September 13, 2019

Requirements for Healthcare Providers to Consider When Deploying a CRM

Requirements for Healthcare Providers to Consider When Deploying a CRM

When deploying a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, there are many things that an organization must consider. CRM technology allows companies to manage relationships and store data relating to both current and future customers, but for healthcare companies security and confidentiality are of the utmost importance. While many companies address their needs through traditional cloud-based SaaS offerings, the healthcare vertical specifically is expected to adhere to the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the laws that govern protected health information (PHI). In order to meet these specified requirements customer data must be deployed in an environment that offers data encryption both at rest and in transit, strong role and team permissions, and an audit table that tracks and stores information on accessed health records for a specified retention period. Consulting with the right technology professional can help in addressing compliance

When architecting a data encryption solution that protects valuable and sensitive client records network security controls must be carefully considered. Whether the data is stored, or transmitted over the internet, both must be protected from unauthorized users and malicious employee activity. This can be accomplished with the proper network infrastructure, system permissions, and data security policies and processes that are customized at the organizational level. In addition, tailored workflows and roles streamline operations and enhance security measures. Data protection can be further improved with the added configuration of automated actions based on file activity and internal access requirements.  

Applying Network Access Control (NAC), antivirus and antimalware software, firewalls, and utilizing virtual private networks are all components of network security. Many organizations have found additional value in segmenting frontend and backend services so that client information stored within the organizations database is protected by additional security measures and limited access. 

One of the ways to achieve this is through the implementation of a hybrid solution utilizing highly customizable platforms like SugarCRM Enterprise (private cloud deployment), in combination with Amazon Web Services (AWS) HIPAA-eligible services located in Tier IV US datacenters. This allows leading healthcare organizations to meet stringent requirements without the costly overhead and inflexibility of traditional healthcare CRM offerings. With this approach, growing small to mid-sized healthcare organizations are able to benefit from the scalability features inherent to SugarCRM Enterprise using a multi-tier architecture, while larger enterprise organizations are able to easily support thousands of users. No matter the size of the organization, SugarCRM’s expansive feature set offers unlimited customization, user friendly functionality, and highly sought after external service integration.  

Built on open standards and technology such as HTML5, PHP, and JavaScript, SugarCRM runs on a variety of commonly used and readily available open-source technologies like Linux, MySQL, and Elasticsearch. The SugarCRM platform also supports common proprietary databases such as Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server. Expansive API’s available using either REST or SOAP protocols offer full programmatic access to organizations requiring automation across their applications. SugarCRM Enterprise offers the additional benefit of allowing organizations to control when and how platform upgrades are performed based on individual security and operational requirements.

In combination with SugarCRM Enterprise (private cloud deployment), AWS HIPAA-eligible services allow healthcare organizations to meet HIPAA requirements for auditing, back-ups, and disaster recovery. Which per Amazon, allows covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA to securely process, store, and transmit PHI. Additionally, AWS, as of July 2013, offers a standardized Business Associate Addendum (BAA) for such customers. 

There are many HIPAA-eligible services to choose from on the Amazon Platform. As displayed in Polar Strategy’s SugarCRM HIPAA reference architecture, Polar Strategy has found success for multiple customers using Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancing, Elastic File System and ElasticSearch features. In combination with ElastiCache for Redis and RDS, customers are easily able to not only access and transmit data securely using a SugarCRM interface, but also as previously mentioned, have the added benefit of scalability they grow. This diagram provides a base architecture which can be customized and scaled based on the personalized requirements of the healthcare organization.

With personal data being more vulnerable than ever before, it is critical that those in the healthcare industry deploy solutions with the data confidentiality in mind. As a healthcare provider, patient data is an invaluable tool that enables the personalization of treatment and concise communication amongst medical staff. With an influx of new patients and ever-changing data, SugarCRM Enterprise gives organizations a secure solution that assists in protecting both the patient and healthcare provider by organizing, securing, transmitting and displaying data in a user-friendly way. Customizing a hybrid solution with AWS HIPAA-eligible services offers scalability, relevant and useful workflows, and secure transmission of client data.  

Polar Strategy provides its customers with cutting-edge consultative implementation and integration services and support within healthcare networks. By maintaining stringent network and security access control policies, leveraging best of breed industry tools to manage code and deployment, and providing fully segmented and secure US based certified SugarCRM resources, Polar Strategy is a trusted and compliant BAA signatory and SugarCRM integration partner. Leading healthcare organizations have leveraged Polar Strategy’s unique industry experience to support thousands of healthcare professionals and secure patient data throughout the US since 2016. 

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