How Google Can Enable HIPAA and CMMS Compliance for Healthcare Organizations

The modern workplace is evolving, fueled by the acceleration of remote work solutions in the wake of COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, only 6% of US employees worked remotely full-time. At the height of the pandemic, more than half of the US workforce worked from home.

This shift from working in-office to a work-from-home environment impacted a variety of industries, including healthcare.

While remote work offers numerous advantages, it also poses challenges related to compliance with the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH).

These challenges include:

HIPAA and HITECH requirements are applicable in both in-person and remote settings, and remote workers are expected to meet the same level of security as if they were in the office.

Google Cloud offers solutions for healthcare organizations that are designed to provide secure, continuous patient care while protecting healthcare data with multi-layered security and privacy controls.

In this article, we’ll explore these solutions and how they help organizations remain compliant with HIPAA, HITECH, and other healthcare regulations while managing a remote or hybrid workforce.

Control Access to Protected Health Information

Only authorized individuals should be able to access and handle PHI. When working remotely, there are several technical safeguards to keep PHI inaccessible to unauthorized individuals:

Google Workspace for healthcare organizations supports HIPAA compliance and protects PHI. Through the Google Admin console, healthcare IT administrators can limit which services are available to different user groups, allowing employees to access only the PHI relevant to their job function.

Administrators can also use the Google Admin console to monitor usage and examine potential security threats. Audit logs and security reports increase visibility into a healthcare organization’s data access and

ensure that employees are taking appropriate security precautions.

These reports provide detailed information related to key metrics, such as:

Administrators can also receive alerts related to suspicious login activity to stay on top of potential security threats.

Protect Data through Endpoint Management

PHI and other healthcare data must be protected on all endpoint devices, including those on -site and those used in remote work applications. Google endpoint management gives users access to Google Workspace services with administrator-controlled settings to keep device contents safe and secure.

Administrators can manage all endpoint devices from the Google Admin console. This includes the ability to enforce passwords and wipe devices or accounts to keep data secure. Endpoint management applies to Android, iOS/macOS, and Windows devices, protecting data across numerous device types.

Despite the popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) policies in healthcare, the use of personal devices raises significant data security concerns, including:

To boost productivity while enhancing security, many healthcare organizations have turned to Google Chromebooks.

Chromebooks provide a compromise between time lost at fixed workstations and the risk of HIPAA violations caused by accessing sensitive data from a personal device. Files, electronic health records (EHRs), and other healthcare tools are stored in the cloud rather than the device, giving healthcare workers 24/7 access to the information they need.

Chromebooks also provide automatic backups to the cloud, making it easy to locate relevant data quickly, with minimal disruption to patient care.

Improve Performance with Streamlined CMMS Data

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) simplifies the maintenance of an organization’s assets and equipment. The solution helps personnel schedule maintenance, handle work orders, and generate accurate reports for audits.

In healthcare, these solutions help healthcare organizations improve the patient care environment by acting as a centralized database that holds information related to medical equipment, facilities, and personnel.

Google Cloud enhances CMMS data collection by centralizing information from diverse sources. Everyone from healthcare providers to maintenance personnel has cloud-based access to assets, equipment, schedules, procedures, and more.

Many legacy CMMS systems do not integrate with other healthcare systems, which leads to siloed data. With data analytics tools from Google such as Looker, information is streamlined and integrated across a multi-cloud environment that connects an organization’s CMMS to the reliability and security of Google Cloud.

Healthcare organizations can also benefit from visualized insights across their assets, environment, and workforce. This helps shift the focus away from reactive maintenance to proactive insights based on machine learning and predictive modeling.

Numerous types of medical equipment and devices are used to enhance patient diagnoses, treatment, and monitoring. Healthcare systems spend around $93 billion a year on lifecycle costs for medical equipment.

Effectively managing the maintenance of such equipment influences the quality of care delivered and impacts the equipment’s performance, availability, and safety.

The HIPAA Security Rule includes administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure the ongoing protection of PHI. The physical safeguards address the protection of all systems, equipment, and data within a healthcare organization. This includes the need for routine maintenance checks and documentation of any repairs or changes made.

With cloud-based access to tools like Google Sheets and Google Drive, healthcare personnel can take an active role in identifying safety risks and recurring challenges. This not only enhances the reliability of a facility’s maintenance program, but it also eliminates the risk of citations, fines, and malpractice lawsuits stemming from the failure of critical assets.

Enhance Google Solutions with Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

Chromebooks can be highly effective devices for healthcare organizations. They work seamlessly with Google Cloud solutions for healthcare and store all files in the HIPAA-compliant cloud platform.

Chromebooks can also help increase healthcare staff mobility because employees do not need to go to a fixed workstation to enter patient data or wait for the device to boot up (Chromebooks boot up in 10 seconds or less).

Despite their numerous benefits, Chromebooks have a key drawback: They cannot run full-featured and legacy Windows applications.

Parallels® Desktop for Chrome OS brings the best of Windows and Chrome OS together on Chrome Enterprise devices, including Chromebooks. This ensures that healthcare professionals have all the tools they need to provide the best possible patient care.

With Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS, users can run Microsoft Office and other Windows applications directly on a Chrome Enterprise device, with or without an internet connection.

This “always-on” access makes it easy to switch between Chrome OS and Windows, print from Windows to supported printers, and drag and drop text and files between the two systems.

Learn more about how Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS can benefit healthcare organizations.