Cloud computing will change the nature of hospital IT shops

IDC says cloud services are transforming IT departments into lines of business as they acquire daily operations tasks instead of carrying them out on their own.
By Tom Sullivan
10:22 AM
cloud hospital IT IDC

Start putting the puzzle pieces together and a clear picture emerges of hospitals implementing more and more cloud services in the immediate future.

The freshest of those pieces, IDC’s Cloud in Healthcare 2.0, said that hospitals are acquiring a taste for buying IT via the pay-as-you-go model and its operational expenditure approach rather than purchasing technology the old-fashioned way, as a capital expenditure.

“The use of cloud computing as an increasingly business-critical technology is quickly changing how healthcare organizations and payers evaluate, procure, and deploy IT assets,” IDC analysts wrote.

[Also: Hospital datacenters: Extinct in 5 years?]

Earlier this month, HIMSS Analytics research director Brendan FitzGerald said that data-intensive trends such as precision medicine and population health will demand more robust infrastructure than what hospitals have in place to support EHRs today. Moving forward, then, more and more hospitals will turn to infrastructure-as-a-service offerings from Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft and others.

Smart CIOs should be thinking about the best ways to coordinate cloud vendors and infrastructure instead of applying an asset-centric view toward managing IT resources, IDC added, so they can ultimately deliver either cost-savings, innovation or both.

Hospitals should also be taking inventory of how many and exactly which cloud services various lines of business have tapped. While that may sound simple, the Internet Security Threat Report Symantec published late last month found that CIOs thought their users had about 30 or 40 cloud apps but, instead, enterprises have 928 already.

IDC said that cloud computing will become the main platform for analytics and big data, as well as mobile and internet of things tools. As those and other emerging technologies, such as cognitive computing, 3D printing and robotics spark digital transformation, CIOs and IT departments will have big opportunities to drive innovations in the cloud that they otherwise could not.

But the cloud model will also force them to evolve.

“IT departments will operate in an environment that has a centralized operating model where they focus on service delivery and more predictable expenditures,” the IDC analysts wrote. “Cloud will enable an IT department to have a line of business point of focus because daily operations and services are acquired instead of managed internally.”

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