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Where is the Healthcare Cloud?

Posted Feb 26 2011 12:43pm

Once again we had a great HIMSS in Orlando. It was good to see everyone, as usual, I took the Wednesday opportunity to walk the vendor floor. One thing I noted was that the floor was missing "the-buzz" of Cloud Computing in healthcare it.

Perhaps you have heard about Cloud Computing, perhaps not. However, one thing is certain, with our shrinking budgets and large project endeavors of ICD10 and to achieve Meaningful Use then next big thing in healthcare it will be the cloud.

The power of the healthcare it cloud will be the transition of the datacenter and reporting functionality to the cloud. Currently, several facilities maintain a datacenter which hosts upwards of 150 applications. These applications can be served up on mainframes, mid-ranges, blades, rack mounted servers, and vm pods with SAN backend. The data center is in most cases a 1970s design, and has not grown or developed to the modern age. Additionally often the space is not ideally located, and could be used for another purpose by the Health System. Healthcare Delivery Organizations (HDO) do not have the capital to fund refurbishing these facilities.

The purpose of meaningful use is to assure clinical automation is being utilized. Once this occurs, we will be in position to provide advanced analytics to improve care. However, currently most clinical systems reporting capabilities are an afterthought. Additionally the processing power is often limited. However with the cloud, processing power is expanded to met the need. As we mature, the security and availability concerns will be handled and the need for good reports will grow. Here the cloud also offers a great opportunity.

Software as a Service (Saas), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Cloud Computing are innovating new concepts and ways to deliver IT services to our health systems. As they mature and become mainstream, the timing will be just right as we emerge from the meaningful use and ICD10 stormy waters.

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