Everything you need to know about Cloud Computing and Healthcare – 2018

The total global public cloud market will by $178B in 2018, up from $146B in 2017, and will continue to grow at a 22% 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.

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. The 2018 focus will continue to be on cloud optimization and ROI.

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.

2018 is 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.

Cloud Adoption to Cloud Optimization

2018 will be the year that the narrative shifts merely 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 dimensions including more competitive costs, multicloud 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.

Read More About Cloud-Based EHR:

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 [17].

In 2018, 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.

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.

Cloud and 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).

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. Feel free to read the latest update here.

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.

I’m not the first or last person to talk about the benefits of public cloud, yet I believe we are reaching a time where healthcare organization need to make the decision to get on board.