What’s Driving Healthcare’s Accelerated Cloud Migration

By Fortra's Digital Defense

As with most industries, the healthcare sector has a unique set of conditions that shape how it operates. Healthcare technology operations, for example, can truly be a matter of life or death. Therefore, any and all changes must be approached with an abundance of caution. Additionally, there are stringent industry-specific compliance requirements, such as HIPAA and HITECH that must be taken into account.

All of these conditions effect how the healthcare sector approaches digital transformation, which up until recently has been progressing at a slow and steady pace. The global pandemic and associated responses have accelerated this transformation and increased the pressure for healthcare organizations to migrate to the cloud. This is a move many were somewhat hesitant to embrace but now face an increasing number of factors driving that endeavor.

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Beyond Cost Control

For many companies, cost control is the initial motivator for moving to the cloud. “We generally see cost as the primary - but preliminary - driver when financial inflection points hit, like co-location lease expirations, server equipment reaching end of life, or the need to make large capital upgrade purchases for servers, storage, or backup,” said Gerry Miller, CEO of Healthcare MSP Cloudticity. However, flexibility, agility and scalability enter the scene soon after as the cloud’s robust capabilities become more apparent to business leaders.

Once they begin cloud migration, many businesses quickly realize that the cloud can do more than cut costs. Jeff Townes, Managing Partner of IT consultancy Pariveda, points out that the cloud provides both foundational and innovative benefits, the needs for which have been fast-tracked due to the global pandemic, especially when it comes to the healthcare industry.

The pandemic has highlighted just how essential rapid provisioning and onboarding are to healthcare responsiveness. It has also served to underscore the importance of collaboration among systems and providers alike. The cloud empowers these necessities in a way on-premise infrastructures cannot.

10 Healthcare Cloud Migration Drivers

  1. Increased efficiency and cost control
  2. The need for flexibility/agility/scalability
  3. Evolving and increasing healthcare technology
  4. Increased use of cloud-based apps
  5. Increase in telemedicine and remote monitoring
  6. Processing power for big data analytics
  7. Research collaboration and data sharing
  8. Business continuity and data recovery
  9. Management of expanding IOT
  10. Evolving compliance needs

Foundational and Innovative Drivers

For the healthcare industry specifically, foundational drivers include the expanding needs around data collection and data sharing, as well as electronic health record (EHR) scaling and cross-provider integration and the need for cloud-based integrated data platforms. Evolving compliance requirements can also play a role.

Innovative drivers are equally compelling, including easier integration with AI-based devices used in diagnostic decision making and enabling remote monitoring and telehealth capabilities, both of which require flexible support that can scale up or down with demand.

All of these drivers contribute to healthcare providers’ ability to gather, share, and analyze data; collaborate on diagnosis and treatment; and administer the appropriate care.

Lessons Learned

There are some products of the frightening pandemic response exercise that could stand to benefit the healthcare industry going forward. Miller has observed an increased level of cooperation between state agencies and other healthcare entities, who have learned to dispense with some bureaucracy and red tape. “We’ve seen things that used to take 18 months now just take a matter of days,“ Miller said.

Additionally, many healthcare customers have had to fast track their self education when it comes to the cloud and security. According to Townes, conversations with clients and prospects have gotten more sophisticated and clients better understand that security is an essential and not a barrier, even when time is of the essence.

As healthcare providers are busy with digital transformation, they are also fending off an increase in ransomware attempts. Digital Defense can perform a Ransomware Assessment for frontline healthcare organizations to help prevent damaging, costly attacks. Contact us today!

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