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Digital Commerce 360- Healthcare in the cloud is good and necessary

24 Sep 2018

This article appeared on Digital Commerce 360 on September 18, 2018 and was originally written by caresyntax Product Manager, Elena Solovyeva.


For many hospitals, the benefits of migrating their clinical data to cloud storage are too great to ignore.

However, as the importance of data grows with reimbursement tied to quality outcomes, hospitals face a demanding challenge: collecting and maintaining that data in compliance with privacy laws while simultaneously leveraging it to gain insights that lead to cost, quality and efficiency improvements.

For surgical data, this challenge is particularly burdensome due simply to its massive volume, such as high-definition video of an hours-long operation from four different camera angles.

Traditionally, hospitals have maintained their own onsite data centers, but in recent years, they have quickly begun moving to the cloud to take advantage of cost, security, scalability and access benefits – and the trend is likely to accelerate. For example, a recent survey by Netwrix found that 84 percent of healthcare organizations are already using the cloud to store sensitive information, while 69 percent of healthcare providers plan to move more data to the cloud.

As cloud infrastructure becomes increasingly critical to hospitals’ operations, following are four compelling reasons why the cloud is the best choice for storing and maintaining surgical data.

Cost: With hospital operating margins under never-ending pressure, management teams constantly strain to find ways to cut costs without negatively impacting care.

Migrating to the cloud helps to minimize or eliminate these costs. With cloud infrastructure, hospitals enjoy the benefits of a third-party vendor with processes for operating data centers, as well as experience administering all necessary hardware and software systems.

Scalability: Decision-makers across virtually all industries are inundated with data. A recent report from Cisco found that data-center-storage installed capacity is expected to grow four-fold from 2016 to 2021, to 2.6 zettabytes. As hospitals look to maximize the cost-effectiveness of their onsite square footage, the cloud becomes an attractive option.

Security: Cloud vendors have already taken the time and gone to the effort and expense to establish strategies and best practices around security, saving hospitals from the need to do it so themselves. 3rd-Party vendors encrypt patient data and are HIPAA-compliant.

Storing information in the cloud is also import for ensuring patient information can still be accessed in the event of an emergency. Storing it off-site means that hospitals can focus on the patients and worry less about the potential damage to servers in the event of a natural disaster.

Collaboration: As the amount of healthcare data skyrockets, healthcare organizations are presented with a new opportunity: sharing that data with others to improve patient outcomes. For example, payers and providers are likely to find a progressive need to share more data to accelerate collaboration under value-based care arrangements.

The era of “big data” has created new burdens and opportunities for hospitals – namely, how to securely and reliably gather mountains of new information, then harness that information to improve patient care. For forward-thinking hospitals, the cloud provides an opportunity to leverage surgical data to do exactly that – in a cost-effective, scalable, secure and collaborative environment.

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