Healthcare CIOs are beginning to trust the cloud


The healthcare sector is slowly increasing its level of trust in cloud computing. CIOs at many of today's hospitals have been evaluating cloud vendors for years now, and they are ready to utilize the online storage system from the right provider. Daniel Morreale, vice president and CIO at Riverside Healthcare System, told Healthcare Informatics that his organization already deploys the cloud. He stresses the massive cost savings as one of the main reasons he has embraced the technology and not looked back.

His old computing system required him to deal with a financially debilitating data center that bogged down his budget. Getting rid of the power costs, cooling requirements and capitalization expense, Morreale calculated he would be able to see a return on investment in about five years.

"If I have an opportunity to minimize my capital expenditures, that's something I am going to look at," he said. "If I can get those off my plate and turn those into a relatively low operating expense, I like it."

Trusted vendors make the cloud a reality
Remaining compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is holding many hospital CIOs back from migrating to the cloud. But Morreale does his homework on vendors before investing in their solutions. He asks them to provide him with their security plans, rules and policies. Those that will meet his requirements ease his concerns that critical patient data would be compromised in a potential breach.

"I insist that my data be encrypted, both at rest and in motion, which is a show-stopper for many of these smaller vendors," he said.

After teaming up with cloud vendors, hospitals are able to deploy many new types of technology, which allows for better communication and information sharing throughout the entire facility. Doctors and nurses can ensure they get the equipment they need with healthcare inventory management systems that are accessible through a smartphone or tablet, while physicians can quickly view health content available in the organization's cloud infrastructure.

CIOs are seeing the efficiencies created by the cloud
Morreale is just one of the CIOs across the country who has adopted the cloud and had nothing but positive results. This is why, after years of research and evaluation, the cloud is beginning to be deployed at many hospitals. With vendors in charge of data security, CIOs can begin to focus on some of the benefits of the cloud that allow them to streamline their costs and build a more productive workforce.

"Healthcare CIOs have seen the cloud's potential in moving beyond 'islands of information' and creating a simple means to securely exchange clinical and administrative data," said Tim Busche, director of product marketing for healthcare at Covisant, in a company statement.

Healthcare changes pave the way for the cloud
The migration to the cloud in the world of healthcare is not just because of the cost savings and improved levels of efficiency. Cynthia Porter, president at Porter Research, told CIO magazine that meaningful use, the accountable care organization model, the ICD-10 switch and the growing need for mobile health innovations has made the decision that much easier for many CIOs. She even said that the cloud can improve patient outcomes, and allow hospitals to provide a better experience to everyone who visits the facility.

"[The cloud] could end up mending the healthcare system that has let innovation pass it by," she said. "Clouds promise one of the most promising technologies to improve treatment costs."