By Matthew Dublin
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's Biosense 2.0 program is using Amazon Web Service's GovCloud — an AWS Region designed to allow US government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements — and making a case for the use of the public cloud while adhering to HIPPA and HITECH privacy standards and security requirements in the process.
Biosense 2.0 is a program that tracks health problems as they evolve and provides public health officials with the data.
The multititular John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, CEO of MA-SHARE, Chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network, CIO of the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, and an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is singing the praises of the CDC's efforts using AWS GovCloud in a post on his blog.
Halamka is impressed with the CDC's efforts to create a national repository of syndromic surveillance data that follows all the requisite security methods, including Federal Information Security Management Act certification.
It appears that the CDC is the first government agency to complete all the necessary certification requirements for hosting health data in a public cloud. More to the point, they accomplished this task while making all the data easily accessible for both data submission by public health departments and multiple-platform enabled query software, such as R.
It's too early to tell if the CDC's methods will point the way forward for hosting genomes and electronic health care records on the public cloud, but their efforts might quell some skepticism about the public cloud being a feasible IT solution for personalized medicine.