Health IT exec: to ensure success, virtualize and move to the cloud

While leading infrastructure improvement plans that span five or more years, IT decision-makers are also challenged by the demand to produce an infrastructure with a positive ROI while keeping the upgrades within budget.

Jeff Rowe | Oct 10, 2017 04:44 pm

In healthcare, IT decision makers generally need to be looking at everything at once.  That is, they have to ensure current systems are in top working order, while managing a new system implementation or upgrade, even as they’re eyeing innovations still some years away from being ready for actual use.

And then, of course, there’s the need to respond to directives from executives and policymakers at all levels.

As Brian Lancaster, VP of IT at Nebraska Medicine, recently told, “To achieve our goals, we have to invest in new approaches, data warehousing, analytics, and virtual care. All these things are needed to pivot from fee-for-service to value-based care.”

According to Lancaster, Nebraska Medicine’s long-term infrastructure improvement plans involve virtualizing much of their environment in order to cut back on infrastructure costs while providing a more advanced, secure environment.

“We have a ton of work to do over the next three or four years with virtualizing every aspect of the network,” Lancaster explained. “So far we've only done our Epic EHR environment.”

The lower deployment costs and increased flexibility of cloud technologies and virtualization strategies support rapid infrastructure growth as entities urgently expand their health IT capabilities to meet the high demands of users.  

“We have plans for the whole stack,” Lancaster continued. “Anytime anyone needs an environment, resource, or an IT service, it's now automated and it can be deployed. Right now, we're a private cloud, so it's on-premises, but it's deployed using virtualization technology.”

Lancaster added that IT decision-makers are also challenged by the demand to produce an infrastructure with a positive ROI while remaining in budget with the upgrades.

“Every year I sit down with my CFO, and she wants more but she also wants me to cut five percent of my budget,” he said.  “How can you do more and get five percent of your budget?”

To him, the answer is clear: “Be virtualized. Move to the public cloud.”

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