Medsphere signs on with Amazon Web Services, moves CareVue EHR to the cloud

The open-source platform, which is layered with healthcare-specific security measures, offers community hospitals a cost-effective option for managing their data.
By Mike Miliard
06:27 PM
Medsphere Amazon Web Services cloud computing

LAS VEGAS – Medsphere Systems is moving its CareVue electronic health record to Amazon Web Services' cloud infrastructure, the company announced at HIMSS18 on Wednesday.

The open-source, subscription-based CareVue EHR, whose OpenVista technology derives from the VA's pioneering VistA system, now offers small, rural and community hospitals a platform-as-a-service option to manage their data, bolstered with extra cybersecurity measures on top of AWS' own robust security protections.

"Our goal has been to balance out the tension between security and system access, and we’re confident that CareVue Cloud creates peace of mind without putting unnecessary burdens on clinicians," said Medsphere CEO Irv Lichtenwald in a statement.

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Many hospitals and health systems have long harbored deep skepticism about the security vulnerabilities of cloud-based IT systems, but in recent years technology decision-makers have been increasingly convinced that the cloud offers strong data protections while also enabling speed, agility and cost-efficiencies.

At HIMSS18 on Tuesday, Mark Johnston, director of global business development for healthcare, life sciences and agriculture technology at AWS, agreed that industry-wide there's been a tipping point of sorts that has changed a lot of minds about the cloud.

That partly has to do with Amazon’s' strong cybersecurity track record, he said. 

"We have a really significant portfolio of security services now that people can basically take as Lego bricks and just put together," he said. "It helps organizations build more robust, scalable, secure, compliant solutions, with a fraction of the effort they would if they were to host it in their own data centers."

For its part, Medsphere aims to reassure its hospital customers by adding to AWS' system redundancy safe sharing protocols – protections many hospitals are would be hard-pressed to build on their own – with even more security features for CareVue Cloud.

Medsphere officials say these include a security-focused design philosophy (separate systems are isolated from each other, while live and backup systems are geographically distinct); access control (communication via IPsec VPNs and multi-factor authentication); data encryption (both in transit and at rest) and disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities (enabled by constant data replication and hourly system snapshots).

Earlier this week, Johnston presented a session at the HIMSS Cloud Computing Forum and aimed to debunk various outmoded myths about the cloud. He encourages open minds about what tech-as-a-service can do for health organizations of all shapes and sizes.

"It's here, folks, it's time to get going," he said. "Let's leave all our old belief structures behind and reinvent our organizations so we can transform healthcare."

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