In Part 1 of our Health Care Providers and the Cloud, we discussed what the cloud is and how it’s transforming healthcare by providing on-demand access to IT resources that are accessible from anywhere. Here in Part 2, we will discover some of the most common advantages of cloud computing and how you can leverage it to help guide your technology decisions.
Cost is always a factor in deciding where to host your applications and data. Today, healthcare companies spend upwards of 75% of their IT budgets on maintaining internal systems. Shifting to cloud platforms is instrumental for avoiding large capital purchases and allows for more flexibility in spending.
Cloud computing includes the cost of staff resources required to deploy and maintain IT resources, thus negating the recruitment and training of skilled IT personnel and freeing healthcare professionals to focus on patient care.
With the cloud, you pay for a subscription service that becomes an operating expense based upon usage. You can utilize the latest technology on the market. In the past, this would have been outside of many budgets, and while you may be able to get by with lower quality hardware purchases, the ability to leverage more advanced technology for strategic initiatives from cloud service providers can help drive higher levels of efficiency.
One of the most significant advantages of storing data on a cloud platform is the ability to access and retrieve the data from any location. You can even review information from remote locations making healthcare more accessible.
Cloud hosting is a great way of protecting sensitive medical data. Sophisticated security measures such as data encryption, secure access, and multi-factor authentication can easily be implemented making it more secure than conventional data storage techniques.
Along with the element of security, the cloud also can increase the reliability of data redundancy and system uptime. It does this through the automation of backups and disaster recovery options. In simple terms, this means that your organization will not lose data and you will have the ability to minimize any downtime for your staff. In the case of a disaster or technology breakdown, the cloud option can provide multiple avenues to keep your organization up and running with a minimal amount of lost time. In the past, providers would have to rely on keeping an inventory of expensive backup hardware or wait for new equipment to be shipped. With the cloud, you can maintain almost seamless continuity in service.
The environment in which healthcare organizations work is ever-changing. Whether it is regulatory enhancements, financing reform, competition, or clinical quality initiatives, there are a lot of external pressures. Along with this, providers are continually introducing (or removing) programs, locations, and staff to support their models of care. In a conventional self-hosted model, you are forced into the cycle of trying to keep up with hardware purchases and maintenance to support these changes.
Cloud-based services, on the other hand, allow you to address fluctuating demands. When a need arises, it is easy to scale up the capacity with what amounts to the push of a button. Likewise, if there is a need to scale down, there is flexibility within a cloud model to do so. When every second lost affects patient safety and budget, flexibility can be a real advantage.
Furthermore, cloud systems can easily be connected to other systems and applications via the internet, making interoperability and integration easy. It also makes sharing of vital information possible in a secure manner while complying with the data security regulations.
In part 3, we will address some practical considerations when selecting a Cloud Service Provider (CSP).
To start your journey to the cloud, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.