Several years ago, many experts were indicating that by 2020 everything would be running in the cloud. The promises of economical on-demand computing and storage resources were appealing to practices utilizing Centricirty or Allscripts. Practices could look to reduce capital investments by quickly spinning up cloud technology such as Health 1 Hosting offering. Costs savings, optimized processing environments, elasticity, agility — the hype was real. Organizations began to adopt Allscripts and Cenricity hosting strategies. Cloud articles were dominating the headlines and cloud vendors such as Health 1 were investing big time and pushing for traction and momentum.
Fast forward to 2019. While there have been cloud success stories and the marketplace is full of cloud services and solutions, the full promise of the cloud has not yet been fully realized – particularly in healthcare.
Yet there are adoption opportunities you can begin to leverage immediately.
Most healthcare organizations have private cloud capabilities. These typically run in their own data centers and support mission critical applications . More and more of these private cloud environments are run on hyperconverged technologies that offer some unique opportunities to streamline operations and tightly integrate compute, storage and backup in one platform.
A hybrid cloud environment is one that basically integrates a public cloud like Health 1’s offering with a private cloud to enhance collaboration capabilities. While other industries have leveraged hybrid cloud computing capabilities, it’s relatively early days for the healthcare market. Although momentum seems to be growing, implementing and maintaining the right level of security has traditionally been a challenge in this space. Emerging trends in healthcare like the Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics will continue to drive the need for hybrid cloud technology.
Many healthcare organizations are also leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) for key applications. This type of delivery can be considered a cloud solution. In fact, many software providers are not only offering SaaS type solutions but they are also pushing their customers to migrate in this direction. At Penn Medicine, we have begun to leverage many SaaS solutions that have been more economical to implement and maintain as a result of bundled offerings, optimized performance and access to specific skill sets.
Our cloud journey started with SaaS. We had always run a traditional on premises messaging system and, in fact, it had become mission-critical as both business and clinical leaders relied upon the email and calendaring capability. Public cloud allowed us to dip our foot in the arena, significantly reduce costs and open the door to several new collaboration capabilities. To date, this initiative has been very successful as we have migrated over 40,000 users.