What does cloud computing mean for healthcare?

Most healthcare providers use workflow structures built upon paper-based medical records, which can create duplicative services, medical errors, and an overall fragmented healthcare system. To remedy this situation, the HITECH Act has called for an overhaul of the way providers capture and share data with the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs).

Several EHR vendors are offering their solutions as a cloud-based model in order to provide clinical and administrative staff with more information and a faster way to improve quality of healthcare and control costs.

Is the cloud mature and secure enough for the healthcare industry?

If you’ve ever visited a doctor’s office, you’re familiar with the pile of forms you need to sign to protect your privacy. But what you may not be familiar with are the extreme penalties that the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) holds executive managers accountable to when it comes to the disclosure of private patient information. Concerns about these legal requirements have led many healthcare professionals to conclude that cloud-based computing technology is too new and untested and may not extend securely to existing applications. So while the benefits of the cloud are appealing, many health care executives continue to balk at assuming the unnecessary risk of making this switch.

What is a Vendor Management System?

A vendor management system (VMS) is an Internet-enabled, often Web-based application, that acts as a mechanism for business to manage and procure staffing services – whether temporary or permanent– as well as outside contract or contingent labor. Typical features of a VMS application include order distribution, consolidated billing, and significant enhancements in reporting capability that outperforms manual systems and processes.

Is vendor management crucial to cloud adoption?

Generally, there speculation about what the vendor mix will look like in the future. As more IT departments move to the cloud, the ability to manage and measure the performance of multiple cloud vendors becomes critical. For example, health care organizations might utilize co-location and/or third party electronic health vendors, but these vendors must be managed and may also require service- level agreements that have distinctive privacy and security contracts.

The true nature of what the “cloud” enables is a mix of third party providers that will extend the capabilities of an IT shop. Tiering of service providers with focused specialties, driving best pricing, and optimizing unit rates for outsourced infrastructure services are made possible by cloud vendor management. Vendors can be held accountable to contract standards, and healthcare and other kinds of organizations can optimize spending and buying power with strategic vendors.

Is a public cloud or private cloud more beneficial?

A public cloud lacks the control and security policies required by health care organizations, while a virtually private (or hybrid) cloud offers customization, security, privacy and a high level of internal control. Health IT leaders must identify the cloud solution that allows them to take advantage of private cloud technologies where the IT organization can own or modernize data centers and, and as a result, obtain extended scale, business agility and economic reach.