Systems Engineering and RDBMS

Is Healthcare ready for the cloud?

Posted by decipherinfosys on March 2, 2010

Our product offering is in the healthcare space so we deal with private practices and small hospitals on a daily basis.  This is one industry which has been the slowest to adopt to digitization so even the very thought of moving healthcare applications to the cloud finds a lot of resistance from folks at such institutions and not all their concerns are incorrect.  Same is also true about the financial sector or any other sector where customer privacy, critical transactional data or compliance issues are of paramount importance.

A recent study conducted by BridgeHead software shows that more than 80% of respondents are concerned about cloud security and availability. The article with the survey link (available till mid March 2010) is available here.

Even though there are very valid concerns about the cloud among the healthcare industry, there are a few factors that make business sense.  Some of them are:

Moving non-critical applications to cloud:

Ever growing compliance requirements keeps the healthcare IT department busy at all the time. During these economic times with tighter budget and lesser resources, it makes sense to move some of the non-critical, non-compliance applications to the cloud. It gives more time to the IT staff to concentrate on the critical, compliance related applications which also provide competitive advantage against their competitors. The lesser Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) enjoyed by moving to cloud can be passed on to their customers by reducing their costs thus providing another competitive advantage.

Moving the risk outside the organization:

Efficient risk management in healthcare involves on-going in-house investment and resources. There are few cloud providers who are specialized and very efficient in handling risks in the industry. In those cases it makes sense to outsource them to the cloud providers to free up internal resources and save cost.

Either way, the key thing to remember in any industry is selection of cloud vendor. Do your research and understand your cloud providers’ SLA and their infrastructure.

There are interesting articles in this area and few of them are listed below:

http://newsblaze.com/story/2010030208042800001.we/topstory.html

http://healthcare.zdnet.com/?p=1025

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