We will continue to use a hybrid approach, choosing very carefully which data gets offloaded to a cloud provider. Currently we have email and HR functions in the cloud. Next we'll send some very old backup files to cloud storage (after encryption, of course). Beyond that, I'm not sure anything else will go.
Many healthcare organizations have held the cloud at arm’s length, but as the industry increasingly pivots to a cloud-centric IT model some are now finding it necessary to look for ways to embrace the idea of adopting a public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure solution.
Organizations are considering making the jump for reasons including the need for greater collaboration across care providers, to get the most out of electronic health records, or to incorporate the use of telemedicine. Plus, the sheer volume of data growth in the healthcare industry – predicted in this report from EMC to be 48% a year through 2020 – has led many organizations to conduct some pilot projects and initial rollouts.
A recent Heathcare Business & Technology article discusses some of the important considerations that can help guide a cloud adoption process in the right direction. One of these is the choice between a private, public or a hybrid model.
This can be a difficult decision and the right solution for one organization can look very different than the right solution for another. It can depend on how much IT management and support your facility will need, what aspects of the business need to be effectively secured and ultimately what cloud model will provide the most efficiency, security and scalability for your needs. Some of the common pros and cons discussed in the article include:
- Public Cloud: Since this relies heavily on the public Internet this provides challenges because of the unique sensitives of securely protecting patient data and the need to run mission- critical applications. Most healthcare companies have been reluctant to move any of their infrastructure to a public cloud environment due to these security and reliability concerns.
- Private Cloud: Many hospitals use a purely private cloud approach because it’s more secure and allows for more control over data and systems. However, it isn’t as scalable as a public cloud or hybrid model, and it can be cost prohibitive for some organizations.
Hybrid Cloud System: This is a growing option for hospitals as it melds a combination of a public cloud offering with a private cloud offering where the systems are connected and interoperate with other existing systems. It also allows providers to keep some of their most sensitive data on their premises and some of their applications – those that may not be related to protected health information – in a public cloud environment, while providing the scalability and security of a private cloud model.
Overall, the decision on which cloud model to use will come down to the unique needs and requirements of each organization, and the guidance and direction you get from your internal IT team and your cloud service provider.
So SpiceHeads, I want to know which model (if any) was right for your healthcare organization and what factors dictated this decision. Were you open to the idea of a cloud based infrastructure or did certain needs simply make it necessary? Whether you are in the discussion phase, the planning phase or maybe you've fully implemented the solution - what choice was right for your unique organization and why?