Healthcare Embraces Cloud Computing

A new study confirms the majority of healthcare organizations are using cloud computing to support their information technology systems. The shift comes even as concerns over data security linger.

cloud computing

Cloud computing is fast becoming an indispensable tool for mid-sized healthcare organizations, even though only two-thirds of those organizations say they’re “very confident” the data is safe.

The findings come in a survey by Dell Inc., which polled 2,038 information technology decision-makers at public and private mid-sized healthcare firms. About 43% said they’re using private cloud storage solutions, and another 43% said they use a hybrid cloud solution. Of those using the cloud, nearly half, 46%, said their biggest incentive to use the cloud is that it enables them to better allocate their IT resources. Thirty-nine percent said the biggest benefit is cost savings.

Cliff Bleustein, MD, the chief medical officer of Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences, said cloud services can act as a gateway for medical practices.

“The future of healthcare lies in intelligent data repositories that incorporate clinical workflow functions and predictive and prescriptive analysis,” he said, in a press release. “Moving to cloud-based archiving as a service is the first step in making your data actionable.”

The Dell study echoes the findings of a report by HIMSS Analytics, released last summer, which found more than 80% of healthcare organizations are using cloud computing software.

The HIMSS study found just 6% of respondents were leery of using cloud services, with security concerns being the top reservation.

Healthcare organizations can use the cloud for a variety of functions, from storing patient data from healthcare information systems, to hosting software and human resources programs.

David Tomlinson, chief information officer and chief financial officer at Illinois-based Centegra Health System, said security was a major concern when his system moved from an in-house storage system to a cloud-based system. In the Dell press release, Tomlinson also said he worried about having access to the data when Internet connections were down. However, he said they were able to work through those problems and now are pleased with the decision.

“It’s the wave of the future because it offers lower cost points and lower total cost of ownership,” he said.

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