“Health care cloud implementation” has become a trending topic, thanks to some of our peers in the health IT media and KLAS, which recently released a survey on cloud use among providers. More on that later.
As American Medical News points out, it’s probably even bigger – because many providers who use software-as-a-service vendors such as Web-based EHRs don’t know that it’s part of the cloud in our health IT geek-speak lexicon. Smaller providers are jumping in left and right, because they feel the cost and security benefits outstrip their own capabilities.
Hospitals, on the other hand, are more measured in their approach to cloud services, having trust issues with cloud vendors – in general, they don’t like to give their data to third parties. Secondarily, they don’t trust the vendor’s ability to understand and manage HIPAA compliance. Ken Terry of FierceHealthIT wrote that “cloud computing will become the norm” in health care, once these issues are sorted out.
As promised, some stats from the KLAS survey, titled Path To Cloud Computing Foggy: Perception Study 2011:
- 58% of the survey respondents were CIOs, with IT manager and IT director accounting for another 27% and the remainder rounded out with medical records directors, physicians/CMIOs and other c-suite execs.
- Among facilities responding to the survey, most clinics and more than half of hospitals up to 1,000 are considering putting some data into the cloud. Of the 11 hospitals larger than 1,000 beds that participated, only three are considering it.
- 71% of providers, overall – led by physician groups – are either in the cloud already or are planning to employ cloud services.
- Different sized organizations use the cloud for different purposes – smaller organizations might realize cost savings, midsize organizations might use it to fulfill disaster recovery mandates, etc. – and different applications (email, PACS, EHR) find their way into the cloud depending on the size of the health care organization.
Further advancing the concept that cloud has come to health care – and those providers not yet using it are merely in denial – is a separate KLAS project, its EHR vendor ratings annual survey announced earlier this week. The top ambulatory EHR award for midsize practices (11-75 physicians) went to Athenahealth, a cloud vendor.