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Healthcare and the Cloud: A Warming Relationship

Spice IT

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For a long time, security concerns have hindered cloud computing implementation among healthcare organizations. The fact that this is changing is not unheard of if you consider that when the stethoscope was first invented in 1816, doctors originally thought it too cumbersome to use. By 1850, stethoscopes were widely used among most doctors.

In fact, history is full of examples where emerging technologies have been met with initial skepticism. But now it would be hard to imagine our lives without them. For example: the personal computer or the mobile device…and yes, admittedly, I am one of THOSE whose smartphone is connected to me nearly 24/7.

Something Old is New Again
The concept of cloud is no different and has been a big buzzword in the IT world for the last several years. In reality, the concept has actually been around since the 1950′s with mainframes in academia and corporations being accessible via thin clients.

In the 1990′s, point-to-point data networks were replaced by virtual private networks (VPN) and the term cloud was born. Nowadays, there are hundreds of cloud offerings in the marketplace and it seems like virtually everyone is in the cloud computing business. The good news is that the cloud computing industry has certainly come along way and matured, especially in the last several years.

More Trust in the Cloud
For healthcare organizations, where patient safety is top priority, jumping head first into bleeding-edge technology has never been customary. That being said, healthcare organizations must lean on technology to continually improve patient treatments and workflow processes.

Healthcare cloud adoption has been slightly slower than traditional enterprises. But with core healthcare applications such as electronic health records (EHR) being moved to the cloud, the transition to cloud for healthcare organizations is continuing to grow.

More evidence stems from recent surveys from Imprivata, Porter Research and CDW, suggesting that trust in the cloud is growing among healthcare organizations. There seems to be more willingness among healthcare decision makers to see how other industries are benefitting from cloud computing.

While there is still concern about securing Protected Health Information (PHI) in the cloud, there are many enterprise- grade cloud solutions out there that are Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and Business Associate Agreement or BAA-ready to ensure that PHI is protected in accordance to HIPAA guidelines.

Cloud ROI
The benefits of cloud are certainly indisputable. The return- on- investment and cost savings are generally the first compelling reasons organizations seek to move to a cloud environment. However, organizations must not forget about the agility and speed-to-results that cloud inherently allows.

Leveraging cloud technologies ultimately allows healthcare IT professionals to concentrate on their core mission of improving patient safety and care. For example, consider all the data that is collected when a patient comes into a hospital. What if by harnessing cloud-based analytics to analyze all that data in a matter of minutes instead of weeks or months, doctors could potentially predict a health event before it happens, thereby improving patient outcomes.

From the discovery of x-rays, to the invention of cardiac pacemakers, the healthcare industry has always been and will continue to be all about redefining what is possible. The power of cloud to help further transform the healthcare industry is truly sky high.

To learn more about CDW cloud solutions, go to CDW.com/cloud

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