Healthcare Cloud Use Prevalent, Poised to Spread, HIMSS Says
Survey results from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's analytics arm says more than 80 percent of organizations use cloud services, primarily to host apps and data. Concerns remain, particularly around security and uptime, but most users seem optimistic.
As this is HIMSS Analytics’ inaugural cloud use survey, there’s no historical baseline for comparison, though its findings are consistent with research released last fall regarding healthcare cloud use trends and this February about the And additional research suggests cloud’s potential to disrupt healthcare IT. In fact, the HIMSS Analytics survey of 150 healthcare IT professionals — the bulk of whom were CIOs (79) or IT directors (49) — suggests that cloud use has risen dramatically in just the last few months.
There seem to be many reasons why, according to survey respondents, including lower costs (56 percent), faster deployment (53 percent) and a lack of staff able to maintain on-premises systems (52 percent). Nearly two-thirds of respondents describe their primary cloud usage model as software as a service. Moreover, the bulk prefer the private cloud, with 37 percent classifying their cloud computing model as “private” and 36 percent calling it “hybrid.” (Only 23 percent called their cloud model “public.”)
Cloud Considerations for Healthcare
Many factors come into play when selecting a cloud service provider. Not surprisingly, willingness to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement is most important (65 percent), followed closely by physical and technical security (64 percent), compliance (61 percent), customer service (60 percent) and administrative security (57 percent).
Concerns about cloud adoption do remain. For example, roughly one-third of respondents report slow responsiveness for hosted applications. (That said, only 15 percent see a failure to meet promised service levels as grounds for terminating a business relationship.) What’s more, of the respondents who have yet to adopt cloud services, 35 percent have no plans to do so.
The conclusion to the HIMSS Analytics cloud survey, then, states a bit of the obvious: Healthcare organizations taking the first step to implement cloud services plan to keep walking, while those who aren’t “do not appear overly anxious to begin the implementation and adoption of cloud services.”
The infographic below, provided by HIMSS Analytics, summarizes the survey’s findings and also notes the top current and planned use cases for cloud services in healthcare.
Brian Eastwood is a senior editor for CIO.com with more than 10 years of experience writing, editing and producing content for newspapers and the Web. He is primarily responsible for working with CIO.com's contributors and columnists, who cover topics such as cloud computing, big data, development and architecture, personal tech, the IT channel, business applications, BYOD, consumerization and business / project management. Brian's specific area of interest and expertise is healthcare IT. Prior to CIO.com, Brian was an editor at TechTarget and a newspaper reporter in the Boston suburbs. Outside the office, Brian is a history buff with a particular interest in postwar Europe and a runner who recently finished his 11th marathon.