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Q&A: Kaiser Permanente's CIO on Technology's Role in Redefining Healthcare

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2013

Cloud technology has great promise and potential. I think we still have some work to do to really make it ironclad, in terms of the kind of security we all would expect. This isn't financial information. You lose a credit card number, you get a new credit card number, and you can manage the damage of that. If you lose personal health information, that has a longstanding effect.

So I believe we have to actually hold the technology community to a higher standard when it comes to personal health information, and inside Kaiser Permanente, I feel I have the ability, with my team, to truly manage the security of that. I won't say it's perfect, but I'd say we're very, very diligent.

HealthLeaders: Even Kaiser's had a breach or two.

Fasano: We have historically, but we've actually been really proactive in buttoning up our capabilities, so that no one in Kaiser Permanente, for example, can leave the institution with your medical information unless it's completely encrypted, and for the purpose of treatment.

They're not taking it and just running around willy-nilly with medical information on our patients. In fact, they have to be the person who's supposed to be accessing your information, and two, if they try to put it in a form that's transportable, we don't allow them to take it anywhere unless we've encrypted that information fully.

HealthLeaders: There is kind of a continuum though, between what you do in your data centers and then the private cloud things I hear about, like the Perot Systems that Dell bought, that is being used to run the data centers of 200 hospitals in a private cloud.

Fasano: Yes.

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