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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 31 2011   10:35PM GMT

Concerns around IaaS in healthcare

Posted by: RedaChouffani
CIO, healthcare, IaaS

In a recent meeting with an industry colleauge and fellow health care consultant, we were discussing the trend of CIOs looking more closely at the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) model. And given the current economic climate and shrinking capital budgets, this model is proving to be an increasingly attractive option.

Initially, IaaS is worth the consideration to many simply because it does not require a costly, up-front capital investment to get started. However, there are several other considerations that need to be raised prior to engaging in a full IaaS.

With IaaS, the service provider is responsible for delivering support for all the IT areas, which is both convenient and cost effective. An IaaS model also allows for a better way to truly measure and quantify the ROI and direct value to the IT department via cost savings and productivity tracking, as compiling and aligning organizational IT spend on a monthly basis with what is generated in terms of tangible revenue is not a simple task.

One concern that needs careful consideration, however, is that some of the IaaS providers will only offer limited standard support, which will require that additional resources be supplemented to fill the gap in support for business specific applications, such as RIS, EHR, etcs.

The next area of concern is regarding the integration capability of the system.While the systems are hosted in state of the art data centers with high redundancy and system protection, a hospital’s integration requirements are growing in complexity.Integration amongst medical equipment and different systems should be discussed with the service provider to ensure support is adequate. In addition, some hospitals may use multiple IaaS providers, which means that each of the service providers must have the ability to interface and integrate with one another.

Adopting IaaS can be a great model, though it requires careful consideration. Identifying the benefits and looking at service providers who meets health care regulatory guidelines and organizational cost requirements is a great place to start.

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