The following article is a brief summary of an article that I wrote for SearchHealthIT.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

Because it is still an emerging technology, healthcare organizations (HCOs) are still in the early stages of determining how the cloud fits into the health information management and technology ecosystem. Providers are still calculating how to balance the possible benefits of cloud computing in healthcare with the obvious security, technical and legal risks.

According to a Cloud Computing in Health by Canada Health Infoway, cloud computing models support three ways of provisioning computing resources as services:

  • Software
  • Platforms
  • Infrastructure

The potential of cloud computing in healthcare is to enable providers to better meet changing technology, regulatory, and market demands. But healthcare organizations understand that the use of the cloud is not without risk, and this is perhaps one of the most significant barriers to cloud adoption by healthcare organizations. Some identified risks include:

  • Data breaches
  • Data loss
  • Account hijacking
  • Denial of service
  • Malicious insiders
  • Insufficient due diligence

There are numerous opportunities for significant financial, technological and service-related benefits associated with cloud computing. Yet, as with most emerging technologies, there are risks (both known and unknown) that must be mitigated to realize the potential benefits and, most importantly, to ensure the security and privacy of any data stored in the cloud.

Healthcare executives must balance the risks, benefits, and business and IT needs of the organization to best determine if, how and where cloud computing should be featured in their health IT provisioning strategy.

Please click here to read the entire article on SearchHealthIT.com.

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This is a summary of a recent article I wrote for SearchHealthIT.com

The promise of cloud-based analytics

Because of the computing power, data storage, and network bandwidth that some modern analytics and simulations require, the healthcare industry requires cost-effective and scalable solutions. Cloud-based services offer a promising option.

Many of the reporting and analytics tools used by today’s healthcare decision makers are quickly becoming outdated. Months-old data on static reports no longer do the job; clinical and business insight is increasingly based on algorithms that ingest and process large volumes of myriad types of data.

As the analytics needs of decision-makers, data scientists, and healthcare analysts continue to expand (and possibly outgrow a hospital’s capability to provide the necessary tools and infrastructure), stealth implementations (such as rogue databases and unauthorized tools) will crop up. These approaches negate any efficiency that enterprise business intelligence (BI) and data warehouses create, and they introduce obvious security risks and support challenges.

Benefits of cloud-based analytics

One option being looked at by many healthcare organizations (HCOs) is cloud-based analytics. Such solutions can potentially address cost and scalability concerns as part of an overall analytics solution. HCOs must consider many factors, however, when exploring an emerging technology like cloud analytics. According to a 2012 survey by Gartner Inc., the results of which still hold true, there are three main factors driving the adoption of analytics and BI in the cloud:

  • Time to value
  • Cost concerns
  • Lack of available expertise

There are many advantages to including at least some component of cloud analytics in a healthcare organization’s overall IT and analytics strategy. SmartData Collective lays out some of the advantages a healthcare organization can expect:

  • Spending more time analyzing data
  • Accessing multiple tools
  • Increasing analytical flexibility

In conclusion

Healthcare organizations should investigate the various options, risks and benefits of cloud-based analytics deployment to see if such solutions are a proper fit and would provide an advantage over traditional healthcare analytics software. Cloud analytics products are a viable choice (from cost, efficiency and computing power perspectives) for IT directors facing increasing information demands and increasingly scarce resources.

Follow this link for the entire SearchHealthIT.com cloud-based analytics article.

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