Most hospital CIOs view cloud computing with a skeptical eye. Compliance issues raise concerns, epsecially with respect to personally sensitive information. Security is a hot topic — and always will be. Integration with on-prem systems poses challenges. And frankly, the scope of a major cloud migration can seem overwhelming, even if a careful, step-by-step approach is taken.
All of that said, the cloud is inevitable. It already surrounds us in practically every aspect of professional life. And although the healthcare industry has been more cautious than most, online portals for hospitals are fast becoming the norm; and the benefits of cloud computing are now so well known, that the tipping point has arguably already passed.
Here are seven reasons why hospital CIOs are now more eager than ever to embrace the cloud, as outlined in a recent webcast on HealthDataManagement.com:
- Cost — Savvy CIOs will tell you that the cost argument for cloud computing can be misleading. Beware of death by a thousand cuts. Most cloud functionality comes inexpensively; but when you add it all up? The cost can be significant. Nonetheless, the price of cloud computing, on balance, is lower than with on-prem systems, and it’s on a relatively constant trajectory downward.
- Analytics — Arguably the hottest topic in enterprise computing, analytics can be used to improve practically every aspect of a hospital’s operations. Genomic research holds tremendous promise for personalized healthcare; analysis of population health can help improve the trajectory of healthcare; lowering readmissions can improve health while mitigating costs; predicting when surgical implants will fail can save lives. The list goes on!
- Mobile Health — Who doesn’t have a smart phone these days? Hospitals can use mobile tech in all kinds of ways: training employees on new apps; alerting patients to take their medicine, or show up for appointments; tracking the activity of employees and patients; providing a new interface to legacy systems, thus allowing hospitals to keep key elements of infrastructure while empowering employees and even partners, wherever they are.
- Disaster Recovery — While not the most exciting aspect of enterprise IT, DS is of critical importance, and the cloud provides an excellent option. Snapshots can be taken at any time, and technologies like change-data-capture (CDC) can be used to optimize the backup processes, such that massive amounts of data need not be uploaded on a regular basis. And as with other aspects of cloud computing, the costs for online backup continue to trend downwards.
- Security and Compliance — Despite the high-profile data breaches of late, the cloud fundamentally changes the game for security. One big reason? Hackers are getting better, and thus the professionals who can effectively harness the most modern tools for outwitting them are an elite group. In addition, cloud-based technologies tend to bake in important details, such as when data is entered, what’s changed, who accessed which system. That makes compliance issues easier to manage.
- MicroServices and Containers — One of the most cutting-edge movements in enterprise computing involves microservices and containers. The best way to describe this general concept is that the service-oriented architecture (SOA) is being married with virtualization. The end result is a world in which applications can be much more agile and flexible; the traditional client-server architecture is no longer necessary; and the future gets downright granular.
- Collaboration — Anyone who has collaborated with someone on GoogleDocs appreciates the magnitude of real-time collaboration. Instead of passing documents back and forth via email or text, professionals from all over the world can now work on the same document in real-time. This type of collaborative functionality is now spreading throughout enterprise applications, and represents one of the most powerful and compelling improvements to IT in many years.
Altogether, these benefits of cloud computing give options to hospital CIOs, especially as they tackle unwieldy issues like population health and value-based care. Partnering with a healthcare-exclusive cloud vendor like ClearDATA can give any healthcare enterprise an advantage as cloud migration accelerates.