Exploring the cloud’s strategic benefits
Healthcare organizations traditionally are cautious in their approach to new technologies. With good reason, of course. Healthcare IT supports a mission that leaves no room for error. And as cloud computing has emerged in recent years as a cost-effective alternative to expensive data warehouses, healthcare was not an early adopter.
But recent research shows that an increasing number of hospitals and private practices are migrating databases, applications, and services (such as disaster recovery) to the cloud, with no slowdown in sight.
In a HIMSS Analytics survey of healthcare IT executives taken in January 2017, 65 percent of respondents said their healthcare organizations currently utilize the cloud or cloud services. “Much of the usage leans toward clinical application and data hosting, data recovery and backup, and the hosting of operational applications,” HIMSS Analytics reported.
The vast majority of healthcare providers now using the cloud are deploying software as a service (SaaS) in which a service provider hosts and maintains applications.
Nearly nine in 10 of these respondents (88 percent) said their organizations are using a SaaS model, up from 67 percent in a HIMSS cloud survey from 2014. And more than half of this year’s cloud users (54 percent) are deploying an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud model, using virtualized resources to gain flexibility and scalability.
Meanwhile, a 2016 industry forecast by MarketsandMarkets estimated the healthcare cloud computing market would nearly triple to $9.48 billion in 2020 from $3.73 billion in 2015, indicating that provider organizations will continue to invest heavily in cloud computing technology and services.
Healthcare providers are eager to spend money on cloud computing for good reason: Cloud-based IT services offer a number of clear and significant benefits.