Does the cloud offer hype or hope for healthcare?

Profile picture for user Steve Fanning By Steve Fanning May 18, 2015
Summary:
Infor's Steve Fanning outlines five reasons healthcare providers are looking past the hype and have started adopting cloud ERP solutions

Doctors in a research station with digital touch screen © Luis Louro - Fotolia.com
There’s a lot of hype around ‘cloud’ these days — it’s a buzzword. And while we all may be tired of playing buzzword bingo, in this case, there are core reasons for all the excitement. I’m going to share some of those reasons, along with some of the very real advantages we’re seeing from our healthcare customer base through cloud deployments and upgrades.

About 18 months ago we didn’t see strong executive interest in moving to the cloud, but in the last 12 months we have literally seen a switch get thrown. Customers that have deployed on our ERP solutions have increased their move to the cloud many fold. I’ve outlined below the five main reasons we hear from customers who have made the cloud migration.

  1. Cost. Now more than ever, with reimbursement models shifting from value to volume, providers need to be able to manage their costs. Aberdeen mirrors this finding in its report: Replace or Upgrade ERP in the Cloud to Improve Service and Remove Obstacles. The report says cloud technology is an emerging trend for all types of organizations, mainly because of the lower total cost of ownership.
  2. Ease of use. Healthcare organizations are moving beyond their four walls to encompass pre-acute and post-acute settings through acquisitions and partnerships with others to complete their continuum of care. Whatever solutions healthcare organizations use must be easy to use, and able to bundle payments and equitably divide reimbursements. All of this forces providers to look for external solutions for anything that is not solely focused on care delivery, and that is driving more healthcare organizations to the cloud.
  3. Upgrades and improvements. The cloud also brings the opportunity to benefit from software vendors that constantly upgrade and improve their products. At Infor, we make continuous investments in our software to make the user experience as seamless and easy to use as possible. It’s difficult for our customers to benefit from that when they’re spending their time on maintaining a dated system.
  4. Performance. Your organization needs to function as efficiently as possible when it comes to fundamental functions, like payroll processing, invoice updates, and patient billing, for example. It’s so important from a user’s perspective to have everything running quickly and smoothly to be efficient and effective in their work. Sometimes it’s difficult to achieve that when your IT department doesn’t have the opportunity to benefit from new and updated hardware and software. Upgrading via the cloud offers a solution to this challenge.
  5. Security. Healthcare organizations need to adhere to HIPAA and Hi-Tech guidelines, and they want the assurance that the vendor they work with has secured those attestations. Ultimately, the healthcare organization’s goal is to avoid any non-compliance penalties. In Infor’s case, we’ve partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This means AWS takes ownership and control for compliance at the infrastructure level, while we focus on compliance at the application level. Sharing the load in this way allows us to gain overall compliance at a faster rate than would otherwise be the case.

In addition to Infor's ERP cloud solutions, we are in the process of developing a new, clinical cloud offering that will allow the entire healthcare community to capitalize on investments made in electronic health records (EHRs). This new solution will enable organizations to connect data across disparate health applications, collect and store that data in its original form, leverage the power of new data models to make the information meaningful, and expose it for secondary uses, such as bio surveillance and comparative effectiveness.

So while there’s plenty of hype surrounding cloud migrations in healthcare, there is plenty of hope that moving to the cloud will help providers better manage costs, improve performance, and maintain security of patient records.

Please share your healthcare organization’s plans to move to the cloud. If you aren’t planning on making the move, why not?

Image credit: Doctors with touch screen © Luis Louro - Fotolia.com.