Virginia Tech faculty and staff may now process and store electronic protected health information (ePHI) in Virginia Tech’s G Suite for Education. 

Protected health information is data that is managed and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and is subject to special regulations and restrictions. 

Collaborative Computing Solutions and the Division of Information Technology negotiated with Google to get a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) that secured the added level of security for Virginia Tech’s G Suite for Education to become a HIPAA-compliant environment.

Please be aware that HIPAA compliance extends only to Virginia Tech’s G Suite for Education environment. Third party integrations, such as Form Mule, may not be compliant and should not be used to process ePHI, even within G Suite, until their compliance is verified. Please contact Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance (SIRC) for more information. 

Before using G Suite to store ePHI, know your responsibilities! 

If you intend to use Virginia Tech’s G Suite for Education to process and store ePHI, please be sure that you understand your responsibilities before you begin. You will be required to: 

  • Understand your obligation to keep ePHI confidential and to protect patient privacy
  • Know and comply with state and federal regulations regarding the use of ePHI
  • Know and comply with all relevant university policies and procedures  
  • Ensure you have approval to create, receive, maintain, or transmit the ePHI from Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance (SIRC) and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
  • Limit access to the data only to those who are approved by SIRC or OSP 
  • Complete a Privacy and Research Data Protections Consultation and required training  
  • Report any unusual, suspect, or intentionally malicious activity regarding the G Suite environment to the Information Technology Security Office (ITSO) immediately upon discovery

For more information, please see the 4Help Knowledge Base article on Virginia Tech's Electronic Protected Health Information Shared Governance. If you have any questions or concerns about using Virginia Tech’s G Suite for Education to process or store ePHI, please submit a 4Help ticket online or by phone at 540-231-4357.