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The Catalyst

Box, Approved Cloud Storage System now on MUSC campus

By Melanie Richardson
OCIO communications coordinator

The ability to collaborate on patient care while ensuring patient data remains safe and secure is a constant challenge.  MUSC employees need to be able to share information with both MUSC and non-MUSC users, and they want something that’s easy to learn and use.  

Cloud–based storage solutions have become the popular answer to these problems because they are convenient and easy to access.  However, we have to balance our collaboration needs with the ethical and moral duty to protect the privacy and security of patient information. Many users unintentionally compromise the safety of patient data when using online cloud services.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA must comply with the Rules' requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information . . . If a covered entity engages a business associate to help it carry out its health care activities and functions, the covered entity must have a written business associate contract or other arrangement with the business associate . . . In addition to these contractual obligations, business associates are directly liable for compliance with certain provisions of the HIPAA Rules.”

According to Matt Jones, cyber security analyst for OCIO, this agreement, referred to as a Business Associate Agreement, ensures that “the business associate is under the same federal requirements to protect [patient] data as the covered entity.”

To ensure that patient data is always protected, it is very important that protected data is only stored on cloud services that have entered into a BAA with MUSC. Currently, the only cloud based storage system that has done this is box.

What is the MUSC user’s experience with Box?  Chad Higgins, Clinical Education manager for the Clinical Education Support Team in the College of Health Professions, tested Box’s effectiveness with his team.   

A large portion of what his team does is dedicated to sending clinical packets to rotation sites. The team sends approximately 1,000 packets over the course of a calendar year.

Because many of the rotation sites are non-MUSC, they were in need of a system that would allow them to efficiently communicate with sites that do not have MUSC credentials.  They found that Box effectively met their needs.

Higgins said he prefers Box to other file–sharing systems. “Box has the ability to adjust to the needs of multiple teams with varying needs, much more so than other file sharing software I’ve explored. I have been pleased to see that Box is very user friendly, especially since I am not very tech savvy. In searching for file sharing software, one of the biggest criteria was ease of use not only for my team but for the sites receiving information from us.”

Some of the pros and cons his team identified are listed in the table to the right.

For more information on Box, including how to obtain access, visit the OCIO web page at


August 24, 2015



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