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Cloud Usage in Health Care

Cloud storage can be used in a variety of applications. It has use in the home and in enterprises, but it also has use in government. According to a new survey from HIMSS, 82% of hospitals are making use of the cloud. The cloud has various usages in hospitals, like health information exchange, data backup and storage, and disaster recovery.

“Cloud services have been long praised as a tool to reduce operating expenses for healthcare organizations. The data presented in our inaugural survey demonstrates the healthcare industry’s eagerness to leverage this resource,” said Lorren Pettit, Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics.

Moving into using the cloud was not necessarily a simple move for the health care industry. Half of respondents that already use cloud services said that heir organisation had to upgrade their network infrastructure and/or monitoring capabilities in order to implement use of the cloud services.

The survey found that cost was a key driver for adopting cloud services. However, less than half of the 140 respondents reported that they got the data needed for their cloud services provider to measure the value of cloud services. However, cost is not the number one concern when selecting a cloud services provider. Security concerns, like the vendor’s willingness to enter into a BAA, and the physical and technical security of the provider were ranked more important.

6% of respondents noted that their organisation would not be using cloud services in the future, nor did they have any plans to, mainly due to the reasons listed above. Nevertheless, with technology and the data industry ever-changing, some of these respondents may eventually move to the cloud if demand requires it.

The report also found that vendors could be doing a better job of meeting the needs of their clients in healthcare. Around two-thirds of the survey respondents claimed that they had had issues with their current cloud provider. These issues were mainly a lack of visibility into ongoing operations, customer service and the costs associated with the cloud.

On top of this, half of respondents have had problems with their cloud service provider’s ability to meet the service levels that were promised to them originally. The most commonly named issue was slow responsiveness to hosted applications and/or data.

Nevertheless, despite having some issues, the majority reported that they would rather work out these issues with their current provider than switch to a new one. Half of respondents said that their organisation would either accept service level credits or give their cloud provider another chance to meet the promised levels. However, 25% did report that they were willing to terminate the relationship or use in-house applications if they became overly frustrated by bad service.

“Many Healthcare CIOs and others have expressed their intention to use cloud services. However, there are some challenges related to use in healthcare and these are what we hoped to uncover,” said Lisa Gallagher, Vice President of Technology Solutions for HIMSS. “Our next step is for the healthcare industry to work with cloud service providers to move forward together in addressing these challenges.”

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