Cloud is more than a place to store data; it has become an ecosystem of tools for enterprises to make the most of their business. For healthcare organizations, cloud models can improve business agility, enhance employee utilization, and refocus resources to more value-added initiatives. Other key factors driving the migration of healthcare workloads to the cloud include cost predictability and the ability to shift the risk burden while improving regulatory compliance and scalability.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings have significant momentum, as applications designed for deployment and consumption in the cloud gain greater adoption. Collaboration tools were early targets; however, as public cloud infrastructure offerings have matured, the major EHR, clinical, financial, back-office, and HR system vendors have developed applications specifically for the cloud. As healthcare organizations look to upgrade, replace, or re-implement their core application suites due to age or other initiatives, the cloud provides sufficient benefits to warrant serious consideration.
Cloud vs. On Premises
While the cloud offers clear advantages such as reduced up-front infrastructure costs, speed, and the ability to add and remove server and storage resources on demand, it requires an upfront comprehensive analysis of risks and readiness. The impact to system customizations, integrations, support, and security are all factors that must be carefully considered.
Organizations often customize on-premises systems to better meet specific business processes. Some of these customizations are created to support proprietary business functions, while others are often related to having the system conform to the way business has always been done.
In contrast, cloud-native SaaS applications are typically standardized to foster straightforward, frequent updates with minimal impact to users. While cloud applications offer a degree of customization to tailor the setup and performance of systems to meet an organization’s unique requirements, the amount of customization is limited. Organizations migrating core applications to the cloud must evaluate whether the lack of complete control over the behavior of the software outweighs the advantages provided by the cloud.
While it’s true that a healthcare organization can migrate its existing core clinical, financial, back-office, and HR systems or HR systems to the cloud as-is, with all business-specific modifications intact (i.e., “lift and shift”), many of the benefits associated with a cloudnative application would be negated. With lift and shift, the periodic cost spikes associated with software patches and version upgrades would remain, along with the continued costs of maintaining application support staff. Nonetheless, modernizing the organization’s core application suite and deploying it to the cloud may provide the most advantageous, cost-effective solution.
Learn why cloud is prevailing in healthcare, along with key considerations and preparations to take when looking at cloud migration. You can download our guide here, or fill out the form below.