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How to Use MFT as a Workflow Automation Tool in Healthcare

Healthcare professional using MFT to consolidate and improve processes

When it comes to managed file transfer (MFT) solutions, organizations across industries find them valuable for policy enforcement, user access control and authorization, risk reduction, and more. And when it comes to HIPAA and HITECH requirements, MFT shines as a secure workflow automation tool.

MFT as a B2B Enabler

What makes MFT a perfect compliant file transfer tool for HIPAA? Besides security and centralization, MFT environments function as automation platforms that help companies streamline the secure transfer of data between business partners.

How MFT Works as an Automation Platform

Managed file transfer solutions like GoAnywhere MFT remove many of the configuration steps traditionally required for complex business-to-business (B2B) processes, keeping file transfer straightforward and manageable.

Transferring patient information is a logistics and security challenge that healthcare institutions face daily. Data security and formatting standards, established by laws like HIPAA and HITECH, are meant to simplify and secure this communication between healthcare institutions and their partners.

A common complaint among technical professionals about data formats and their variabilities is that they are both confusing and complex. Solutions like MFT can help transform and translate data between formats to reduce complexity, which has the added benefit of reducing human error and streamlining both incoming and outgoing file transfer workflows.

Related Reading: How Cloud Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

Soothing the Nightmares of Compliance

The HITECH regulations within HIPAA require the security and privacy of healthcare records, and strongly suggest the use of data encryption. These records may travel between various healthcare-related partners including hospitals, clinics, payment processors and insurers. Each partner may require their own unique data format, and each may prefer a different encryption technique or transport protocol.

Related Reading: Can HIPAA-Certified Solutions Really Guarantee Compliance?

Considering these differing requirements, adding each new trading partner has traditionally needed the attention of in-house programming or manual processes, which has become hugely inefficient. Furthermore, if the new trading partner is not implemented properly, this can also create the potential for errors that may lead to dropped transfers and last-minute fixes at best, or data exposures at worst. Any exposures could move the healthcare institution out of HIPAA/HITECH compliance and may cost them severely.

Simplifying and Integrating Information Transfer

An MFT solution can significantly reduce the potential for errors and automate those processes.

Related Reading: 4 Healthcare Organizations that Use Managed File Transfer

Set Up Encrypted Transfers Quickly

With a good MFT solution, any authorized personnel should be able to quickly build transfer configurations for each healthcare business partner. This allows for quick selection of strong encryption methods (e.g. Open PGP, SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS) based on the partner's requirements, so that HIPAA and HITECH data security requirements are maintained.

Audit and Report on Data Access and Use

At the same time, a MFT solution creates a visible audit trail to ensure that compliance is sustained. The first step is using a tool that limits user access based on their role. Then, use the auditing and reporting functionality to generate reports for audits or simply gain access to important system information.

Build Out Data Security Systems

But, perhaps just as important, a good managed file transfer solution is not the limit of a HIPAA data security strategy. There are three key tenets of data security that help organizations comply with data security requirements:

  • Understanding the data being collected, processed, and stored
  • Detecting and preventing gaps in security that could lead to data inadvertently leaving the organization
  • Securing and protecting the data being sharing internally and to external organizations

In fact, a good MFT solution is simply part of an organization’s secure data collection, transfer, and storage strategy. MFT doesn’t end with healthcare: its utility extends into manufacturing, finance, distribution, and more. MFT isn't a niche utility, but a productivity and automation tool that has myriad of uses in multiple B2B environments.

A Day-to-Day Technical Solution

Perhaps this is why third-party organizations have identified Managed File Transfer as one of the key technologies that will propel businesses in the coming years. MFT is more than just a utility suite: it's a system that can be utilized over and over as an integral part of an organization's solutions to automate and secure B2B relationships. In other words, MFT isn't just for specialized compliance requirements, but a lynchpin of efficient B2B communications technology that can bring real cost savings to every organization.

Discover How MFT Can Improve HIPAA Compliant File Transfer

See how a managed file transfer solution can help to meet HIPAA compliance requirements and simplify electronic data transfers in our guide, How MFT Addresses HIPAA Requirements for ePHI.

See how GoAnywhere MFT stacks up among MFT solutions. Get the Info-Tech Guide.

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