Security Services Providers Target HIPAA-Affected Organizations

WeAreHIPAA to use FASTNET as its exclusive data center provider

Looking to capitalize on the needs of companies regulated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), broadband services provider FASTNET Corporation has reached a reseller agreement with WeAreHIPAA.

Under terms of the deal, FASTNET Corporation will be the exclusive data center provider to WeAreHIPAA, which offers security, e-learning, and other services to HIPAA-affected organizations. Through FASTNET, WeAreHIPAA will now be able to give its customers the option to host elements of their IT infrastructure in an environment that is in compliance with the security parameters of HIPAA.

In order to prepare its data center for HIPAA compliance, FASTNET worked with an independent auditor. The auditor verified FASTNET’s encryption, authentication, alarm notification systems, and audit trail reporting against HIPAA requirements.

Gartner Inc., which has been conducting an ongoing study of HIPAA compliance, indicated in its latest report on the regulation that while the healthcare industry as a whole has made major progress toward HIPAA, “many of the tasks that remain will be difficult to achieve, and full compliance by the deadlines is unlikely.”

As such, the partnership between FASTNET and WeAreHIPAA could prove helpful to healthcare organizations struggling to bring certain portions of their IT infrastructure in line with HIPAA before the fast approaching deadlines.

Sonny Hunt, executive vice president of FASTNET, says, “As more deadlines continue to come up on the healthcare industry, we see this as a great opportunity for us over the next six to eight months.”

However, the deadline for security—the component of HIPAA for which FASTNET’s services have been validated—has not yet been set, and is somewhat less urgent from a healthcare organization’s perspective than the privacy and the transaction and code set (TCS) deadlines, which are scheduled for April and October 2003, respectively.

Still, Hunt is expecting that FASTNET’s status as a HIPAA-compliant data center will open significant revenue streams. “Everything that we’re seeing in terms of dollars that are going to be spent on HIPAA compliance, we’re looking at something like what the world went through with the year 2000 bug.”

According to Gartner, HIPAA compliance will cost each payer organizations more than $14 million, and each provider organization more than $5 million.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.