The cloud is helping health IT managers mix and match their options
As patient data grows, healthcare organizations face an increasing demand for storage. The enterprise hybrid cloud is increasingly a viable alternative to on-premises infrastructures.
If you had to choose just one main difference between healthcare and other sectors of the economy when it comes to data storage, it may be the sheer variety of data types healthcare providers are called upon to keep and have accessible at a moment’s notice.
For example, in a TechTarget column, tech consultant Reda Chouffani notes that “many healthcare systems, such as medical imaging systems, require a significant amount of storage in order to store all the data captured during a patient's exam. These systems also interact with other systems such as EHRs, and their expansion requires more computing power and storage.”
According to Chouffani, “the cloud continues to be the desired destination for many IT executives as it offers a flexible, scalable and resilient environment.”
The question for IT managers, of course, is what’s the best way to approach the cloud, and an increasing number are responding by embracing a hybrid arrangement, which means that a hospital will host some of its systems and applications in one of two environments, their on-premises data center or their private/public cloud platform.
“For a hospital to consider the hybrid cloud as their first step into shifting their workloads to the cloud,” notes Chouffani, “one of the first hurdles to overcome is justifying the adoption cost of enterprise hybrid cloud in healthcare and defining the ROI and total cost of ownership. A subscription model in which a hospital CIO only pays for what they use offers a good alternative to some of the big upfront costs necessary when performing upgrades to accommodate the storage needs of some medical imaging systems.”
As for what CIOs should be looking for for services as they consider different vendors, Chouffani points out that a number of vendors “offer additional services bundled in their subscriptions such as system management, security, system monitoring backups and even medical image processing capabilities. This provides hospitals new opportunities to do more with the cloud services than just host medical imaging data and its application.”
Rounding out his list of core considerations for CIOs considering a move to the cloud are the inevitable need for secure systems as well as comprehensive management tools.
“From a system management perspective, it is critical for IT to have adequate tools that enable them to easily manage both the cloud and on-premises systems seamlessly,” says Chouffani.