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15 pts.
 Benefits of cloud in a hosptial setting?
What are the real benefits of transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure in a hospital setting, and likewise the main challenges, security risks? How should the approach for a hospital-wide transition vs. a smaller practice setting differ?
ASKED: April 16, 2010  6:35 PM
UPDATED: April 20, 2010  6:24 pm

Answer Wiki:
I believe that the benefits for cloud computing are independent of the industry that applies them. For clarity, let me assume the following definitions: Cloud Computing is a style of computing where elastically and dynamically scalable computing resources are delivered via Internet technologies. (This enables cloud vendors to charge on a per server per minute, per MByte of storage, per KByte of data transferred and allows customers to spin up a new resource only for the time it's needed). I also assume that you're talking about a "public cloud", i.e. one that is hosted by a third party as opposed to in your own IT department. With that out of the way, the big question for public cloud computing is around data ownership, service level agreements, and data security. You would have to think carefully about how your data, which you access and modify while giving patient care in your facilities makes it to the infrastructure in the cloud and how you secure it. You may have the backend database of your EMR system still in your own data center, but deploy application or desktop servers into the cloud. The communication becomes a bit more complicated, but the flexibility and agility of your IT department certainly increases. At this time, I'd anticipate a lot of organizations play with the cloud and start moving new applications or burst capacity into the cloud. Over the long run, application vendors will offer cloud-based hosting models to lower their own cost and provide more flexibility to their customers. Privacy and Security in healthcare are obviously big topics, but the success of salesforce.com, where organizations put their most sensistive data and transactions into the cloud, shows that these concerns can be overcome. Feel free to share the types of applications you have in mind and I may be able to provide a more nuanced answer. Florian twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/florianbecker">@florianbecker</a> <a href="http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/healthitexchange/virtualizationpulse/">Virtualization Pulse Blog</a>
Last Wiki Answer Submitted:  April 16, 2010  8:20 pm  by  FlorianB   195 pts.
All Answer Wiki Contributors:  FlorianB   195 pts.
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Last month we interviewed the CTO and CSO of the Rockford (Ill.) Health System about how that system is using cloud storage services to back up medical images and other patient records unlikely to be accessed all that often. This has actually opened up space in Rockford Health’s data center. Such a strategy, though not a panacea, may be worth consideration.

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