel between networks.
Speed is only an advantage if the system is configured the right way, though. On-site storage often isn’t configured to run optimally. It also leaves your company with the bill for the infrastructure, such as servers and racks.
You’ll also need to pay the electricity bill to keep all that running, and even the space itself may represent a cost. You may need to renovate to provide proper cooling so servers don’t overheat and meltdown.
On-premise storage also means you need a team to manage it, which is another cost. It also means you have to have the right people and the right equipment. If you don’t, your security and data integrity could be compromised.
3. Cloud Data Storage for Healthcare
The opposite of on-premise storage is cloud storage. With cloud storage, you pay a provider to store your data on their servers. They take care of the infrastructure, the management, and the costs around keeping the data center running.
Few healthcare professionals think of the cloud as an appropriate storage place. After all, public clouds may not provide the right security for sensitive health information. You may also be worried about turning data over to a third party or about the infrastructure.
The solution here is to adopt a private cloud, not a public cloud. A private cloud is more like on-premise storage, in that you have dedicated storage. You’re not sharing space with the provider’s other clients.
It also allows you to make better use of the resources. In some cases, you’ll have more control over the infrastructure as well, such as security protocols or particular server hardware.
Not sure cloud storage is right for your organization? Learn about public vs private cloud security, and you might be convinced otherwise.
4. Hybrid Storage Systems in Healthcare
Perhaps the best solution for healthcare providers is hybrid data storage. This gives you the best of both the cloud and on-premise storage.
You get all the advantages of on-premise storage, plus the advantages of the private cloud. This also helps you meet the 3-2-1 rule for data storage. Using this rule, you should:
- Keep three copies of your data
- Use two separate media formats
- Have at least one off-site storage location
The cloud covers this last recommendation. Storing both on-premise and in the cloud could also meet requirements for two different formats. It leaves you just one copy short of meeting the three copies rule.
Using both on-premise and cloud storage together can help you take advantage of the efficiencies in both systems as well. You may notice lower costs than if you went all on-site. You may also see better security than if you went all-cloud.
Finally, using both helps you prepare for disaster recovery. In short, your data is best protected when you use a hybrid storage system.
5. Flash Storage for Healthcare Data
Flash data storage devices have recently become much more popular in healthcare. These devices can be electrically programmed and erased.
Their benefits include low cost and increased uptime. They offer instant access to data. These advantages have made them more popular in recent years.
They could also help you work toward the 3-2-1 rule in a hybrid system.
Stay on Top of Healthcare Trends
Data storage and overall data management are going to be hot topics for healthcare organizations in the next few years. Get ahead of the curve and start thinking about better data storage options now.
Healthcare is changing, and your organization needs to change right alongside it. Stay up to date with all the latest news and trends by checking in with us often. Our informative articles will help you make smarter decisions for your organization.