HIMSS 2018 featured much information about healthcare entities moving to the cloud, from the Cloud Computing Forum on Monday through the education sessions the rest of the week.
With applications running in the cloud, the IT team has the agility to work with departments around the medical facility to offer unique solutions to healthcare problems. This leads to enhanced healthcare, which is the ultimate goal of a provider in the first place.
An interesting perspective was provided by a community hospital, which described why it made sense for their move to the cloud.
In session 191, The Cloud Through the Eyes of a Community Health Center CIO, Larry Allen, CIO of MCR Health Services, and Matt Ferrari, CTO of Clear DATA, presented the path that was taken which eventually led MCR Health Services to the cloud. They were quick to point out that the cloud was not their destination, but it ended up being the solution.
MCR Health Services ended up moving to the cloud for a variety of reasons, including:
- The availability of the cloud
- A preference for predictable operating costs
- Security concerns, and
- Overall better delivery of care
The availability of the cloud is a benefit to many who are considering the move. However, this becomes even more critical for a community hospital. In many cases, the talent pool is simply not available to keep a local datacenter running 24 hours a day every day. Technical issues surrounding infrastructure availability can be very complex, not to mention having to deal with legacy systems. In a cloud environment, managed services can be utilized to keep systems up and the IT personnel at the hospital can focus more on applications.
Smaller facilities also have a harder time dealing with large capital expenditures, especially when they are not planned. MCR Health Systems was in need of a SAN and had some legacy systems that needed to be updated. These capital expenditures on the horizon compelled them to take even a closer look at the cloud. For small hospitals with small budgets, predictable monthly expenses are much preferred to the up and down nature of capital expenses. It makes managing and forecasting a budget so much easier.
Security and compliance were big issues throughout many of the sessions at HIMSS, even for sessions that were not focused on security. Overall, security seems to be more at the forefront than it ever has before. Data center security revolves around a uniquely trained skillset, which is also hard to find in remote areas. This is another reason it makes sense to move to the cloud for smaller facilities.
In general the more resources that are spent trying to keep a data center up and secure, the less resources that are available to solve challenges in patient care.
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