Virtual Data Rooms in Healthcare: Their Impact on Medical Data Security and Top Use Cases

Updated: Aug 22 ‘23 Published: Jul 25 ‘22 23 min read

Have you heard about the February 2023 cyberattack on Community Health Systems (CHS)? The breach resulted in the compromise of personal and health information for up to one million patients, highlighting the dire consequences that can arise when data security measures fall short.

The incident magnifies the need for healthcare organizations to not only have stringent cybersecurity measures in place but also to engage in continuous monitoring, vulnerability assessments, and prompt response mechanisms proactively. By doing so, the industry can fortify its defenses against evolving cyber threats and better safeguard the sensitive patient data entrusted to its care.

In this article, we delve into the crucial software solution of the healthcare virtual data room, shedding light on how these secure digital environments are revolutionizing medical data management.

data room for life sciences

Understanding the need for VDRs in healthcare and life sciences

Healthcare institutions operate within a realm that demands confidential document protection, seamless collaboration, and stringent compliance with regulations. Virtual data rooms (VDRs) emerge as an ideal solution to address specific life science needs, offering a robust platform that caters to the unique challenges of the healthcare sector.

Based on our observations, at the core of healthcare operations lies the management of massive volumes of sensitive documents which involve patient data.

Additionally, the healthcare sector is governed by a complex network of rules and conformity benchmarks. Examples include HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the US and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe.

The utilization of virtual data rooms in healthcare aids in complying with these regulations through features like encryption, access management, and audit trails. These features not only enable healthcare institutions to meet compliance requirements but also provide a tangible demonstration of their commitment to data protection.

Moreover, the threat of data breaches looms large in the healthcare sector. As we mentioned, the sensitive nature of patient data makes healthcare institutions prime targets for cyberattacks.

Virtual data rooms incorporate advanced security measures, including two-factor authentication, secure file sharing, encryption, and other data room features to fortify defenses against potential breaches. These measures significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access or data leakage.

Why do life sciences and healthcare companies choose virtual data rooms?

Life sciences and healthcare companies choose virtual data rooms for several compelling reasons:

Easy setup

Virtual data rooms have a user-friendly interface and automated functions, such as automatic index numbering when uploading files, making it easier to set up and integrate a VDR into daily business operations.

Confidentiality

Life sciences and healthcare companies heavily rely on intellectual property, such as patents, research data, and proprietary formulas.

Virtual data rooms safeguard this intellectual property by providing controlled access, preventing unauthorized sharing or theft.

Healthcare VDRs, like data rooms for law firms, ensure high-level security and customizable user permissions, which decrease human error, i.e., the accidental sharing of sensitive information with the wrong parties.

HIPAA compliance

To ensure patient privacy is being protected, look for a virtual data room provider whose service is backed by HIPAA certification and complies with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard.

Document and user tracking

Document control is vital in these industries to maintain accuracy and traceability. Virtual data rooms offer version control features, ensuring that the most up-to-date and accurate information is accessible to authorized users.

On-site partner collaboration

In these industries, collaboration is essential for successful research, clinical trials, and patient care. Virtual data rooms facilitate the seamless sharing of highly sensitive data, documents, and insights among research teams, medical professionals, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders.

This accelerates decision-making processes, streamlines communication, and supports collaborative research efforts.

24/7 support

Life science organizations typically run simultaneous projects, including fundraising, sensitive data protection, drug development, and manufacturing and distribution (M&D) deals. Dealing with technical or IT issues should be hassle-free.

Security

Life sciences organizations require tools that ensure the highest security of valuable information while data sharing. It’s especially important for the complex due diligence process. The virtual data room provides the industry’s most advanced security controls for managing data room user access and permissions. Most sensitive information is encrypted and under the constant control of secure software.

Auditing and reporting

Virtual data rooms offer detailed audit trails and reporting capabilities, essential for regulatory audits, compliance assessments, and internal reviews. This transparency enhances accountability and facilitates the tracking of document access and changes.

How to prepare a virtual data room for life science partnering

For better navigation, it’s good to have a specific folder structure for a life sciences data room. It’s  a good starting point for when a potential partner or licensee is ready to begin negotiations. Drawing on our own experience, we’ve compiled a list of essential folders for a virtual data room to maintain effective and secure life sciences data security:

  1. Company overview
    • Company profile: A brief overview of the company’s history, mission, and values.
    • Mission and vision statements: Clearly define the organization’s goals and aspirations.
    • Organizational structure: Details the key departments, teams, and their roles.
  2. Intellectual Property
    • Patents and patent applications: Records of registered patents and pending applications.
    • Trademarks and copyrights: Documentation for trademarks and copyrighted materials.
    • Licensing agreements: Agreements detailing the licensing of intellectual property.
    • IP valuation reports: Assessments of the value of intellectual property.
  3. Research and development
    • Research proposals: Plans outlining research objectives, methodologies, and goals.
    • Experimental protocols: Detailed procedures for conducting experiments.
    • Recorded observations, hypotheses, and experimental results.
    • Research findings and data: Collected data, analyses, and conclusions.
  4. Clinical trials
    • Clinical trial protocols: Comprehensive plans to conduct clinical studies.
    • Informed consent forms: Documents outlining patient consent and trial information.
    • Investigator brochures: Comprehensive information for trial investigators.
  5. Regulatory submissions
    • FDA submissions: Documentation submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.
    • EMA submissions: Documentation submitted to the European Medicines Agency.
    • Regulatory correspondence: Communication with regulatory authorities.
  6. Financial information and investment overview
    • Financial statements: Income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
    • Budgets and projections: Financial forecasts and projected budgets.
    • Funding history: Historical data on funding sources and investments.
    • Investor presentations: Documents for investor communication and presentations.
    • Investment overview including a confidential deck, a non-confidential deck, and perhaps a folder with specially crafted Q&A responses for a specific business.
  7. Partnership and licensing
    • Partnership proposals: Proposals for collaborations and partnerships.
    • Licensing agreements: Contracts detailing terms of intellectual property licensing.
    • Collaboration contracts: Agreements for joint projects and collaborations.
    • Due diligence documentation: Information provided for due diligence processes.
  8. Clinical data management
    • Patient data anonymization policies: Protocols for patient data protection.
    • Data collection forms: Forms used for collecting patient data during trials.
    • Data monitoring committee reports: Reports from committees overseeing data integrity.
    • Data validation and analysis reports: Reports on data validation and statistical analysis.
  9. Legal and contracts
    • Legal agreements: Contracts related to various legal matters.
    • Contracts with vendors and suppliers: Agreements with external partners.
    • Non-disclosure agreements: Contracts safeguarding sensitive information.
    • Regulatory compliance agreements: Agreements related to regulatory adherence.
  10. Contact information
    • Contact information for queries: Points of contact for inquiries and support.
    • Technical support resources: Information for technical assistance and troubleshooting.

Customizing this folder structure with succinct descriptions facilitates ease of use and understanding for anyone navigating the virtual data room in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.

Challenges in implementing VDRs in healthcare

Implementing a virtual data room system in healthcare settings comes with its own set of challenges, but these can be mitigated through careful planning and strategic approaches:

  • Data security and compliance concerns. Choose a VDR provider with a strong track record in healthcare security and compliance. Encrypt data, implement strict access controls, and conduct regular security audits.
  • Cost and resource allocation. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to justify the investment. Choose a data room solution that aligns with the budget and offers scalability for evolving needs.
  • Technology adoption and training. Offer comprehensive training sessions tailored to different user groups. Provide user-friendly interfaces and ongoing support to address any concerns.
  • Integration with existing systems. Collaborate closely with IT teams and VDR providers to ensure smooth integration. Application programming interface (API) capabilities and interoperability standards help streamline this process.
  • User access and permissions. Develop a detailed access control strategy based on roles and responsibilities. Regularly review and update permissions as staff roles change.
  • Vendor selection. Choosing the right VDR provider that meets healthcare’s unique needs can be challenging. Evaluate potential vendors based on their experience in healthcare, security measures, compliance track record, scalability, and customer support.

Top use cases of data rooms in the life science and healthcare

Regardless of the project, biotech and pharmaceutical companies work with an enormous amount of data and paperwork. Considering that data rooms offer extensive document management and security features, virtual data room software has many uses in life science. Here are some examples of how to use a virtual data room for specific situations: 

Clinical trials

Organize all documentation and files, effectively communicate with clinical research service providers directly on the platform, and upload, review, and share reports in a centralized virtual workspace.

Data room for biotech IPO

Go through all IPO stages more efficiently and save resources. Use advanced Q&A for fast and effective communication.

Create multiple teams, including legal, financial, and executive, and set appropriate access to documents for each team.

Fundraising

There are 7,000+ rare diseases that affect 8%–10% of the global population.

Getting funding to develop cures for these rare diseases is a tough task. Use a healthcare data room to disclose confidential information with potential investors while keeping trade secrets, intellectual property, and other information secure.

Licensing and partnering

Speed up due diligence for licensing and partnering with a data room without jeopardizing data security. Having all the necessary information in a virtual workspace expands the reach in the global market and allows negotiating with multiple stakeholders simultaneously.

Accelerating R&D

Virtual data room features like drag-and-drop upload, bulk upload, index numbering, and labels speeds up R&D and makes it easier to analyze large data pools. Progress reports are easier to create and review with automated reports.

Intellectual property protection

Data rooms provide a secure platform to share intellectual property documentation with potential partners, investors, or licensing entities, ensuring that sensitive data remains protected during negotiations.

Partnership and licensing agreements

Life science companies often partner with other entities for research collaborations or to license their technologies. Virtual data rooms enable the exchange of confidential information, research proposals, technology portfolios, and contractual agreements while maintaining data security and confidentiality.

Medical device development

Virtual data rooms guarantee secure data sharing in life sciences, ensuring that all involved parties can access precise and current data. This enhances transparency and fosters better collaboration.

Healthcare data exchange

Virtual data rooms play a critical role in securely sharing, managing, and collaborating on sensitive and confidential information within the highly regulated and data-sensitive landscape of the life science and healthcare industries.

Top-tier virtual data rooms in the life sciences sector

We’ve conducted a study in search of the best virtual data rooms that provide secure file sharing for banks, healthcare, life sciences, and other business sectors. 

Our investigation shows that there are three leading VDR software companies that serve the needs of the healthcare sector. These are Datasite, Onehub, and iDeals virtual data rooms.

Here’s a quick comparison:

iDeals
award
  • Access controls
  • Built-in viewer
  • Full-text search
  • Auto-indexing
  • Customizable branding
  • Advanced Q&A
  • In-app live chat support 24/7
  • 30-second chat response time
Visit Website
Dealroom
  • Access controls
  • Built-in viewer
  • Full-text search
  • Auto-indexing
  • Customizable branding
  • Advanced Q&A
  • In-app live chat support 24/7
  • 30-second chat response time
View Profile
Citrix
  • Access controls
  • Built-in viewer
  • Full-text search
  • Auto-indexing
  • Customizable branding
  • Advanced Q&A
  • In-app live chat support 24/7
  • 30-second chat response time
View Profile
Box
  • Access controls
  • Built-in viewer
  • Full-text search
  • Auto-indexing
  • Customizable branding
  • Advanced Q&A
  • In-app live chat support 24/7
  • 30-second chat response time
View Profile
Intralinks
  • Access controls
  • Built-in viewer
  • Full-text search
  • Auto-indexing
  • Customizable branding
  • Advanced Q&A
  • In-app live chat support 24/7
  • 30-second chat response time
View Profile

These top-tier VDR providers offer healthcare organizations in the life sciences sector secure and feature-rich platforms for managing sensitive data, collaborating effectively, and complying with stringent regulatory requirements.

Key takeaways

  1. Virtual data rooms are revolutionizing medical data management by providing secure digital environments tailored to the unique challenges of the healthcare sector.
  2. Virtual data rooms help healthcare institutions adhere to regulations like HIPAA and GDPR by providing encryption, access controls, and audit trails, demonstrating a commitment to data protection.
  3. Datasite, Onehub, and iDeals are top-tier VDR providers in the healthcare industry, offering secure platforms for sensitive data management, collaboration, and compliance.
  4. Healthcare organizations should allocate resources to VDRs, giving precedence to strong encryption, multi-factor authentication, and frequent security updates.

FAQ

VDRs can be used in the field of life sciences as a platform for the smooth management of transactions in the sector. Typically, life science organizations use the platform for mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, fundraising, intellectual property licensing and management, biotechnology licensing, and regulatory communications.
Typically, life sciences and healthcare companies share via virtual data rooms the following data: corporate overview, commercial strategy, investment overview, clinical and preclinical programs, intellectual property rights, and regulatory requirements.
Virtual data rooms secure sensitive healthcare data complying with international data protection standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 1/2/3, and ISO 27001. VDR's security mechanisms include data encryption, watermarks, granular permission settings, time and IP restrictions, remote shredding, fence view, activity tracking, and multi-factor authentication.

Elisa
Cline

Marketing specialist at datarooms.org

Elisa is a marketing specialist with 15 years of experience. She worked for many VDR brands and gained insider knowledge of the industry.

At DataRooms.org, Elisa conducts marketing research, develops content plans, supervises content teams, and develops VDR review methodology. She envisions her mission as distributing accurate knowledge of virtual data rooms.

“My mission is to deliver accurate and relevant knowledge of virtual data rooms to as many people as possible.”

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