Healthcare and Cloud Computing: Six Steps for Success

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By Jean-Luc Coquerel on July 1, 2016

Healthcare Analytics

healthcare and cloud computingAlthough the healthcare industry was initially slow to embrace cloud computing, providers are transitioning to it at a rapid pace. In our most recent blog, we examined a variety of benefits healthcare organizations can achieve by using cloud technology. This blog will focus on the steps healthcare organizations should take to make their move to the cloud a success.

Moving to cloud computing typically requires less resources for healthcare organizations compared to implementing a new IT system on site. However, it’s important to follow certain steps to ensure the transition is done correctly. Otherwise, some of the benefits of utilizing cloud technology may not be achieved, and providers may end up with unnecessary problems.

Step #1: Strategy Assessment

Healthcare organizations should develop a strategy to assess why they want to move to a cloud computing, how they plan to attain their goals for the move and what plans, policies and procedures need to be in place for it. The assessment should include how the move will align with the organization’s business goals, what plans are in place for scalability to meet business growth and a method for dealing with obstacles that may arise through the process. In addition, a plan should be put in place to monitor KPIs to validate the business benefits of utilizing cloud technology.

Step #2: Cost Analysis

Although the costs involved with moving to cloud computing are usually lower than implementing server-based technologies, healthcare organizations should assess how much capital expenditure is necessary. They should also consider whether any new IT infrastructure is needed, which can add to the cost. When evaluating the cost of cloud computing it is important to understand the total cost of ownership. There are obvious costs like subscriptions and support fees, but also factor in outbound bandwidth costs, upgrading your network pipelines to ensure high-speed bandwidth and possible costs due to downtime.  

Step #3: Deployment Model Decision

Deciding on the best deployment model for cloud is essential. A public cloud is owned by a third-party provider and is publicly accessible, while a private cloud is owned by a single organization. A hybrid cloud consists of an environment with two or more cloud deployment models. One advantage of a public cloud is that the cost of maintaining and upgrading servers is significantly lower than a private cloud, but a private cloud will provide significantly more control and possibly more security of your data.  

Step #4: Creation/Review of Policies and Procedures

It’s important when healthcare organizations implement any new significant technology that they inform its users of its uses and benefits. This is especially important in cloud computing for making sure users responsible for entering or accessing patient data follow compliance requirements. A list of policies and procedures should be created, reviewed and introduced to users, and those documents should be easily accessible to them. Also, it’s important to make sure that any existing data governance rules are continued in the cloud.

Step #5: Cloud Readiness Assessment

This step should begin with an inventory of current IT systems and applications to determine which applications would provide the most benefits with a move to the cloud. A decision should be made on what data should be placed in the cloud and what it should accomplish. Healthcare organizations who want to utilize cloud technology should do it to address an issue, not solely to keep up with business counterparts.

Step #6: Security Assessment

Security is especially important for healthcare organizations moving to the cloud because they manage Patient Health Information (PHI) for millions of patients. Providers should develop specific plans to make sure security policies are in place to protect patient data. A secure and encrypted data transition to the cloud is also critical to meet compliance regulations.

Learn More

Syntrix Consulting has a proven track record of success in helping healthcare organizations optimize technology for improved performance. We have extensive experience in implementing a variety of healthcare IT reporting systems, and we know how to make data talk. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

If you’re interested in learning how an Epic reporting implementation can help you improve performance, download our FREE eBook “7 Steps to a Successful Epic Reporting Implementation” to see why so many hospitals are choosing Epic and what the implementation process looks like:

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