2018: The year the healthcare cloud becomes transformational?

Jeff Rowe | Feb 07, 2018 12:00 am

This will be the year that cloud for healthcare makes significant inroads into transforming the industry.

That’s what Steve Wray CEO of healthcare platform provider CloudMine, recently predicted in an article at TechTarget.

"The cloud will be the fundamental tool for breaking down what I would refer to as historical healthcare silos," Wray said. "If healthcare IT can be a connected ecosystem, then we can actually achieve connected health and make that more than just a concept. As a result, healthcare organizations and their partners could tackle some of more formidable challenges in health ... at a time when no longer addressing those issues is no longer an option.”

Indeed, according to the article, a recent report by Forrester predicted that in the year ahead, "CIOs will divert funds from electronic health records [EHRs] and other systems that aren't delivering on their promises into enterprise health clouds; place their robot bets; and spend more than their peers in other industries on data and network security.”

Specifically, the report found that a majority of U.S. online adults want digital access to appointment scheduling, coverage suggestions and rewards for healthy behaviors, and this trend will increase over time.

The tools exist in the form of healthcare cloud platforms for healthcare systems, payers and biopharma companies, Wray added, but the challenges that need further addressing include security, interoperability, data capture, and "a new era of partnership mergers and alliances among healthcare stakeholders, who, in the past, have been adversaries or siloed players in the industry.”

According to Sean Jennings, senior vice president of solutions architecture at cloud service provider Virtustream, healthcare organizations tend to reap economic benefits when “moving from a capital expenditure-intensive, three- to five-year technology reinvestment schedule to an operational expenditure, consumption-based model. They can also expect the ability to more quickly respond to dynamic business requirements and end users, to more rapidly scale apps when there are changes in business demand, to deploy upgrades more quickly, and to address the backlog of strategic projects. This agility, responsiveness and ability to address the immediate concerns of the business tend to be much more impactful than economic benefits."

But as Steve Wray summed up the core challenge, one essential fact remains true for both patients and healthcare professionals: Disconnected healthcare is expensive, frustrating and produces suboptimal outcomes.

"As such, I think our greatest value as partners should be pretty clear. If we can help any of the stakeholder groups we call customers achieve their goals toward connected healthcare, we'll help produce a better landscape of healthcare delivery."