The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a flurry of digital transformation initiatives and, in many industries, proved to be a core driver for finally making the long-awaited journey to the cloud. While certain industries were historically cloud-averse due to perceived complexities and security concerns, the recent surge in industry-specific cloud solutions has shown that many of the more cautious industries, like healthcare, are now making the move and reaping the benefits.
With industry-specific clouds recently noted in the media as a hot trend in 2021 for cloud computing, the offering of an industry-specific cloud solution is something we’re very familiar with at Virtustream. Virtustream launched a healthcare cloud years ago and we have continued to develop the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud solution with teams of experts focused specifically on managing Epic electronic health record (EHR) workloads in the cloud, as well as ancillary healthcare applications.
Recent research from Mordor Intelligence suggests that cloud solutions in the global healthcare market are projected to reach approximately $52 billion by 2026 worldwide, which begs the question – why are certain industries like healthcare drawn to industry-specific cloud solutions? Let’s explore some of the key factors that healthcare customers may evaluate as they consider a move to the cloud to achieve improved business agility, operational flexibility, platform resiliency and other beneficial outcomes that an enterprise-class cloud can deliver.
Key considerations for healthcare cloud solutions:
- Service availability and resiliency: Unlike most industries, healthcare organizations are focused on their communities’ and patients’ wellbeing, versus general customers, which impacts the functions and features that a healthcare CIO will prioritize in a cloud solution. Requirements for IT uptime and security in the healthcare industry, for example, are more rigorous in many cases, as disruptions can affect not only business and financial elements, but also the delivery of critical patient care.
- Proven healthcare track record: While many industries began their adoption of cloud years ago, it’s still early days for the healthcare industry and many IT organizations continue to have questions or concerns. Because of this, healthcare organizations want to know their chosen cloud provider can tick their healthcare-related boxes in order to establish the confidence necessary to proceed with moving their mission-critical applications to the cloud. With careful selection processes, healthcare organizations are finding cloud partners to trust who can offer:
- Certified expertise and experience managing EHR workloads, including from application leaders like Epic
- Streamlined and proven migration processes that improve efficiencies and minimize risks. Because of the criticality to deliver patient care 24 hours per day, migration plans must be seamless.
- Managed services up to and including the Epic application layer, especially for organizations who have a lack of cloud skills or Epic expertise.
- Data protection and security: These are critical areas of concern for all healthcare IT organizations. These fears are not unwarranted: according to the recent Cost of a Data Breach Study from the Ponemon Institute, healthcare data breach costs increased from an average total cost of $7.1 million in 2020 to more than $9.2 million in 2021. To protect patient data, hospitals and healthcare facilities can now seek cloud providers whose services are in complete accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. The same is true with the EU GDPR, which requires strict adherence from cloud service providers in terms of how they hold, process and protect customer data. Healthcare organizations need to trust that their cloud provider understands industry-specific risks and compliance requirements.
- Epic EHR experience: Many healthcare providers use the Epic EHR system today, with a growing number of them currently looking for ways to migrate these workloads and data to the cloud. Epic applications have specific update processes, standards and hardware configurations which healthcare providers must follow when establishing and maintaining their Epic environments in order to meet Epic’s requirements and best practices. In turn, it’s vital that these IT organizations work with a cloud partner who has proven, time-tested experience in the management of Epic workloads.
Finding the best industry-specific cloud for your IT requirements
For more than a decade, Virtustream has approached the cloud market with a clear understanding that one size does not fit all, especially when it comes to highly specialized industries like healthcare. That’s why we designed our Virtustream Healthcare Cloud to specifically address the unique needs of our healthcare customers, with a laser focus on minimizing downtime during the migration process and strict adherence to regulatory and security requirements. We’re proud of our proven track record through the years, built atop our comprehensive cloud portfolio and deep expertise managing Epic workloads.
Don’t take my word on it. Here’s what a few of our healthcare customers have said recently. You can read more here.
“When patients step into our hospital, they deserve a reliable, efficient and, most importantly, positive experience. Virtustream’s cloud and expert services are major factors for Franciscan Hospital, helping us streamline the way personalized care is delivered through our Epic EHR systems”
“The Virtustream Healthcare Cloud enables Seattle Children’s to focus on our rapidly changing business needs and, most importantly, on our patient care priorities. Virtustream’s expertise and mission-critical cloud platform allow us to be more agile and scale faster in ways that traditionally took too long and were too expensive. Virtustream played a key role in our successful migration to Epic during a very hectic time for our healthcare system as we dealt with work-from-home requirements and more pressing issues related to the pandemic, and I’ve come to greatly value our trusted partnership.”
If you’re interested in how Virtustream can help your organization’s digital transformation and journey to the cloud, find out more about our Virtustream Healthcare Cloud and xStreamCare Services™ today.