HIMSS Day 1, Part II: What About the Cloud?

What’s my favorite part about HIMSS? You never know who you’re going to run into.

Waiting for the hotel shuttle yesterday, I ended up having a conversation about the future of healthcare IT with none other than the founder of Quality Systems Inc. and NextGen, Sheldon Razin. Sheldon is the classic entrepreneur – he knows so much about a field – healthcare IT – and wants to share it with anyone who’ll listen.

So, naturally, he lit up when I asked him, “What do you think is the future of healthcare IT?”

In short, he said, “the cloud.” We didn’t have a lot of time, but we did discuss how there are so many healthcare solutions needed to really impact patient care, and that at some point, it’ll make more sense for some healthcare organizations to outsource the management of the infrastructure and data management.

This brings up an interesting point. At the CIO Forum on Sunday, a major theme was how CIOs have to focus not on the cost of technology, but rather on how risky the investment is and how much value it’s going to provide long term.

The healthcare field is changing a lot now. With all the competition and big systems only getting bigger, the needs of the healthcare organization are continuing to change. So if a healthcare organization is looking to invest in technology now, wouldn’t it make sense for the long-term value of the solution to at least have the option of being SaaS-based? With larger systems purchasing home healthcare providers and smaller physician systems, the healthcare field needs to be ready to accommodate that kind of IT environment.

Something that Sheldon and I didn’t get into on the topic of SaaS was security. Many other industries have acknowledged that the risk isn’t really as high as was first perceived, but healthcare is still holding tight to that perception.

On that note, is cloud a viable option for healthcare? Or do the words “patient information security” inspire too much fear into even try it out?

Kaitlin McCready

Her title may say "Public Relations Specialist," but Kaitlin McCready's got her hand in the corporate Web site, social media, marketing writing and media relations, too. From Baldwin-Wallace College, she came to Hyland in March '08 with big ideas for PR and marketing, including this very blog. In her spare time, she enjoys being disappointed by Cleveland sports, spending time with family and friends, and being involved with the PRSA Cleveland chapter, especially the Young PRos committee. Check her out on Twitter (@kaitmccready) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/kaitlinmccready).

1 Response

  1. Bill G. says:

    The cloud is being touted as the future of information technology, and it’s tough to argue with the accessibility and disaster recovery capabilities it provides. Other than that though, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. It places the accountability for service level agreements on analysts who are not dependent on your organization’s paycheck. In most cases in order to provide the same level of support it costs significantly more than you would be paying your own employees, and most cloud contracts only outline the most basic level of service agreement support in order to provide the illusion of remaining price competetive.

    While cloud security is taken very seriously, and unauthorized access is not much of a concern, what is a concern is total information awareness. If people are willing to have everything about themselves, or even unwilling but unable to do anything about the practices of companies they do business with, then we may as well concede that right to privacy is only intact as long as nobody in a position of power deems it worth the effort to abuse it. There are pros and cons to everything, but the cons outweigh the pros in my mind, because it opens the door for legal abuse of an individual’s information, and puts the people dependent on the services provided by the cloud at the mercy of those whose job security is not dependent on what they do for your organization.

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