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Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

CIOs top concern with cloud computing? Talent, not security

Dignity Health chief information officer Deanna Wise was once hesitant of putting health data in the cloud. Now she’s an outspoken proponent. 
By John Andrews
07:40 AM
security CIO cloud concern security

Whatever reservations Deanna Wise had about using the cloud for data storage, she has long gotten over them now.

The Dignity Health CIO, in fact, said she shared common concerns about the functionality, dependability and security of the cloud as virtual storage shot to prominence as a cost-friendly, labor-saving option for health IT systems. And she shared the hesitation that many felt at the time.

“I was definitely not an early adopter,” she said. “Our strategy of moving elements of our technology to the cloud was probably similar to other CIOs who run large organizations – it was a bit of a wait-and-see approach. I wanted to observe what other industries were doing and I wanted to learn from their challenges and outcomes.”

ClearDATA founder and chief privacy and security officer Chris Bowen recalled the skepticism of the cloud’s genesis, with CIO pushback over patient data security and safeguarding. He conceded that cloud vendors had to overcome those objections by working closely with clients to allay their fears and demonstrate the cloud’s true capabilities.


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“It took a year to formulate a strategy, get beta customers and figure out which direction they wanted to go,” Bowen said.

If concerns about the cloud still exist, they aren’t the same ones that were expressed in the early days, he said.

“Security is not the number one concern anymore — that has completely flipped,” Bowen said. “It is now lack of resources and lack of talent for moving things to the cloud.”

Wise, in fact, has become a vocal proponent of the concept.

When Dignity finally decided to begin transitioning workloads to the cloud, they started with low-risk endeavors and worked their way up from there, Wise said.

“We did not start with direct patient care systems,” she said. “We still move cautiously today. We can be slow to adopt technology in our industry for many important reasons. We have proven that healthcare can also benefit from the cloud evolution.”

Wise and Bowen will conduct a HIMSS17 session, “Still Afraid of the Cloud? A CIO’s Journey,” on Monday, Feb. 20, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 311A. 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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