Developing an effective IT roadmap for taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing can be difficult. There are many factors to consider and every healthcare organization has unique needs and challenges. The best, and easiest, place for most healthcare organization to start is by migrating their off-site data backup, disaster recovery systems and other low-risk applications to the cloud, what should be next?
Choosing which applications and services to move to the cloud next largely depends on your organization, its priorities and the projected return on investment. To determine what to transition next, begin by evaluating your experience in moving to the cloud thus far. What worked? What didn’t? What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome?
Moving to the Cloud, Beyond the Basics
Refer to the migration roadmap you created before transitioning your low-risk applications to the cloud, and measure that against the success and hiccups you’ve encountered so far. Ensure that you understand both the capabilities and limitations of the cloud for your remaining in-house applications and services.
Having completed that assessment, you should be ready to migrate any remaining low-risk applications to the cloud. If you’ve already completed that but haven’t yet moved your electronic health record (EHR) system to the cloud, consider doing that at this point. Finding a knowledgeable consultant or cloud vendor you can trust can help simplify this process.
Merging Applications in the Cloud
Many healthcare companies are finding that they can reap benefits from merging their EHR, practice management and revenue cycle management systems into one program in the cloud.
In a survey of more than 8,000 chief financial officers, chief information officers, administrators and support staff of hospitals and doctor practices, Black Book of Rankings found that 92 percent of respondents looking to upgrade their revenue cycle management and practice management systems were only considering systems with seamless integration with EHRs. The study also found that those planning to upgrade their EHRs were strictly evaluating cloud options.
A combined cloud-based system like this offers simplified record accessibility and enhanced office/organization autonomy by boosting profitability and productivity.
Among other applications and services that healthcare organizations planned to migrate to the cloud next, according to the 2013 Desktop Virtualization Trends in Healthcare report by Imprivata, were application access, personal health information storage, other data storage, electronic prescribing, communications, virtualized desktop delivery, and secure text messaging.