The healthcare industry is one that simply can’t afford to take unnecessary risks. With lives on the line, the businesses that care for and preserve those lives have been entrusted to remain conservative in their practices in order to protect their patients. In this industry, the business model has to stay safety-conscious and therefore often takes more time to adopt cutting edge technology.
With an attitude that tends to fall in the realm of “better-safe-than-sorry,” the slower adoption of technology fails to meet the ever changing needs of the innovative and young doctors and IT professionals that are becoming the new faces of the industry; not to mention, the needs of the patients. There are endless reasons for overhaul of the IT systems used and to push for cloud adoption in healthcare. Patients in healthcare range from traditional to modern, with the modern patients needing more transparency in their healthcare, better access to doctors, and more complete access to their benefit information. These are all important needs that can be met through the upgrade of information technology and utilization of current technology including adoption of the cloud.
While 86% of organizations in the healthcare field were utilizing the cloud in some way in 2016, most in the field believe that the cloud functions in healthcare IT must still be modernized. When healthcare professions were recently surveyed by an Economist Intelligence Unit, only 39% were found to believe the cloud had a meaningful role in their industry, thus proving that steps need to be taken to overhaul healthcare information technology. In the near future, it is certain that the cloud-based systems in healthcare will need to competitively renovate their cloud applications – particularly to deliver the security and accessibility to information that patients need. For a modern and unrivaled workforce, healthcare leaders will have to evaluate and reflect on certain factors and then keep a few considerations in mind.
View full report CLOUD ADOPTION & RISK IN HEALTHCARE REPORT 2Q2015 – still very relevant
When considering cloud adoption in healthcare, organization leaders must first consider their vision for utilizing the cloud; asking what the cloud can contribute to the institute. Once it has been established how cloud adoption will be used and the role it will take, a cloud solution must be chosen based on innovation and commitment, laying out a strategy that has enough details to be executed fully. Finally, organization leaders will have to reflect on and understand the fact that adoption of more modern healthcare technology can lead to some stress in the work environment, as not the entire workforce will necessarily convert to the new technology, leading to cultural change and possible turnover.
Once these reflections have been well thought over, there are a few factors of importance to keep in mind along the way. First and foremost, most companies won’t be able to simply adapt their existing/outdated technology to meet modern demands: a total overhaul will be required in many cases. Bringing in new and advanced Software-as-a-Service professionals to create and streamline the entire infrastructure is the best answer to a quicker turnaround. Making the necessary improvement of adding the cloud to the healthcare systems has its own set of challenges, as the “customers” of the healthcare system are patients that cannot afford a gap in their medical information services. Letting go of outdated systems in favor of a new model will ensure that patients are having their needs met and their questions answered.
In addition to the priority of developing a new and agile system, security and compliance concerns must be addressed as well. The healthcare systems of course have the added challenge of much higher needs for confidentiality than most other fields. Cloud adoption in healthcare is often questioned for its security capabilities; however, benefits of the more modern cloud system have categorically brought realized updates for patients’ privacy. Looking into the factors that have brought this positive attribute about, one would cite first the entire infrastructure used in a healthcare IT cloud; namely, isolation of records in a multi-layered approach that virtually incapacitates human error. Secondly, cloud providers – as most professionals in contemporary society – are highly reputation based; therefore, their self-interest to protect their reputation acts as a positive reinforcement to avoid a breach and commit any resource necessary on their part.
Comparable to the need for security in the healthcare system and healthcare information technology is the need for compliance. Storing patient records, particularly in the healthcare field where they must be guarded; avoiding any violations can be typically demanding without the proper resources. Cloud systems are highly adaptable and therefore can prove to be more quickly reconfigured – truly a benefit in the ever-adapting setting of healthcare regulations.
With all of the factors listed thus far taken into consideration, it would positively be an understatement to simply say healthcare IT has a particularly enormous set of concerns when transitioning traditional methods of record keeping to adoption of the cloud. Not last among these concerns, attracting a talented team is just as important in the healthcare field as it is within any other. Providing cutting-edge equipment and a display of openness to new ideas is necessary to entice top-notch individuals. Leaders of organizations ready to adopt the cloud as their means of meeting their consumers’ demands must be open to creativity and some liberalism in order to achieve the revolution that is needed.
Always keeping a vision in mind, recalling the important elements of security, compliance, and innovation across the board, leaders of healthcare organizations must keep in mind that to attract the talent that can provide smooth transitions, the option to stifle creativity must be off the table; furthermore, change must be embraced. There will always be a significant resistance to alterations, but outdated systems cannot be preserved solely to keep constant harmony.
What’s most important is not any of these factors alone, but the balance of all of them, while prioritizing the fact that the ultimate need – and the ultimate motivation for cloud adoption in healthcare information technology – is to provide the best possible resources for the patients. After all, introducing the cloud will be complex at first, but will ultimately produce a more navigable and controllable system to increase privacy and accessibility for each patient.