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Healthcare Rapid Adoption of Cloud Technology

Keep Your Competitive Edge: Now is the Time for Cloud Data Management

Cloud adoption is expected to continue in healthcare at a steady pace. A HIMSS study1 found that 84 percent of healthcare organizations currently use cloud and 76 percent of these systems are planning on expanding their use of cloud. Healthcare leaders agree: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO, John Halamka, M.D. predicted datacenters will be extinct within five years with all of the information stored on the cloud.2

Healthcare Rapid Adoption of Cloud Technology

The time for healthcare organizations to leverage the power of the cloud has arrived, and cloud should now be integrated into every organization’s data management strategy. With the rapid acceleration of cloud adoption in healthcare, organizations that have not yet moved to cloud will increasingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. However, healthcare systems wanting to see the full benefits should use all the functionality of the cloud for both active data and cloud storage to maximize potential.

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Initial Cloud Data Objections No Longer Relevant

One of the biggest concerns about cloud adoption in the healthcare industry has always been data privacy and security. However, as cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous across industries – and ransomware attacks continue to demonstrate that on-premises data is vulnerable to security threats, healthcare organizations are relaxing their fears around data security in the cloud.

During the Healthcare IT News Cloud Computing Forum at HIMSS17,5 Kristin Chu, the director of information services at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, said her healthcare system moved slowly through its cloud adoption to ensure its security. She added that protecting data in the cloud is not much different than protecting data in another location.

During the session, Nephi Walton, a Biomedical Informaticist at the Washington University School of Medicine, said many healthcare systems are already storing significant data in the cloud, but aren’t aware of its location. This can indicate that even though health organizations are adopting cloud, there still is work to be done in strategically managing data.

While many organizations transitioning to the cloud find their concerns about cloud unfounded, finding the right staff to execute a cloud strategy is often challenging. To overcome this obstacle, healthcare systems should look to partner with a vendor that will manage the transition and provide an easy-to-use platform for comprehensive data management. A valuable partnership provides a healthcare organization with the expertise and talent needed.

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Expanding Beyond Just Cloud Data Storage

As healthcare systems expand their use of the cloud beyond data storage, the biggest benefits are seen by integrating cloud technology holistically into hospital operations instead of only using the cloud to store data. Here are three ways healthcare systems are expanding their cloud usage:

  • Improve collaboration and innovation – During the Healthcare IT News Cloud Computing Forum at HIMSS17, panelists agreed cloud computing is leading to more innovation and collaboration6. The cloud allows collaboration between people in different locations using different systems. Adopting the cloud allows healthcare systems to more quickly and inexpensively create collaborative environments.
    For example, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City7 used cloud technology to support a tablet-based application that helps providers and parents to share information for at-risk infants after surgery. The program reduced the number of expected fatalities from 6-12 down within a measured timeframe to 0 fatalities. Children’s Mercy Hospital was able to positively impact clinical outcomes with the cloud.
  • Disaster recovery in the cloud – There are many reasons hospitals could lose data—from a ransomware attack to a natural disaster. With backup to the cloud, healthcare organizations have an ideal solution to protect against data loss resulting from a catastrophic event, such as flood, fire or tornado. Many hospitals are using a strategy to ensure recovery from data loss by backing up data, applications and workloads running in Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. Organizations can also gain an advantage by using the cloud to scale storage capacity up and down based on need without the cost and labor associated with setting up on-premises storage.
  • Prepare for more advanced data analytics – IDC predicts 30 percent of providers will use cognitive analytics by 2018. By transitioning their data center to the cloud, healthcare organizations can quickly and inexpensively centralize management of data throughout the enterprise without investing in on-premises infrastructure. The result: the elimination of data and infrastructure silos with the benefit of data sets that can be more easily accessed and used to drive analytics initiatives. The cloud can help healthcare organizations derive value from their analytics initiatives and improve the metric that matters most: patient outcomes.

Cloud has the power to transform nearly every aspect of a healthcare organization – from IT budgeting and flexibility all the way to driving positive patient outcomes. Organizations that go beyond using cloud as a data destination will have a significant advantage. By implementing a comprehensive data management strategy with cloud at the center, your organization not only capitalizes this advantage, but passes on the benefits on to employees and patients. Now is the time – let's get started.

IDC Analyst Perspective: Why Do Today’s Health Systems Need to Evolve Their Clinical Archiving Models?

With new integrated care models, a growing mobile workforce, a preponderance of merger & acquisition activity, and frequent migration and replacement of clinical applications, it has become imperative for healthcare organizations to build effective workflows to meet the changing needs of their IT environment.

  1. CITO and Commvault, 2017 Executive Cloud Survey:
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