Healthcare Organizations Adopt Cloud Services

cloud-technology: Bjorn Koch

Cloud technology has grown rapidly over the last several years, especially within corporations who are looking to become more nimble. The healthcare industry is now beginning to follow suit, as they continue to ditch their on-site infrastructure and tedious application management in favor of the cloud. I recently read this great article, which explains why healthcare organizations are now making the transition to cloud services and how this change may affect the industry moving forward.

As recently as 2012, almost no healthcare organization had information saved in the cloud. Healthcare organizations needed to ensure they were adhering to federal guidelines for protecting personal healthcare information. At this time, vendors were unwilling to sign business associate agreements (BAA) regarding personal healthcare information.

Cloud vendors were resistant to sign BAAs because it would have subjected themselves to audits by the Office for Civil Rights. This would have required them to explain in detail how they will report and respond to a data breach.

The resistance against BAAs began to change in late 2012, however, when Microsoft formally agreed to sign BAAs. Amazon Web Services and Google soon followed in 2013. Hospitals could now utilize cloud services and become more agile organizations in the process.

The move makes sense for both parties involved. Healthcare accounts for roughly 17 percent of the United States GDP, making it an important industry for cloud vendors to target. Hospitals remain under pressure to deliver better patient care at lower costs; utilizing modern technology can help hospitals meet these goals.


Cloud Technology: Bjorn Koch


Chief Information Officers at hospitals are focused on implementing tools that will enhance employee productivity. This involves procuring more cloud infrastructure for storage and application services as well as utilizing group communication applications, such as Slack or HipChat. Hospitals are able to significantly reduce their infrastructure costs by moving from data centers to cloud technology, while becoming much more efficient in the process.

John Halamka, CIO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, believes that this shift to cloud technology will likely change the role of the modern CIO and the IT department as a whole. “In five years, the IT department will be replaced with the ‘Cloud Services’ department and the CIO will be the air traffic controller to identify and coordinate the services procured,” according to Halamka.

As more hospitals look to lower costs and become more efficient organizations, cloud technology has become a natural fit. As more organizations adopt cloud software, vendors will undoubtedly be more willing to sign BAAs as well.

from Bjorn Koch | Healthcare


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