Today’s healthcare market is all a buzz about the cloud. In fact, it is being featured at the upcoming HIMSS conference as one of the top 6 “hot topics.” A notable ranking considering the endless list of high priority initiatives healthcare organizations are currently undertaking (for example building ACOs, achieving Meaningful Use, and how could we forget, transitioning ICD-10?) The irony is that despite all the hype around cloud technology, adoption rates in the healthcare space remain relatively low. In my opinion, strangely low. A recent study done by KLAS found, “Only 58% of healthcare CIOs interviewed are considering using cloud computing, only 35% who expressed interest in cloud technology said they have any concrete plans to implement it.”
One can’t help but to question, if everyone is talking about it, why isn’t everyone using it? My guess is that much like any new technology; cloud storage is a victim of the risk adverse buyer. Many see value in adopting the technology but prefer to wait for early adopters to weed out the bugs and troubleshoot the problems. That way, when they finally do decide to implement it, they are getting the more refined, more efficient version. It’s hard to argue with that strategy – but I’ve always liked a good argument so you can bet I’m going to try.
Take a look at the flip side. The longer healthcare providers wait to adopt cloud storage, which will inevitably become the norm in the healthcare industry, the longer they will forego the benefits. And, let’s not forget, the technology has matured vastly in a very short period of time. Providers are using it today and already realizing significant benefits in the form of cost savings, improved accessibility, and enhanced disaster recovery. All that considered, is there really any significant benefit to being a laggard or late adopter? I’d have to argue no.
I’m not alone in my thoughts on this. In fact, a recent InformationWeek article featured Ken Rubin, VP of Healthcare Division at Iron Mountain, addressing this very idea. In the article, Rubin candidly recognizes healthcare CIOs’ apprehension to adopting cloud services but continues on to strongly encourage CIOs to take a second look at the technology. Why? He believes that with consideration of 5 Key Criteria healthcare providers can not only begin realizing the benefits of the cloud today, but can do so while meeting HIPAA regulations. If you agree with Ken’s train of thought, as I do, then there would be no reason to wait. You’d simply be prolonging the time it takes to reap the rewards of cloud technology, and increasing the costs and headaches associated with managing your ever-growing volume of data in between. But I suppose that’s the question, isn’t it? Where do you stand on the matter? For those planning to attend HIMSS 2012, how seriously are you considering the adoption cloud storage for your organization? If you aren’t, what is it most holding you back?
Going to HIMSS 2012? Learn how to Make Medical Data More Useful when you visit Iron Mountain at booth #2558 during the HIMSS 2012 Conference. And be sure to follow me on Twitter @MichellePaster and use the hastag #HIMSS12 to follow the event.
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