Healthcare Inches Into the Cloud

Amy Larsen DeCarlo
Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent research on cloud use conducted by IT provider CDW found that just 35% of the healthcare IT professionals surveyed are either implementing or supporting cloud deployments today.
  • Worries about security are keeping some health organizations on the sidelines; however, organizations in the industry are becoming increasingly receptive to the model, based at least in part on experience with on-demand storage and other services for personal use.

As adroit as the healthcare sector is when it comes to applying advanced medical technologies to improve diagnostics, treatments, and ultimately patient outcomes, the industry has a more awkward relationship with information technology in general and collaboration solutions in particular.  Though healthcare providers have often invested heavily in communications systems to streamline the information sharing process, many of these often proprietary implementations have fallen far short of expectations.  We can chalk some of the lackluster results to privacy and compliance issues that mandate organizations maintain tight control over information; however, there are also process and even cultural obstructions that are getting in the way of progress.

With the HIMSS 13 healthcare IT conference underway this week, we have an opportunity to assess the state of IT innovation in the industry as a whole and to look at how consumption models such as the cloud are and are not helping organizations refine their processes.  Judging from recent research and anecdotes, healthcare approaches new technologies more cautiously than almost every other industry.  According to a survey of 1,500 IT professionals across all verticals, healthcare has been slower to implement cloud solutions than all other sectors except for the often underfunded and typically not widely distributed local governments.

This reticence, however, has not stopped providers from AT&T and Accenture to Dell Services, IBM, and Verizon from coming up with new on-demand storage, compute, and collaboration services designed to meet healthcare’s privacy and price sensitivities.  There is evidence that in much the same way that enterprises became more receptive to mobile technology as employees used personal mobile devices for business-related tasks, healthcare may be inching toward acceptance of the cloud.  Sixty-seven percent of the IT professionals surveyed by CDW said their own personal experience using cloud solutions is prompting them to recommend their organization give on-demand services a chance.

Whether you are in healthcare or another industry, how has personal use of the cloud impacted your view of the model?  What advice can you offer to organizations that are on the cusp of making the decision to take the plunge into the cloud?

What do you think?

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