For healthcare, the cloud doesn’t just hold the promise of massive computing resources at a lower cost. It also presents the industry with an opportunity to completely upend the way it thinks about and manages IT resources, and to “radically improve” the way organizations can communicate, collaborate and conduct business
So wrote Peter Nelson, vice president for product development at Global Healthcare Exchange, a healthcare supply chain management company, in a commentary recently at HealthDataManagement.
In broad terms, Nelson suggests perhaps the biggest benefit of the cloud is that it “frees organizations from the restraints of legacy systems, and the costs associated with them. When an organization moves to a multi-tenant cloud platform, the model changes completely. The infrastructure no longer needs to be owned, and there’s no need to ‘drill’ into systems to access data. The cloud helps organizations move to an API world, where they can more easily move data back and forth between authorized parties.”
What that means, Nelson says, is multiple users can interact with each other in real time. “Instead of an administrator overseeing every aspect of a system and acting as a buffer between groups, approved users can connect directly with each other. This brings real-time partner collaboration to the industry . . . The result is cleaner, updated data that everyone can see. Authorized parties can communicate more effectively, internally and externally, to make more informed and timely business decisions.”
From a vendor’s perspective, Nelson notes, moving to the cloud enables much easier access to a hospital’s ERP system for system administrators, their vendors and trading partners, and it “can enable interaction with other internal and external systems, such as supply chain management systems. In addition, building a custom solution to connect two or more siloed systems is no longer necessary, providing significant savings, with increased speed to develop and deploy. With a cloud approach, these systems can be connected seamlessly by a third-party app at lower costs.”
In short, while increased interoperability has long been a goal among providers, by switching to a cloud computing model, hospitals and the vendors/partners will also realize a more efficient way to share data and execute business transactions while saving on overall IT costs.