Cloud momentum

The demand for hybrid cloud solutions is clear. Today’s organizations are looking for more agility, easier management, and access to more capacity to enable them to handle increased growing data and infrastructure demands without increasing costs. Forty-one percent of health executives say the volume of data their organization manages has grown by more than fifty percent in the last year.1 As a result, Statista predicts public cloud IaaS hardware and infrastructure software spending will increase from $25 billion in 2015 to $173 billion by 2026.

Like all health organizations today, you rely more than ever on technology and data to drive efficiencies and gain intelligence in all areas of your organization. At the same time, you need to focus on diverse healthcare missions: improving quality of care and patient engagement, as well as staying competitive through leading-edge innovation and research. So how can you ensure your growing information infrastructure technology supports these goals?

By using the cloud.

To improve quality of care, you can take advantage of cloud-based document management and workflow systems or business analytics. You could also use the cloud to enable processes and data insights to be more easily connected and accessible across teams, departments, and organizations. To improve patient involvement, you may consider a patient portal that enables patients to get more insight into their disease or find the right health organizations near them. And to stay competitive, you might think about completely new areas, like using predictive analytics and high-performance computing for research projects or taking advantage of the Internet of Things to collect data from devices.

By relying on the trusted cloud to transform your organization and to support your diverse healthcare missions, you can also realize additional benefits and opportunities. The cloud enables you to implement new systems fast, reduce costs, and take advantage of the scalability of virtually unlimited resources for storage and computing power.

Charting your journey to the cloud

Once you’ve linked priorities from your mission statement to cloud-based business processes, you can take the next step: weighing the opportunities versus your concerns for each cloud project. Of course, you need to be concerned about Protected Health Information (PHI) data, but not all projects involve PHI or other sensitive data. That makes them less complex and potentially better candidates to start the journey to the cloud.

One way to help chart your journey is to develop a four-block diagram, mapping out your projects and where they fall in terms of opportunities and challenges. For example, you might put EMR projects in the upper-right corner of your diagram. That’s because putting an EMR in the cloud may generate many opportunities, but it isn’t the easiest workload to start with due to data sensitivity and potential implementation complexities. Instead, you might put projects that are high on the opportunity scale and low on the concern scale in the upper-left block.

Most health organizations will pursue projects that fall in the upper-left quadrant first.

Projects in the upper-right quadrant can follow in a later stage once your organization is more comfortable with the cloud.

Overcoming compliance challenges

Compliance is one of the biggest challenges all healthcare organizations face. You can confidently meet your compliance challenges by implementing cloud solutions from Microsoft and its partners.

Microsoft cloud technologies are designed to help payors, providers, public health and social services organizations, and life sciences and pharmaceutical services companies comply with a wide array of global regulations. Microsoft cloud agreements and certifications include:

  1. “2015 Healthcare IT Vision: Top 5 eHealth Trends.” Accenture, 2015.
  2. Public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hardware and software spending from 2015 to 2016, by segment (in billions of U.S. dollars).” Statista, 2016.

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