Healthcare spending on cloud services is expected to grow to $9.5 billion by 2020. Chances are your organization is one of the 83% of healthcare organizations that are looking to advance your cloud infrastructure to increase efficiency, agility and profitability.
Healthcare and the Cloud
The cloud has already made an impact on the healthcare industry. According to the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics, the most common uses of the cloud for healthcare organizations are:
- Hosting of Clinical Applications and Data
- Health Information Exchange
- Backup and Data Recovery
- Hosting of HR applications and Data
- Hosting Financial Applications and Data
According to the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, healthcare organizations place a higher priority on increasing operational efficiencies, improving business processes and delivering business intelligence with analytics than the all-industries averages. The top reasons for the move to the cloud include improving availability and resiliency, it’s the best solution available, improving agility and responsiveness, and simplifying management.
HIMSS describes the cloud as an emerging mission-critical tool that can help healthcare organizations distill intelligence, scale to the end patient and foster innovation. As healthcare organizations increase cloud adoption and move away from the traditional, capital-intensive IT operations of technology investments, they are increasing their ability to focus on their core healthcare objectives.
Finding New Opportunities
To date, most healthcare organizations have used the cloud to improve administrative and IT functions, and to host clinical applications and data. The cloud is being used by healthcare organizations to:
- Analyze and share big data to improve research and improve patient outcomes.
- Empower patients to educate themselves, monitor their health, share health records and take ownership of their health.
- Provide virtual care to patients in remote locations.
- Access real-time healthcare data for patients and clinicians through connected devices.
- Improve the relationship and interaction between the patient and clinician with mobile, wearables and connected healthcare devices.
Avoiding Cloud Pitfalls
While the economic benefits of the cloud can be significant, there are undeniable roadblocks as well. The HIMSS survey cited security concerns (61.4%), IT operations being a completely internal function (42.3%), and availability and uptime concerns (38.4%) as the top reasons for not adopting cloud services.
For those already in the cloud, performance and downtime issues with service providers, unresponsive hosted applications, and slow access to data are some of the drawbacks that have been uncovered. Security risks and meeting compliance mandates, such as HIPAA and PCI, remain the top concerns for healthcare organizations in the cloud. The recent rash of ransomware attacks on hospitals and the value of healthcare data to hackers have reinforced these concerns.
It’s Time to Embrace the Cloud
As healthcare moves to the digital platform and becomes more patient-centered and data-driven, cloud adoption will continue to climb. In order to maximize the benefits of the cloud while minimizing the potential for problems, a thorough assessment of current systems and a comprehensive plan is needed to migrate applications and systems for maximum efficiency, scalability, performance and to protect sensitive data and PHI. According to the HIMSS survey, 49.2% of IT healthcare teams upgraded their network infrastructure and/or monitoring capabilities to achieve their goals, and 42.7% engaged with a solution provider for assistance with metrics, problems and outages.
OneNeck IT Solutions has partnered with best-of-breed technology companies to offer your organization HIPAA certified hybrid IT solutions that satisfy your need for security, compliance and reliability. Our vendor-agnostic/customer-centric approach maintains a focus on delivering systems that meet your business needs now and in the future.