Contents:

As early as 2016, analysts had forecasted that the cloud will begin playing a significant role in healthcare IT (source: The Economist).

At that time, the cloud was slated to drive many major improvements, such as the centralization of electronic health records (EHR), and innovation in terms of remote care and delivering care to low-income patients.

Everything You Need to Know About Cloud Computing for Healthcare

Source: The Economist

Today, healthcare cloud adoption is in full-swing. However, there are challenges, and in this post we review those as well as the solutions available.

Cloud Computing in Healthcare: Use Cases

We start by understanding the general landscape of healthcare moving to the cloud, namely the challenge of moving legacy on-premise tools and apps to the cloud.

Cloud-Computing-Use-Cases-in-Healthcare

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

How are Healthcare Organizations Using the Cloud Today?

The first thing we will look at is what healthcare providers are already hosting in the cloud, which we outline below:

Emails

The number one application in the healthcare cloud space is email.

In fact, the adoption of cloud-based email is in the 80% range. So it’s very common first-step for most healthcare organizations moving to the cloud.

Hosting EMR/EHR in the Cloud

Following email, we’re seeing more electronic medical records (EMR) being moved to the cloud.

But we notice from most is that this move is towards a hybrid cloud configuration.

So, the actual core database and main electronic health record applications are moved to the cloud, and that environment is then connected to either an on-premise environment or another cloud provider that may provide services like PACS (picture archiving and communication system) imaging, interfaces, interoperability between hospitals or other practices.

Fax in the Cloud

Faxing is still used in a lot of healthcare organizations, but in most cases, it’s a fax environment on-premise. However, we’re starting to see healthcare providers move their core systems, such as fax; in fact, the shift is moving faster than in earlier years.

fax-in-the-cloud

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Healthcare Cloud Deployment in the United States

In the United States, healthcare providers are approaching the cloud in different ways, which we discuss below.

Healthcare Cloud Integration is a Challenge

In healthcare — and unlike the financial or legal industries — there’s not a lot of integration points to other systems that depend heavily on transferring transactions.

When you go to the physician and they place an order for a prescription or x-ray, all of those systems have to interconnect to a secondary or even tertiary system. This system might even be at another location.

Hybrid Cloud in Healthcare

Due to the cloud integration issues, organizations falls back to the hybrid model where the core cloud environment is either private or managed private (which just simply means that they have full access and control, but the environment is managed by a provider like True North).

Then, as you move towards larger hospitals, you start seeing public cloud implementations, but many of those are still
in a hybrid configuration.

Even though they may be using Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), a lot of those still are not 100% offsite cloud-hosted infrastructure.

We don’t see that model changing until some of the ancillary and third-party applications have more interoperability between the different cloud architectures.


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Data Healthcare IT Departments are Comfortable Storing in the Cloud

Data Healthcare IT Departments are Comfortable Storing in the Cloud

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Large Healthcare Companies and Cloud Healthcare Investments

In terms of ‘large healthcare organizations’, we are referring to those with 5,000 to 10,000 employees or more.

Why Large Healthcare Organizations Use Public Cloud More Often

There are two major reasons why these organizations are relying on public cloud providers:

Scale: The smaller you are, the less scale you get on density and pricing.

But once these start crossing 5,000 or 10,000 employees, the return-on-investment (ROI) scale supports the public cloud distribution model better than it does sub-5,000 employees or seats. It would be the same as if you bought hardware on-premise.

The more scale you have in your system, the higher your ROI.

Marketing: Azure and AWS have done a good job marketing to the executives at those larger healthcare institutions. There are also volume-type arrangements where reaching a certain size also drives the price down.

Key Drivers of Hybrid Cloud in the Healthcare Industry

Laggards in Healthcare Cloud Deployment

Not every healthcare provider is fully migrating to the cloud; rather, a number of issues — such as the inability to migrate certain legacy systems and others — are also pushing organizations to consider hybrid cloud deployments.

On-Prem Systems

If you break the components of a healthcare organization down, financial systems and imaging systems are typically ones we still see on-premise. In some organizations, you could also include faxing systems (as a lot of interfaces are also ran on-premise).

However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. It depends on a few different things, such as:

  • What’s the current architecture?
  • How does that map in terms of the lifecycle of the software?
  • What’s the life cycle of the hardware?
  • And others.

There are a lot of considerations you have to account for and we haven’t seen organizations all do it the same way. In each case, there are different drivers involved.

Sometimes, there are no drivers but simply a time issue where the organization hasn’t actually gotten to migrating offsite and into the cloud yet.

For example, there are still a lot of legacy platforms that run Unix, and some organizations still use a mainframe. You also have analog phone-lines at some places too.

Again, there are different drivers. So, if you take a service like Azure, and say, ‘I want to move this AS/400 into a rack in Azure’, you’re not going to be able to do that.


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Let’s say someone has a very low-end server room and they want to move that to a more secure location with better environmental controls, power redundancy and more physical controls around it.

There’s some planning required, but we can put those servers in a collocated rack and securely connect them to the virtualized cloud environment so that it’s an extension of their environment.

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to how healthcare is moving to the cloud, especially as every hospital has its own unique circumstances and issues.

Challenges of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Though the cloud has its advantages, we outline a number of challenges that may dissuade some healthcare providers from migrating to the cloud.

Difficulty in Planning for Cloud Resource Allocation

The biggest gap is the lack of discovery and ability to analyze workloads, which means determining how big do cloud servers need to be based on what’s in place on-premise.

The Cost of Underestimating Resource Requirements

That’s a major challenge and many times it produces unexpected cost when transferring to a cloud provider. If you don’t analyze correctly and sign-on to a cloud provider, you could end up with, “Hey, I must deploy twice as many resources!” That certainly impacts your cost.

Lacking a Dedicated Project Manager

The other challenge – one often overlooked – is having good project management.

There are many moving parts and pieces, including other vendors and software vendors that require support. It’s extremely important when you’re in the middle of an engagement to have proper project management to facilitate that because – a lot of times – IT folks are not the best project managers and someone needs to look carefully at the details.


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Insufficient Infrastructure

Insufficient Bandwidth

Too little bandwidth is not enough for failover in that configuration.

In terms of hybrid, it’s important when some level of control is needed on-premise, you make sure that those are considered up front before you enter the system design phase. This way, when extending into the cloud you have the proper system configuration for performance.

Insufficient Organizational Preparation

Insufficient Documentation of Existing Systems

If you don’t have a good handle on your systems – meaning they’re not well documented and you don’t really understand how it would translate into the cloud (either on your own or you’re not willing to pay someone else to assist you) – then that’s a recipe for disaster.

Lack of Support in Organization

The other piece is organizational buy-in. Typically, an organization will have different owners, Even though IT supports the main system, other departments may own those systems.

If you don’t have buy-in from those folks, you’re really asking for trouble because you’re going to need buy-in and support from those stakeholders.


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How Much Does it Cost to Deploy Cloud for Healthcare?

The exact cost of your cloud deployment will depend on whether you are moving to a public, private, or hybrid configuration. It will also depend on the size of your organization and what data you are planning to move to the cloud.

Budgeting for Cloud-Based Healthcare IT

You have to look at whether you want infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or also include the software that allows for servers to be virtualized.

Properly Identify Your Resource Requirements

Within that, it’s a consumption-based model, so you determine the number of processors you need to compute – which are typically measured in GHz – and determine the GB of RAM you need run said server. You also have disk, which is storage of the data, itself charged per GB as well. So each component is priced based on consumption.

You must also consider the bandwidth cost for your environment’s connection, which is also influenced by bandwidth requirements and thresholds that charged by the cloud provider.

Those are typically the area you need for managing the system. If you need to remove physical on-premise hardware, you need a workload conversation for determining what you require to feed a particular application or service.

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud?

When you step to the layer above that, you’re adding services such as managed cloud services, which may include monitoring, patching, caring and feeding the system as well as security and managing security.

For that, you won’t look at the security logs. Instead, you’ll have a manage cloud provider look at those. This is when you talk about a managed private cloud or managed cloud.

You could have a vendor that’s also managing the cloud for you. So you have to break it up between infrastructure cost as well as the services that stack on that.

The Cloud Security Concerns of Hospitals

The Cloud Security Concerns of Hospitals

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

What are Hospitals Comfortable Storing in Public Cloud?

What are Hospitals Comfortable Storing in Public Cloud

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

There are many different offerings and types of services.

Ultimately, it returns to the cost-avoidance or replacement of having someone in your staff or full-time employee managing it versus having that outsourced.

Factoring Out On-Premise Payroll/Employee Costs

Depending on the size of the organization, you’ll also look at security engineers, database analysts, and engineers, network engineers, storage engineers, Citrix or other remote delivery engineers. Those are all very expensive full-time equivalents (FTE).

So when we’re talking about consuming services from a managed cloud provider, we’re using those FTEs as you need them incrementally versus having them on your payroll.


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The Cost of Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Systems

Typically when we’re talking about infrastructure,

You’re looking at about $12-15 per GB of RAM, per GHz, per GB for disks, etc.

In terms of disk space, we’re talking about $0.07 to $0.15 per GB per month.

Those are typically core services, there’s usually more involved beyond that.

Calculating Cost on a Per Person Basis

For instance, when offering managed cloud services at True North, we’ll bundle services with the compute-power and derive a per user or per seat cost.

That’s derived by selecting from ‘a la carte’ based on how many services you want to be combined with the compute-power. That gives you a fixed cost per user or per seat.

The benefit to that is that as you move to an operating expense every time you add a new user, from a system perspective.

You have a fixed cost on-contract that allows you to assess your growth costs and that goes up and down. If you add a user, incrementally it goes up by certain amounts per user, per month.

And, those costs range – depending on selected services – from $35 a month up to $165 a month.

The range is just dependent on how much you want to consume.

The benefit is when you have a reduction of force – let’s say you’re laying-off 50 people – then your cost goes down requisite to the number of employees you’ve removed.

So, there are advantages in both cases.

Mitigating Cost Overruns

Again, it really depends on the services that are contained in that cost. Yes, the workloads are important, but you also have to look at mapping those services and making sure you don’t have redundancies, such as full-time employees mapped to those services.

Choosing a Cloud Service Platform: Which is Right For You?

At this stage, you’ve settled on moving to the cloud. Now the question is, which cloud service platform aligns with your requirements and budget?

Understanding Public, Private & Hybrid Cloud

Public Clouds Use Standard Model

Public clouds use the standard cloud-computing model.  They provide a service that offers computer resources for things like an application or storage to the public over the Internet.

Sometimes, public cloud services are offered free. Other times, they’re offered on a pay-as-you-go basis. Public clouds provide services to multiple clients using a shared infrastructure. Think of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Public clouds work well in situations where you need a high level of infrastructure and security.

You can also use them for storing non-sensitive content, collaborating on a document, or sending webmail. Software as a service (SaaS) offerings is a popular public cloud model. So are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Understanding Public, Private & Hybrid Cloud

Source: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Advantages of Public Clouds

Public clouds offer numerous advantages including scalability, flexibility, and utility-style costing. Location independence is another advantage.

Public clouds also bring together high levels of resources, giving you economies of scale. Plus, you don’t have to manage a public cloud, which cuts management and maintenance costs.

Disadvantages of Public Clouds

Security and compliance are key concerns with public clouds.

Security concerns include potential vulnerabilities as well as cyber attacks that may exploit the public cloud and impact other users’ sessions. Reliability and availability are also concerns. No company can afford extended downtime.

Private Clouds Offer Tighter Security

Private clouds resemble public clouds but use a proprietary architecture to deliver services, not a public one. They also serve the needs of a single organization, unlike public clouds which provide services to multiple organizations.

Private cloud platforms are ideal for businesses with constantly changing or unpredictable needs.

They’re ideal if you have mission-critical workloads, tight security requirements, or demanding uptime needs or management requirements. They’re also ideal if you’re in a regulated industry, such as healthcare or financial, and need a separate cloud environment.

Advantages of Private Clouds

Private clouds have many advantages.

In addition to scalability and self-service, private clouds provide multi-tenancy and the ability to provision machines, alter computing resources on demand, and create complex machines for huge computing jobs, like big data.

Security is a hallmark of private clouds, though. They provide hosted services to a limited number of people situated behind a firewall. Plus, private clouds offer tight control over data.

Disadvantages of Private Clouds

Private clouds have several disadvantages, namely management and cost.

A company’s on-premises IT team usually manages a private cloud, so companies deploying private clouds have the same staffing, management, maintenance, and capital expenses as data centers. Other expenses with private clouds are virtualization, cloud management tools, and cloud software.


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Hybrid Clouds Combine Resources

Hybrid clouds combine a company’s on-premises private cloud and public cloud services over the Internet. They allow companies to shift workloads between public and private cloud services as demands and costs change.

For example, companies will often use an on-premise cloud to host sensitive data and a third party public cloud, like
GCP, to host less critical data, such as test and development workloads.

Hybrid clouds are ideal if you have dynamic or highly changeable workloads, such as a transactional order entry system that must meet changing demands during the holiday season. Big data applications are also ideal for hybrid clouds.

Hybrid clouds’ key advantages are scalability and flexibility. They also eliminate the need for an organization to make massive capital expenditures for short-term spikes in demand. With the public cloud providing compute resources, the company only pays for the resources used.

But hybrid clouds have their share of business and management disadvantages. Technical difficulties include connectivity issues, SLA breaches, and public cloud service interruptions.


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Azure vs AWS vs Private Cloud – Which is Right for Your Healthcare Organization

Below, we outline the aspects (such as geo-redundancy, cost, and customization) you must think about when deciding on your hospital or clinic’s cloud deployment.

Hybrid vs Community vs Public vs Private Cloud Computing for Healthcare

One of the things that we see that folks get surprised about going to Azure, AWS, or Google to deploy a cloud solution, the core solution does not include a geo-redundant replicated site.

You have to manually configure replication to a whole other instance.

When a lot of people compare pricing to private cloud providers, like ourselves, they leave that geo-redundant configuration and replicated system cost out of the equation.

Surprisingly, when you add that up in terms of cost, our solution and others are typically less expensive than Azure et. al based on the way they assess workloads and configure cost.

So we’ll encourage them to give us your ‘apples to apples’ and we’ll help you compare. We can help customers go to Azure or AWS if they want, but of course, comparing that to a managed cloud configuration, that’s a big one we see folks leaving out.

Advantages of a Private Cloud Provider

When customization enters the picture, private cloud providers have a major advantage. It’s something that we at True North consider to be a differentiator for us.

We can consult customers and be very deep in the healthcare vertical while also getting in and actually managing, tuning and optimizing for a healthcare organization.

This isn’t something you’ll typically get from Azure or AWS. They will not consult you on the workflow impacts inside of the cloud environment.

There are other vendors like ourselves that will help you do that, but we consider it to be a differentiator in what we do simply because we sit at the support side, the management side and the cloud side to make sure it’s all managed correctly.


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Advantages of Public Cloud Providers

Certainly, it’s branding. There’s a fit and function for Azure and AWS and again, it also depends on the size of your organization and that scale that you can get. You must consider all options.

Typically, in the space we operate in – which is 50 to 5,000 employees – we feel that we have a competitive offering when we wrap managed services around it, which can make a really good case for the benefits versus Azure and AWS.

That said, we can also replicate data in Azure and AWS for a redundant copy from our environment or vice versa. There’s a lot of different configurations that really just comes down to assessing the comfort level.

Either way, it can be managed. Our managed services can apply to Azure or AWS set-up as they can when fit in our cloud.

The difference is when you’re talking about hosting electronic health records (EHR). We have experience tuning and delivering health applications for healthcare — it’s very different than just spinning up virtual servers in a cloud environment.

Healthcare IT’s Specific Needs Not Always Suitable for Public Cloud

Besides EHR, healthcare organizations face many other unique issues that could be pushed to the cloud, but require a level of customization and insight they may not find with public hosts.

For example, look at a system map — i.e., the different services as data flows in and out of the healthcare organization — such as patient calls. They schedule an appointment, that’s an event.

The patient arrives, they check-in and vitals are checked, that’s another point of data and past the engagement with the physician, there’s data flowing all over.

There’s parent information, there are orders, prescriptions, lab results and a lot of things occurring in the background that require multiple systems.

Without looking at each of those things and just sticking to a homogenized view of servers it doesn’t necessarily give you the view of how data moves through the healthcare organization and, in turn, how to best optimize those processes to perform.


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How to Deploy Cloud Computing for Healthcare

This is a question that we get from an IT director or a CIO. Our standard response is: “What are your business and organization’s objectives and what are you trying to achieve?”

Defining Your Healthcare Cloud Computing Goals

Prioritizing Compliance, Security or Cost?

Healthcare IT directors and CIOs are often looking for a technical answer, but like most things in IT, it’s an operational business function.

Healthcare Cloud Computing Goals

You really need to have a good grasp on what you’re trying to accomplish, let’s say:

  • Compliance
  • Security
  • Better back-ups and data-protection
  • Cost-standings
  • Or transferring a three-year CAPEX (capital expenditure) investment into a monthly OPEX (operational expenditure)

There are many different drivers and when we talk to our directors or CEOs, we really have to understand that first because that tells you how you roll the transition plan and what services align with whatever the organization is trying to achieve.

If the problem is end-of-life hardware on a critical application, then that’s different than our first priority of protecting on-site data.

It really depends. It’s very rare we see someone that just says, “Hey, move it all.”

It usually starts with let’s protect our data and virtualize our servers (in the event of a hardware failure). Once we complete those servers, then the plan translates into moving some critical systems and, in general, proceeding from there.

Prioritizing What You’ll Move to the Cloud

It comes down to the prioritization of what’s on-hand and taking inventory of what constitutes the organization’s IT data systems.

Determine What You Can Move to the Cloud

From there, you can mark down the list and determine if it’s possible – yes or no – to move this service to the cloud and identify the targets.

So we can move email, file services and core applications, but we may not be able to move things like the proprietary tax system because it runs on proprietary hardware that can’t be virtualized. It may be the same for some other legacy systems.

Once you start with that list, then you start understanding your prioritization. That’ll tell you whether something stays on-premise or if it moves to the cloud. From that list, you’d ask: ‘what is the priority based on the business objective?’


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How to Reduce Your Healthcare IT Costs

1. Survey Your Potential Cloud Computing Needs

First, build your annual IT roadmap

2. Build a Strong Understanding of Your On-Premise System

Second, survey your existing IT system, perhaps by using a simple Excel spreadsheet.

In fact, HIPAA requires that you have a criticality matrix for your critical systems to find what systems have patient electronic health records (EHR) on them.

This is very similar. The difference is not only the criticality but a good understanding of what systems connect to each other and what platform they run on, such as operating systems.

3. Prioritize Out-of-Warranty On-Premise Hardware

It’s pretty much an inventory of both servers and services that identify what you have. From there, a lot of organizations will insert a column stating the end-of-life date.

So if you look at this map and say: ‘Okay, well we bought this hardware four years ago. The warranty expired. So it’s definitely end of life.’ That would probably have a higher priority, right?

4. Convert Sunk Capital Expenditure into Manageable Operating Costs

The other factor is your CAPEX vs. operating expenses. You’d have to look into how much an on-premise service or set of services cost your organization.

That would include labor, power, annual warranty, software maintenance – such as patching – and anything else requiring care for that system.

With that clarity, you’ll be able to gauge whether it’s worthwhile to buy a new server every three or four years at $100,000. Perhaps you can convert that CAPEX into an operating expense where a vendor manages certain components.

5. Identify the Actual Cost of On-Premise vs. Cloud

You also look into the offset on labor, power and anything else you’re spending on in your local data-center.

Most people overlook the fact of having your own UPS and redundant power system comes with a cost for maintaining those. You know, there’s a cost for cooling, maintaining physical security systems – like badging – and costly inputs.

So all of those inputs need to be in the total cost view when you’re talking about calculating that capital expense as well as monthly operating expense.

When an IT director looks at the cloud and says, “well, we can do this cheaper on-prem,” we see they’re missing five or more components of cost because those costs are transparent.

For instance, facilities may manage five of those components, such as power cooling. These people may not have ever seen a power bill.

So we try and tease those out when we’re doing our mapping so they really understand the total cost of each server, service, or platform that they’re assessing in the cloud.


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The Top 4 Trends in Healthcare Cloud Computing

The total global public cloud market will rise from $272 billion in 2018 to 623.3 billion by 2023 at an 18% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Experts are predicting that more than 50% of businesses will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive digital transformation.

Currently over 83% of healthcare organizations are already using some form of cloud platform, making the healthcare business ahead of industry trends.

As healthcare providers continue to accelerate cloud services adoption, the emphasis will be placed on configuration, performance, and security.

Healthcare Cloud Adoption

One reason for the acceleration of cloud services is only cloud-based solutions offer healthcare providers and patients the access they require while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

Cloud computing offers a value proposition in such a way that aggregates and shares computing resources, and maximizes technologies such as virtualization and serverless computing.

In other words, resource pooling will pass along the benefits of elastic utility, pre-built solutions and services, without a healthcare organization shouldering the entire cost.

In addition to creating a more secure environment than a traditional on-premise solution, cloud-based systems can dramatically lower total cost of ownership by eliminating maintenance fees and upgrade costs. They are characteristically much less effort to install and operate.

The next few years are set to bring advances in Big Data and Blockchain-based EMRs; these systems demand the utmost security and processing speeds. These can typically only be found in the number of blazingly fast and extremely competitive world of cloud hosted-data solutions.

Below are the top 4 trends:

1. Cloud Adoption to Cloud Optimization

Moving forward, the narrative will shift from cloud adoption into, rather, cloud optimization.

Nearly all healthcare providers are already using a cloud host, they are now expecting more from their vendor. Optimizations will occur in many different areas, including more competitive costs, multi-cloud management, and data-optimization.

Healthcare organizations are scaling both vertically and horizontally and they need a technology vendor who can frame their needs.

Data that needs to be stored to adhere to governing laws, but not accessed regularly can be stored in a different manner than data that is used continuously to aggregate public health trends or research statistics.

A variety of cloud-based vendors can meet a single healthcare organization’s application needs based off pricing, length of terms, and access requirements. As businesses scale, they will look to open source all aspects of their technology to avoid lock-in to a specific developer.

2. Hybrid IT is Becoming a Fact of Life

Hybrid Cloud implementations include, “interlinking cloud-deployed applications and data with traditional non-cloud enterprise applications,” according to the Practical Guide to Hybrid Cloud Computing.

Hybrid Cloud as a solution will continue to meet the needs of most healthcare organizations. CIOs will need to become much smarter about what needs to be kept in-house and what to move elsewhere.

The Public Cloud is useful for developing new applications because of the flexibility it offers during the building and testing process.

Once tested, the application can be moved to the private cloud hosted on site or to the on-premise data center if the
organization does not want to keep it on the public cloud.

“Several elements, from cost of communication, intellectual property, proximity and reliability of applications, will require hybrid computing environments,” says Sergio Farache, senior vice president, global cloud solutions at Tech Data.


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3. Disadvantages of Hybrid Cloud

Establishing which applications are going to originate, remain or transfer between the various cloud options becomes an added layer of decision making when utilizing a hybrid cloud model.

Many organizations will also need to implement new processes and/or tools that help manage cloud systems along with maintaining traditional facilities.

As I’ve spoken about before, employees pose the biggest threat to security breaches therefor the authorization access to the various applications must continue to be meticulously maintained.

Training and assessment of the computer use policies needs to be handled by staff with expertise in managing cloud security admission.

According to a recent CIF Study, 98% of companies have never experienced a breach of security when using a cloud service. A cloud provider should offer multi-factor authentication, secure VPN, intrusion detection, and more.

The decision to move to the cloud must be done on an application by application basis.

Business Intelligence, Analytics, Mobile, Email, and CRM are the easiest applications to move to the cloud. Legacy applications are more difficult to build a case for as they are customized and compliance-centric.

4. Cloud & Your EMR

Healthcare cloud services are Internet-based and generally use standard protocols, and although EMR vendors vary, most cloud providers can work with your EMR to transition it to the cloud.

Once transitioned, you will experience the benefits of reducing costs and turning over security and infrastructure to the experts.

Healthcare clients have also turned to the cloud for agility, ease of scaling, faster time to provisioning, reduction in data-center footprint, and overall lower TCO of their applications.

By far the single biggest advantage to cloud-computing is reducing your internal HIPAA compliance burden. The cloud eliminates the need to maintain compliant internal IT infrastructure such as servers and storage area networks (SAN).


Read More about Cloud-Based EHR/EMR;


Finally, Do Not Ignore Compliance

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the OCD (the office which regulates HIPAA) regularly releases detailed direction on how providers are allowed to access private health information.

Basically, the lists of rules and regulations is extensive.

One of the few ways to ensure you are meeting HIPAA compliance is to elect a cloud-based server for your EMR, over an on-premise option.

Ultimately, it takes a considerable amount of time and planning to determine how best to move your EMR/EHR and other healthcare systems to the cloud.

This is where getting the support of a managed IT service provider (MSP) with experience and capacity for health IT cloud migration is a good idea.

You gain access to healthcare IT experts that have seen situations like yours before and have an understanding of how best to proceed. You can also leverage custom solutions designed to meet healthcare IT needs; for example, at True North we offer our clients cross-country Tier-5 Platinum data centers that exceed HIPAA compliance.

In effect, healthcare IT MSPs enable you to accelerate your cloud migration plans, mitigate the risk of non-compliance and technical problems, and control costs by leveraging preexisting or ready-built healthcare IT infrastructure (such as private cloud data centers).

True North implemented 1,000+ successful healthcare IT projects over the past 14 years. With Tier-5 Platinum data centers that exceed HIPAA compliance standards and guarantee 99.999% uptime (i.e., exceeding industry standards).

This keeps healthcare providers secure from cyber threats and regulatory violations, thereby saving you cost and freeing resources for other operational needs. Contact us today to get started with your cloud migration or existing cloud management needs.