D'Arcy Gue

Benefits of Hospital IT and Healthcare IT

December 8, 2014

Healthcare IT 2 Minute Read

Healthcare IT is powerful — but if you’re anything like me you are tired of hearing about it, all of the time.

Thanks to widespread marketing by Amazon, Google and others, we all have heard about “the cloud.” Don’t get me wrong, pervasive communication of a computing concept is usually a good thing for IT departments (remember trying to explain VMware?). We get to skip the part where we explain what it is, what it will do for us, and how much money it will save the organization.

At least, that is usually the case. Unfortunately, “the cloud” suffers from extreme ambiguity because so many vendors have been rushing to relabel their various service offerings as “the cloud”. When something is hot, everyone hops on for the ride. Hosted servers are now cloud servers. Off-site storage becomes cloud storage. The list goes on….

So let me hop on this wagon of words, but from a technical perspective. The cloud is one thing and one thing only: externally located computing resources that are elastic in scale and priced by utilization. That’s it. Now that we are clear on the concept we can move on. Nice, isn’t it?

The promise that the cloud brings to the table is extraordinary; We can now add capacity and resources without purchasing one single piece of hardware. Yet, I have found that some healthcare organizations are nervous about Healthcare IT. The reasons? Some say it’s about application support, employee training, etc. But the two most common issues I’ve heard about are HIPAA security concerns and executive resistance.

How difficult, really, are these barriers?

  • In researching the security aspects of the cloud, I spent less than a minute on Google before I found a clear, thorough and certified guide on meeting all HIPAA requirements utilizing Amazon Web Services (AWS). That was easy.
  • As to getting hospital leadership on board — this may be less difficult than you think. According to a Google-sponsored study, 94 percent of CFOs believe that Healthcare IT is important to their organization’s success, and the majority believe that it will offer financial savings over the traditional IT model. Is Healthcare IT even being proposed to hospital leaders? Are some of us not pushing for it, just assuming that we’ll have to fight underwhelming executive support?

Regardless of the reasons for inaction, the time to start investigating how Healthcare IT could be beneficial to your environment is now. You couldn’t ask for a better time to get your feet wet. Many of the cloud pretenders have been pushed aside, and the innovative, reputable vendors are expanding their offerings at a remarkable pace.

Some of us still may have feelings of trepidation or concerns about loss of control. If so, I’d recommend getting your head “out of the clouds” and into the cloud. Remember, especially in IT, we change with the times or we are left behind.

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