Monday, October 7, 2013

Google Expanding role in Health Information Technology

 

Google Offers HIPAA Business Associate Agreements for Google Apps

Monday, October 7, 2013

Last month, Google announced that a HIPAA business associate agreement for Google Apps is available, TechRepublic reports.

Details of Business Associate Agreement

The business associate agreement applies only to certain Google App services, such as:

  • Gmail;
  • Google Calendar;
  • Google Drive; and
  • Google Apps Vault.

To sign up, a health care organization administrator must answer three online questions:

  • Are you a covered entity (or business associate of a covered entity) under HIPAA?;
  • Will you be using Google Apps in connection with protected health information?; and
  • Are you authorized to request and agree to a business associate agreement with Google for your Google Apps domain?

After responding to the questions, the health care administrator will be taken to the online business associate agreement (Wolber, TechRepublic, 10/2).

Implications

According to Health IT Security, the business associate agreement could help remove a barrier for some health care organizations to adopt Google applications, particularly for smaller organizations that use fewer Google App services.

However, for larger organizations that use more than Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive as part of their cloud services package, the Google business associate agreement will likely not have a significant effect, Health IT Security reports (Ouellette, Health IT Security, 10/3). 

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