Healthcare cloud changing 'with a vengeance'

By Tom Sullivan
09:28 AM
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Even though healthcare is often perceived as being behind other major industries in cloud computing, that is changing and doing so perhaps even faster than previously thought.

“We were really surprised with these research results showing that 60 percent of the C-suite rates the need for cloud computing on a 4 or a 5 of a five-point scale,” said John Haughton, MD, CMIO of Covisint, a vendor that provides what it calls a cloud engagement platform. “It’s no longer, ‘Do I have to go to the cloud?’ Now we’re at a majority saying, ‘I really need to engage.’ And we didn’t expect that to happen so quickly.”

The research Haughton referenced is a study shared exclusively with Government Health IT prior to its publication that Covisint sponsored and Porter Research conducted.

The report, "Healthcare Industry Reaches Tipping Point: CIOs Now Demand the Cloud for Shared Savings and Interoperability," found that one-third of EHRs lack critical population health management functionality including reporting capabilities, despite the demand for integrated workflow isolated processes are rampant and shared savings programs, ACOs included, are all driving healthcare organizations to consider cloud-based solutions across the spectrum of technologies.

[Related: Can cloud apps save docs from acquisition?]

What’s more, Porter's survey found that 58 percent of responding CIOs rated their confidence in cloud computing to securely access information from disparate locations at either a 4 or 5.

"Healthcare is changing with a vengeance, and companies who excel at improving the cost and quality of care will benefit from these findings," said Cynthia Porter, president of Porter Research, in a soon-to-be published media release. "We set out to determine where the true, industry game-changers were, and the results were eye-popping."

Porter pointed to the aforementioned statistic that "58 percent of the nation’s leading healthcare executives place a high importance in cloud-based technologies," explaining that it was particularly surprising in an "industry still greater than 70 percent paper-based."

In addition to functionality-lacking EHRs, the move to shared savings and risk, accountable care organizations specifically and the notion of a care continuum overall, make it important to have information available and interoperable across organizations.

"So it moves that CIO's perspective to, ‘I need to access this information and the only place it lives is in the cloud, and I need to get at it in a secure, reliable way,'" Haughton said. "That’s the tipping point. We’re on the downstream side and it’s happening really quite fast."

See also:

The great EHR market shakeout -- it's pending, but when?

Podcast: Preparing for patient portals

Study says cloud could save health industry $11 billion