Cloud storage service Box is diving deeper into the healthcare space. Today, the company shared that it has added 10 new healthcare application partners to its platform to help respond to industry-specific challenges. In addition, to further gain acceptance by companies in this space, Box is sharing that it is now both HIPAA and HITECH compliant and is signing Business Associate Agreements with its customers.

Dive into healthcare

With more than 600 healthcare and life science customers using Box, the company is looking at a future where it can play a key role in becoming one of the secure, content collaboration platforms for the industry.

Julie O’Brien, Box’s Industry Marketing Director, says that the healthcare space is one where the company is growing its footprint. She believes that not only will there be rapid adoption because of the belief that Box can handle the ongoing challenges surrounding privacy and information, but that it also provides teams with secure platforms to access protected health information.

This isn’t Box’s first foray into the healthcare space. In the past year, it has seen sales grow more than 81 percent in the industry, with organizations like the Henry Ford Health System, John Hopkins HealthCare Solutions, and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, signing up as customers.

New applications for healthcare companies to choose from

Box’s 10 new healthcare platform partners are essentially apps built leveraging the company’s API. Each app falls into one of four categories:

These 10 apps have always been in the healthcare space, targeting the systems or the physicians. But now, they have become a part of Box’s partner network meaning that they can leverage all the cloud-based features, like file sharing and document security right in the app.

Whitney Bouck, Box’s General Manager of Enterprise, says that with these new partner apps and security standards, Box could help “where it matters most: managing critical information, coordinating care, and driving productivity industry-wide.”

In order to help spur development of apps in the healthcare space, through its Box Innovation Network (/bin) created back in November 2011, the company made an investment in the drchrono app. O’Brien tells us that the company made the seed investment because drchrono is focused on transforming healthcare through the use of cloud and mobile solutions for physicians who are on the go.

Box is also supporting Doximity as well and has begun a promotion whereby any of the app’s online professional network of US physicians can sign up for 50GB of free space on Box. This offer isn’t everlasting and will expire on December 31, 2013.

Medical data and privacy protection

One of the reasons why Box is able to become so embedded in the healthcare space is because it is HIPAA and HITECH compliant. In doing so, it is deemed to have adhered to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ rules regarding protection of a person’s health information. By having these certifications, clinical researchers, healthcare systems, insurance providers, and others will feel more comfortable in using it. An icing on the cake is Box’s willingness to sign a Business Associate Agreement.

This compliance certification is not limited to just those healthcare companies — in fact, O’Brien tells us that all Box accounts, free, business, and enterprise, now support the agreement.

With the proliferation of the “consumerization of IT”, it’s not that difficult to believe that healthcare professionals like nurses or doctors would want to leverage Box’s services to pass along files to their colleagues or even patients. However, because of the very nature of the contents, legally, at least in the US, the data must have some guarantee that it won’t be shared with anyone without authorization.

Now that Box has the compliance and more apps in the space, it will be fascinating to see how the healthcare industry moves forward — will they innovate to help physicians and others do their jobs better or will it still resist all advances?

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images