Cloud-based services and storage platforms have increasingly become integral to any healthcare organization’s IT environment. According to a HIMSS Analytics survey of healthcare organizations, 60% of organizations are using the cloud for backup and disaster recovery, and 51% are using the cloud for core clinical applications and data. However, a large-scale move to the cloud can be a complex endeavour that requires working through technology, operational and financial issues, with some hospitals and other healthcare facilities hesitant to proceed over concerns with how secure data is in the cloud. For this reason, many organizations have eased into the cloud wanting to take advantage of cloud-based services without disrupting their IT operations or completely moving over their data.
Why healthcare organizations are moving to the cloud?
With the introduction of cloud-based services, programs and data that was previously accessed from a specific location is now stored remotely and accessed anywhere, at any time, through the internet. Since technology is playing a larger role in the delivery of clinical care and health services to patients, hospitals and healthcare facilities have started to adopt cloud technology to improve their operations, have more flexibility when responding to changing market conditions, and to provide a higher level of care to patients. A BCC Research report published in January 2018 estimates that global spending on cloud computing for the healthcare sector will reach $35 billion by 2022.
Benefits of cloud-based solutions
Some of the benefits of moving to cloud-based solutions include:
Cloud-based solutions can address the changing needs of healthcare organizations unlike conventional on-premise systems. The scalability of the cloud can help hospitals and healthcare facilities manage large amounts of data, including electronic medical records, patient portals, mobile apps, medical devices, and data analytics.
While typically spending up to 75% of their IT budgets on maintaining internal systems, healthcare organizations are only required to pay for the resources they use with cloud-based solutions. In addition, any previous cost for keeping IT hardware and software up-to-date will be minimal. The majority of the costs to upgrade or maintain the IT infrastructure for cloud services, and hire skilled staff, would be the responsibility of the cloud service provider.
The strongest feature of cloud-based solutions is the security offered against outside or inside threats through the use of security controls, access controls, data encryption, monitoring and IT staff with security expertise to oversee the system. Data protection and disaster recovery are also one of the responsibilities of the cloud service provider to ensure your data always remains secure.
Barriers to adopting cloud-based solutions
While financial pressures and the need to reduce capital expenditure has driven the healthcare sector towards the cloud, trust in the security provided has slowed the transition. Although cloud-based services offer robust security features, some healthcare organizations are hesitant to move forward due to a fear that storing data outside of their organization puts the data at an even greater risk of loss or hacking. With sensitive patient information from addresses and social security numbers to payment information and health records moved to the cloud, healthcare organization are concerned about losing control over their important data.
At the same time, hospitals and other facilities who want to move to the cloud do not have the budget or are not prepared to invest in the resources required to keep data in the cloud secure. While cloud service providers ensure their infrastructure is equipped to manage denial of service attacks, disruption to service delivery and other breaches, healthcare organizations are also responsible on their end for control over data access, user credentials, and the protection of private data and critical applications.
Cloud-based solutions for better healthcare
Moving to the cloud is predicted to rapidly increase in the healthcare sector over the next few years as more and more cloud services become available on the market. However, even though cloud-based services provide robust protective measures for sensitive health and patient data, hospitals and healthcare facilities are taking a cautious approach to moving data to the cloud. Healthcare organizations planning to move to the cloud need to understand the division of security responsibilities between their organization and the cloud-service provider, and ensure their IT departments have the necessary resources. Overall, by moving data to the cloud, healthcare organizations can take advantage of the cloud’s scalability and security features to operate more efficiently, save costs and provide a higher level of care to their patients
Questica Budget Suite is a leading cloud-based healthcare and hospital budget software for preparing and managing operating, salaries and capital budgets. Questica has over 20 years of experience helping healthcare organizations move away from using spreadsheets to more efficient budgeting, staff planning, performance management, and transparency and stakeholder engagement. The budgeting process is more efficient and streamlined with Questica’s tailored work flows, change requests and interdepartmental allocations, user-defined fields and configurable entry screens. Users can collaborate on the budget and create reports, forecasts and what-if scenarios. Seamlessly integrating with ERP, financial, payroll, HR and patient systems, Questica Budget creates one version of data truth healthcare organizations can trust for fast, data-driven decision making. Questica Budget provides additional security features, such as track changes and an audit trail, assigned levels of security, and a system for submitting and approving proposed changes, to ensure the budget data remains protected.
To learn how Questica Budget Suite can help your hospital or healthcare facility budget securely and with efficiency, sign-up for one of our webinars.
For over 20 years, Questica been working with hospitals and healthcare facilities along with other public sector organizations (government agencies, higher education, K-12 schools and non-profits) to better enable data-driven budgeting and decision-making, while increasing data accuracy, saving time and improving stakeholder trust. Our customers are using our Questica Budget suite to drive budget transformation by creating a single source of data truth. Over 700 organizations across North America in 47 states and 11 provinces/territories have eliminated spreadsheets opting for smarter planning, budgeting, performance measures, management, reporting, transparency and engagement with our software solutions. To learn more about Questica and how our software solutions can help your hospital or healthcare facility – check out our resources and news/blog sections, or request a demo today!