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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Apr 10 2011   8:32PM GMT

A look at cloud services in health care



Posted by: RedaChouffani
cloud, cloud computing, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Information technology continues to see significant evolution, now more than ever, as the industry is truly on the verge of changing the way health IT infrastructures are managed, provisioned and protected. Cloud computing has become a new staple in health care IT, providing infrastructure from servers, virtual desktops, and unified messaging on demand.

We also continue to see growth in the hospital market. With more physicians aligning with hospitals systems and IDNs, executives and health IT leaders are looking for new ways to scale out their infrastructures while providing a measurable ROI for the organization.

Currently the market offers several models from which to pick, the selection needing to be based on organizational needs and future goals.

PaaS (Platform-as-a-service): In this model, a hospital would either have access to a private or public platform as a service. It will enable the organization to deploy a set of solutions (EHR, RIS, billing) without having to bear the burden of the hardware and software costs associated with those applications.

SaaS (Software-as-a-service): For this model, we actually see some hospitals providing this service to practices and physician affiliates. This model provides access to a software product (a web based EHR, for example) as a service without any hardware requirements. Some hospitals may decide to work with EHR vendors to gain access to their solutions via this model as well.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service): With some of the hospitals expanding their reach into smaller communities and rural areas, it becomes challenging to have to try and deploy new IT infrastructure from servers, software, VoIP, networking and technicians. This IaaS model eliminates the complexity, long deployment cycles and costs associated with the equipment.

Many organizations have adopted a variety of these service models and have been able to capture a realized ROI. The bottom line is that these models allow providers and IT leaders with the ability to provision and utilize servers, take advantage networking capabilities, and access storage on demand. These offerings will ensure that health IT leaders can continue to focus their efforts on other projects, from meaningful use and HIPAA 5010 compliance, to ICD10 implementation and more.

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