Since Paubox is a Business Associate to thousands of customers, we’ve been wondering if they are able to use Trello in a HIPAA compliant manner. In fact, we've noticed more vendors, customers, and prospects asking about HIPAA compliant services. This is especially true now as we see an accelerated, long overdue adoption of digital transformation in healthcare.
We know the HIPAA industry is vast, so we can empathize with just how many people need to use cloud services in this sector. Today we will determine if Trello offers HIPAA compliant service or not.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards. In a single glance, Trello reveals what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. It was originally developed by Fog Creek Software in 2011, then spun out into a separate company in 2014. In 2017, it was acquired by Atlassian. The company is based in New York City.
What is a Business Associate?
A Business Associate is a person or company that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) for a Covered Entity. In a nutshell, the role of a Business Associate is to help Covered Entities comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule
Read full article: What does it mean to be a Business Associate?
Business Associate Agreement provisions
If a Business Associate provides services to a Covered Entity, then a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) must be in place. A BAA is a written contract between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate and is required by law for HIPAA compliance. At a minimum, a Business Associate Agreement contains 10 provisions.
Read full article: Business Associate Agreement Provisions
Trello and the Business Associate AgreementSince Trello is now part of Atlassian, we checked the Atlassian site for mention of their ability to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). We found the following page that was quite insightful:
- Atlassian defines Protected Health Information (PHI) as “Sensitive Personal Information”
- As per Section 5.3, No Prohibited Sensitive Personal Information is allowed unless, "its processing is expressly supported as a feature of the applicable Cloud Product in the applicable Documentation."
- Trello documentation does not mention any support for storing PHI or HIPAA compliance
See Also: HIPAA Breaches and Cloud Providers
Does Trello offer HIPAA Compliant Service?The Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is a key component to HIPAA compliance between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate. We were able to learn the following about Trello and its owner Atlassian about their ability to be considered a HIPAA compliant solution:
- Atlassian defines PHI as "Sensitive Personal Information"
- Trello does not allow "Sensitive Personal Information" to be stored on its platform
- Atlassian will not sign a BAA on behalf of Trello
Conclusion: Trello is not a HIPAA compliant cloud service.