How the pace of technological change is driving healthcare to the clouds
As CIO’s get tired of “keeping up,” say experts, more healthcare enterprises are adopting a hybrid IT infrastructure made up of both physical data centers and the public cloud.
Given the pace at which technology changes, a growing number of hospital CIOs have come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth trying to keep up by maintaining an exclusively on-prem system.
So writes Rajan Sodhi, chief marketing officer at Tuangru, a Canadian company that develops data center infrastructure management software, in a recent column at Datacenter Dynamics.
And if there’s one thing Sodhi knows for sure, given the pace at which “tomorrow’s innovation” becomes “yesterday’s news,” it’s that the economies to be found in the cloud are basically irrefutable.
“Going the cloud route adds agility and efficiency,” he says, “since more memory/storage can be added as needed by simply spending on operations (leasing compute from a third party), not physical tech. The cloud offers the added carrot of set-up speed by doing away with the procurement and installation hoops during system upgrades, which can often take months.”
That said, Sodhi argues cost-weary CIO’s shouldn’t overlook things like the need for ensuring security and reliability.
“Administrators need to be vigilant and ensure that the security software they use with their cloud architecture provides the same level of peer review as their in-house data center,” he counsels. “If hospitals upload most of their e-health records and financial systems to the cloud, Internet, email and security protections should be locally managed on site. Cloud-based architectures must be HIPAA-compliant, as well as HIPAA- and IDC-certified, and should be policed by security software and firewalls.”
In addition, Sodhi notes, longterm savings doesn’t mean there aren’t short-term costs, “but the upfront costs pale in comparison to monies spent on a physical data center.”
Moreover, he says CIOs should be aware that migrating data to the cloud can be very labor-intensive, so they should map out in advance what they hope to achieve when moving to a cloud-based architecture.
“Cost control and HIPPA/IDC security requirements can keep any CIO up at night,” says Michael L. Ross, a data center management consultant. “This gets worst when these workloads are migrated into the cloud.”
But he adds that next generation data center infrastructure management software “now has the features to collect the financial metrics to verify costs and the ability to control who can gain access to sensitive health records.”