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How SaaS is leading healthcare providers to the cloud

As increasingly tight budgets force hospitals to reduce their hardware investment, Software-as-a-Service is becoming a major part of the successful digitization of healthcare.

Jeff Rowe | Dec 04, 2017 12:00 am

It’s no secret that hospitals and healthcare providers are increasingly being asked to find ever more efficient ways to allocate their budgets when it comes to IT and other capital expenditures.  

Which may be one big reason why the healthcare sector is moving toward accessing the cloud via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers.

As Nick Ismail explains in a recent piece at Information Age, “historically, healthcare organizations have kept their IT in-house due to concerns that using the cloud will compromise security, or cause issues with compliance, functionality and implementation.” But the rise of the Internet of Things and pay per use models, as well as the search for efficiency, is driving healthcare organizations to forego new hardware when it’s time to upgrade their IT systems.

Indeed, Ismail points to a 2016 white paper form Peak 10, a US based IT infrastructure business, which revealed that since 2014 the use of SaaS in healthcare organisations increased by a third.

“An important benefit of SaaS,” Ismail says, “is that it gives healthcare organizations control over how and when they use the software. For example, a hospital may own a highly specialized medical device which is only used a few times a year. While it’s essential they have the device, it makes little sense to pay an annual license fee to access its software. Instead, paying to access the software on a case-by-case basis saves on costs.”

As he sees things once vendors begin designing machines with SaaS in mind, there will be further benefits for the healthcare industry. For example, “it would be possible for a hospital to purchase a device, such as a CT scanner, which has multiple functions for scanning different body parts, and opt to only pay to access the functions they need at that time. Should they need to use another of the device’s functions, the hospital can switch it on. This reduces the amount of hardware investment required, cutting costs and minimizing the money spent on upgrading hardware.”

Moreover, a SaaS model would also allow a hospital to trial or activate new software and features instantly, “dramatically reducing the time it takes for them to determine the best solution for their needs. This provides them with not only financial benefits, but means that patients always have access to the solutions they require on demand.”