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Top 3 trends reshaping the cloud in healthcare IT | Healthcare IT News

Top 3 trends reshaping the cloud in healthcare IT | Healthcare IT News | Healthcare and Technology news |

2015 is all about cloud platforms for healthcare IT, which means the New Year will bring dramatic changes to the cloud landscape. Three factors that are reshaping the cloud moving into 2015 are cost, customization, and collaboration.

1) Cost. Cost is a significant consideration when talking about cloud technology because most healthcare IT systems are expensive. The software is costly and the number of servers that providers need to purchase gets prohibitively expensive. Moving into the cloud means moving into a completely foreign pricing model for most healthcare IT firms, with a fully virtualized cloud environment that does not require space or additional servers, which can help eliminate costs. 

Multi-tenancy is also a way to control cost in the cloud. With multi-tenancy, healthcare IT firms can create a single instance of a database server to serve all of their clients /tenants. The application has to be architected to be secure within a multi-tenant environment, but as the healthcare IT firm crafts its applications to be a multi-tenant application, they can share more pieces of the infrastructure puzzle.

With a legacy/turn-key application, healthcare IT firms might have been able to share the database but couldn’t share the application servers or the front-end user experience.  As they morph their application to be truly multi-tenant, now they can share the database servers and the application servers, and potentially the user experience.  

2) Customization. Customizations are different in the cloud. In the traditional IT environment, healthcare IT firms would branch off of a client's environment and modify their UI (User Interface) to get their own special installation. Healthcare IT firms don't want to do this in the cloud because they want to be able to share these instances between multiple tenants. So now, software has to get more intelligent with data-driven configurations versus having a different binary for Tenant A versus Tenant B.

The customizations are modeled in the configuration database, so when Tenant A comes in, the healthcare IT firm retrieves the configuration from their database and it says Tenant A gets this color-scheme, Tenant A can see these fields, but Tenant B has a personalized, tweaked customization experience.  

Legitimately, everything has been moving that way even within in-house turn-key solutions because it is a challenge from a development standpoint to manage 20 branches of code that are all customized. With the cloud, data-driven configurations are modeled within the database.

3) Collaboration. These days, it seems everything is going to cloud and healthcare IT is no exception to this trend. 

Nowadays, healthcare IT firms, like Invidasys, are enabling the collaboration layer within their software, with the Lync component. Healthcare IT firms can integrate the entire user account experience within their application so that applications such as Word for Office 365 are supported directly in the application.

For instance, a user can pull up a Word online document, have real-time collaboration on a web page, and pull in additional CSRs, or customer support reps, that are looking at particular data on the screen for an online chat. With the cloud, these kinds of integrations for the user’s benefit occur seamlessly and can be updated at any time because they are always available in the cloud. 

In conclusion, 2015 is going to be a big year for the cloud and healthcare IT firms, especially with factors like cost, customization and collaboration. With the cloud, healthcare IT services are becoming more cost effective for the industry, because there is less need for in-office space for servers, costly software upgrades or hardware replacements etc.

The cloud is still as customizable as traditional hardware because features are written into the code during development to allow for a streamlined, configurable user experience. Now that all software is available online, it is easy to collaborate with others and for systems to collaborate with each other. There is no need for sharing versions of work or communicating on separate platforms because having everything accessible in the cloud, all the time, allows for anytime access for anyone on the team.

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Healthcare taps cloud in record numbers | Healthcare IT News

Healthcare taps cloud in record numbers | Healthcare IT News | Healthcare and Technology news |
Don't dismiss the healthcare industry as one of the last to innovate quite yet. When it comes to adopting cloud technology, it is actually ahead of the game, according to a new report. 
In fact, according to the Dell-conducted survey, which took the pulse of technology adoption levels across multiple industries, the lion's share of mid-sized healthcare organizations – some 96 percent of them – are using or seriously considering using the cloud. 

What's more, despite many industries citing serious security concerns over how data is held in the cloud, the majority of healthcare leaders – some 64 percent to be exact – utilizing private cloud technology say they are "very confident" the data is adequately protected. This compared to 52 percent of survey respondents across all industries who point to security as the biggest barrier to moving forward with cloud computing
In terms of priorities for the healthcare industry, there are three top of mind, Dell officials outlined. The first pertained to making information technology more cost efficient. Upgrading outdated infrastructure and further optimizing data centers were also cited as serious priorities.
In terms of where healthcare organizations find the real value in the cloud, the answers prove diverse. Nearly 50 percent of respondents in a HIMSS Analytics report earlier this year said their organization gets their value from "augmentation of technology capabilities or capacity." Also top of the list were financial metrics – at 46 percent – and the time to deploy the solution, at 45 percent. A significant portion of industry professionals also pointed to greater workforce productivity after cloud technology was implemented.  
For David Tomlinson, chief information officer and CFO at the Illinois-based Centegra Health System, it just made sense to make the move from an in-house storage solution to an outsourced cloud platform. 
"We gain control over storage costs and avoid future data migrations by centralizing our data in the cloud with the Dell Unified Clinical Archive," he said in a Dec. 16 statement. "Our first concern with using the cloud was security, and our second was about backups. How would we access information if our connections went down?" But once he and his team worked through the security piece of this, that's when they made the switch. 
Despite the overwhelming majority of healthcare organizations using or expressing interest in using cloud technology, the security concerns are very real, many officials point out. There are many industry professionals who don't yet sing the praises of the technology.
"Most cloud vendors have huge servers and are carving pieces up to give to customers," said Chris Logan, chief information security officer of Care New England. "The thing that scares me about that is, what if the controls aren’t in place and my data slips into somebody else's environment, or their data slips into my environment? What's the downstream issue there? What's the effect? It’s significant."
On top of the security issues, the cloud can also cost providers a pretty penny. In the HIMSS Analytics cloud report, nearly 20 percent of healthcare organizations cited costs and fees associated with the cloud as one of the biggest challenges with their cloud providers. 

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