Virtustream Blog

Flexible, Scalable and Secure: Why Healthcare Organizations Should Embrace Cloud


in Cloud, Healthcare Cloud, Healthcare

Healthcare providers face a variety of challenges that could be improved through increased adoption of digital health initiatives. Reimbursements from the US government continue to fall, creating a budget deficit for many US healthcare providers. Healthcare providers are consequently seeking innovative solutions to control, stabilize, or reduce costs. Additionally, healthcare systems are continuously seeking to increase positive outcomes to drive operational efficiencies, financial improvements, improved patient care and enhance safety measures. Embracing IT modernization and digital health initiatives, such as cloud computing and healthcare analytics provide a solid foundation for healthcare providers to focus on these objectives.

Developing a strategy to implement digital health initiatives that leverages the skills, expertise and enhanced tools available in the cloud today can be challenging. While forming this strategy can be difficult for many healthcare organizations – because of recurring IT and financial constraints in evaluating, adopting and integrating digital health initiatives, including cloud – partnering with a trusted provider that has guided other healthcare providers through similar IT transformation efforts can greatly improve the planning process and speed adoption.

It’s all about the money – the issue of cost containment:

One of the biggest issues that healthcare organizations face when implementing new IT infrastructures is that they lack the budget to properly integrate it. Despite IT integrations being able to play such a pivotal role in innovating healthcare, many organizations aren’t making it a priority. In fact, the annual Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and Navigant survey found that 56% of respondents didn’t believe that the challenges of adopting a new EHR system were equal to or outweighed the benefits of integration.

People are also crucial – the issue of understaffing:

Understaffing has also played a significant issue when adopting new IT infrastructures in healthcare. When integrating new IT systems, additional time and resources must be spent during the transition process. Time is lost for workers when trying to understand the new system and more internal resources must be allocated to IT issues. Due to the nature of working at hospitals and organizations where people’s lives are on the line, that is an unfavorable outcome. A study by HIMSS found that over half of respondents said they had to scale back or place on hold health IT projects or initiatives in the past year because of staffing/workforce challenges.

Moving to the cloud with the right provider:

To address these issues, healthcare organizations can invest in cloud services that provide a variety of benefits such as a secure infrastructure and data replication. But to fully address these problems, healthcare organizations need a cloud provider with a tailored service specifically built with industry challenges in mind.

Concerns about insufficient funding to implement new IT systems can be overcome by partnering with a cloud provider well-versed in the healthcare industry. This cloud provider should play an active role in smoothing the transition process for the organization, all according to the budget available. Recruiting the aid of a cloud service provider will significantly help reduce the time and costs of the transition period. Virtustream offers support for each stage of a customer’s journey to the cloud, with a wide variety of personalized services. These services cover extensive security and compliance requirements and include highly-tailored service delivery to a customer’s specific business requirements.

For example, Novant Health, a leading regional, not-for-profit, integrated healthcare system, realized that its legacy environment and aging health IT infrastructure could not support its future expansion requirements. As a result, they sought innovative solutions that met their Epic healthcare software application objectives, including a more predictable cost model and improved business speed and agility, while avoiding the need to completely re-architect its system every time new changes were necessary. After working with Virtustream, Novant Health was able to move its mission-critical Epic environment to the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud in only a few hours compared to the usual months or years. This move – a successful migration of one of the industry’s largest Epic deployments to the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud – not only updated Novant Health’s systems but allowed for future enhancements and modernization for years to come. 

Healthcare organizations are also recognizing that the issue of IT staffing can be overcome with managed services. A new Pathfinder report from 451 Research reveals that nearly two-thirds of organizations that currently use cloud also leverage some level of managed services; with 71% of large enterprise respondents revealing that managed services will be a better use of their money in the future, and a strong majority saying it allows their teams to focus on more strategic and productive IT projects. No longer will hospitals need to reallocate employees to dedicated IT support roles since a majority of the IT workload can be assigned to the cloud provider. This will allow hospitals to reallocate staff members and resources to prioritize patient care and more strategic business initiatives.

Healthcare providers need a platform to provide clinicians and patients a more structured, evidence-based approach to care. Integrating new systems and technology can be difficult, especially for healthcare organizations that manage thousands of people’s information. However, Virtustream believes we can drive healthcare industry innovation by being a trusted provider with a dedicated cloud service tailored to each customer’s needs. As a result, both the organization and the patient will have a better experience, and that is really the best outcome.

For more information on Virtustream’s solutions for healthcare providers, go to https://www.virtustream.com/cloud/healthcare.