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photo credit cloudtweaks.com

Although many industries have been quick to implement cloud-based solutions, the healthcare industry has been hesitant to fully adopt cloud-computing solutions. While a portion of this hesitancy stems from legitimate privacy concerns and the need to protect patients’ private health information in accordance with HIPAA regulations, the industry’s slow implementation of cloud-based solutions can primarily be attributed to a general disinterest in the adoption of new technology (See Challenges of Cloud Computing In Healthcare Integration).

From an IT perspective, cloud-computing privacy concerns have already been addressed. Many IT groups have already established cloud servers that are HIPAA compliant for both healthcare applications and patient data storage. These clouds are able to offer a higher level of data security than available from most healthcare IT departments. Scalability allows cloud computing to offer healthcare organizations better security at a lower cost. By outsourcing software hosting, maintenance and support to cloud computing providers, healthcare organizations will be able to drastically consolidate IT infrastructure. By adopting cloud computing solutions, local and regional healthcare organizations will be able to reduce their overall IT costs while simultaneously obtaining dependable, secure, and readily accessible technology solutions that might otherwise be unattainable.

Cloud computing technologies can offer tremendous benefits to an organization. Cloud servers are capable of handling a greater number of transactions in a quicker time than traditional healthcare servers. Clouds also allow for information to be shared in real time. Applications can be used from any computer on the cloud’s server as opposed to traditional healthcare applications that require installation on specific servers. Data recovery is also more secure in the cloud. A cloud server can reproduce entire servers, applications, information, and software to alternate locations, thereby minimizing data loss and providing faster recovery times.

In a time when the economic reform of healthcare is inevitable, cloud computing offers a variety cost-reduction methodologies. While directly reducing an organization’s IT costs, cloud-computing technologies will also inevitably increase the organization’s productivity. Cloud computing will directly enhance the business sustainability of an organization (for examples of how see “Cloud Computing for Healthcare; Compliance, Disaster Recovery & Business Sustainability“). In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Vivek Kundra wrote about the potential monetary value of the increased productivity that cloud computing could offer.  His op-ed opined that “In health care alone, a productivity increase of 1 percent in the next 10 years — much of which could be achieved with cloud-based services — represents a $300 billion value”. At the end of the article, Kundra makes a blatant warning to resistant organizations. “Public and private organizations that preserve the status quo of wasteful spending will be punished, while those that embrace the cloud will be rewarded with substantial savings and 21st-century jobs”.

Vivek Kundra’s obvious distaste for organizations that are reluctant to embrace cloud-computing technology is a feeling shared by many, including myself. Why would any organization hesitate to implement a technology that would reduce costs and increase productivity? The healthcare industry’s utilization of cloud computing technologies will consolidate IT infrastructure, increase business sustainability, and allow healthcare organizations and providers to refocus their energy and resources to the patients and improving patient care.

 

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com