Independence Health taps ClearDATA for cloud security

Independence Health Group has expended its use of the cloud and has joined with healthcare data security compliance company ClearDATA to enhance data security.

Independence Health Group has expended its use of the cloud and has joined with healthcare data security compliance company ClearDATA to enhance data security.

Under the partnership, Independence, a Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee and the largest health insurer in the Philadelphia area, layered ClearDATA’s security on top of Amazon Web Services AI Cloud Services technology.

“Over the last few years, health insurance companies of all sizes have been under increasing pressure to meet the expectations of today’s digital consumer, but they are challenged by regulations, rising costs and lack of security preparedness for mobile apps and cloud based technologies,” says Scott Whyte, chief strategy officer at ClearDATA. Healthcare organizations want to use “solutions that make it easier to limit risk, manage compliance and still use powerful, native cloud-based products to improve member services.”

Recent surveys have shown that consumer demand for better and digital engagement opportunities, and the advent of value-based care is driving more health plans to adopt the cloud for data storage. However, many payers remain unsure of how to protect their data assets on the cloud, Whyte says.

ClearDATA partners with Amazon, Google and Microsoft, but these cloud providers “can only do so much by way of security, and they leave the rest up to the user,” Whyte says. Health plans either try to cover the security gap by partnering with a specialist or by doing it themselves, he adds.

AWS and the other cloud providers offer learning tools for security, “but they don’t commit to teaching you how to put ‘the Lego blocks’ together. In essence, they say, ‘here’s the recipe; but if you don’t follow it, we’re not accountable.’ ClearDATA takes legal contractual risk for privacy and security. We become a part of an ecosystem of specialists protecting the data,” Whyte says.

Clouds continually change, according to Whyte. Last year, Amazon made more than 2,000 updates. Sometimes it’s hard for mid-sized payers to keep up, he says.

Healthcare payers have provided financial backing for ClearDATA. In November 2018, a group of venture capitalists funded ClearDATA with $26 million to expand product innovation, enhance customer success and to continue its high growth trajectory. Humana and Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, were included among those backing ClearDATA. Returning investors included Norwest Venture Partners, Merck GHIF, Excel Venture Management, Heritage Group, HLM Venture Partner and Flare Capital Partners.

“At Humana, we are leveraging contemporary technology and infrastructure to advance our integrated care delivery model. Increasingly, we are using the computing and analytic power and scalability of the public cloud to accelerate our ability to deliver better outcomes and experiences to our members and providers,” says Brian LeClaire, chief information officer at Humana. “That is why we chose to be both a customer of, and investor in, ClearDATA.”

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