Mastering Cloud Technology in Healthcare Industry

In the early 2000s, healthcare institutions rushed to the cloud—but the cloud migration rush slowed its pace in the industry due to concerns over security and compliance. Today, with a hybrid cloud environment, healthcare institutions can safely and reliably use the cloud. Learn more about healthcare’s cloud journey in this article.

Mastering Cloud Technology in Healthcare Industry
Mastering Cloud Technology in Healthcare Industry. Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Table of contents

15 years of cloud – what’s next for healthcare?
Evolving fundamentals
The future in motion: building healthcare applications
Finding confidence in the face of cloud uncertainty
Your key to success: VMware Cloud Foundation

15 years of cloud – what’s next for healthcare?

The history of healthcare cloud computing is still being written
Despite a frenzied initial sprint into the cloud during the early 2000s, healthcare institutions have moved at a slower pace – with good reason.

Public cloud possibilities emerged at a time when healthcare information compliance rules and security policies were becoming increasingly strict.

This left IT decision-makers in a tough spot. They were tasked with driving modernization, elevating clinical outcomes, improving the patient experience, and maintaining mission-critical privacy. And all of this on a reduced budget.

But even as healthcare continued to lag in cloud adoption, industry dynamics were shifting. The initial promise of a single unified cloud paradigm faded, replaced by a realization that the future of the cloud would be infinitely more complex. It became clear that any single organizational cloud would need to be built with a mix of private, public, and on-premises components. The continuum from a software-defined data center to true cloud computing would be a two-way path, as workloads were migrated, repatriated, and reconsidered.

This new approach promised the advantages of lower capital expenditure, faster time to market, and opportunities to innovate without compromising privacy or security. A right-sized cloud environment spanning both on-premises and public cloud instances has emerged as the ideal path forward. But what, in reality, awaits the organizations that choose to follow this route?

Evolving fundamentals

Unlocking freedom and full cloud effectiveness for healthcare organizations
Today’s more flexible view of the cloud can unlock real freedom for healthcare providers and payers.

The ability to build solutions that quickly meet evolving demands from patients and clinicians. Answers that scale as organizations grow and change, while never compromising strict standards on security, manageability, and cost.

This is full cloud effectiveness, enabling leading healthcare organizations to:

Build faster from application to infrastructure. Whether modernizing infrastructure services or crafting state-of-the-art clinical experiences, healthcare teams can bring ideas to the market with greater speed and confidence.

Sense wider and leverage the power of connected intelligence. Healthcare transformation has long been driven by meaningful machine-to-machine communication, and a smart cloud strategy can ensure maximum IoT impact.

Solve deeper by deploying advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence. Whether it’s faster paths to a clinical answer or insights that enable resource efficiency and resiliency, a dynamic hybrid cloud lets data experts do their best work.

Collaborate better across disciplines and distances, with solutions designed with common tools and data sets. This enables cooperation without overcomplication.

These fundamentals can only be achieved through a new vision of the cloud. Flexible, multi-everything, easily managed. In this vision, the cloud doesn’t constrain strategic thinking – it gives clinical, business, and technology leaders a platform for innovating with confidence.

50% of healthcare IT cloud workloads will be deployed on-premises in the coming year.

The future in motion: building healthcare applications

In a software-defined healthcare environment, innovation comes to life through applications
Whether it’s clinical tools, patient offerings, or critical internal services, an organization’s priorities live and breathe in the software it creates. Traditionally, software design was completely constrained by infrastructure choices. This meant building for very specific environments, with each variable adding to the cost and complexity.

The cloud solves for this by giving developers and operations teams a ‘bubble of consistency’ that enables them to focus on writing code, not configuring details. This portability is critical to being able to generate meaningful healthcare innovation for both missions and business models.

  • Build and test applications once using the very best development tools for the job
  • Manage applications using common tools and interfaces that leverage existing skillsets
  • Scale applications up and out, extending reach and functionality
  • Share solutions between locations or with strategic partners
  • Secure applications, users, and information to HIPAA and other standards

It is this consistency, the single lens and lever, that is so critical to transformational success. This is where development and operations meet, and where the cloud can help healthcare payers and providers stretch to meet immense needs with finite resources.

50% of survey respondents said cross-cloud application portability was a critical IT goal.

Finding confidence in the face of cloud uncertainty

Designing healthcare cloud solutions has always been difficult, and each step forward can be a make-or-break decision
It’s one of the reasons public cloud and everything-as-a-service are so attractive – you can offload worry and workload at the same time. But healthcare has always been unique, requiring more creative technology problem-solving for organizations and their vendors.

Combined with compliance and security concerns, cloud computing in healthcare continues to demand big ideas that extend well past technology, solving for complex interconnected challenges.

Existing investments in hardware and software guide decision-making. Rip-and-replace solutions, be they hardware or software, are simply too costly in most situations.

EHR compatibility is a necessity, and avoiding cloud vendor lock-in gives greater flexibility to interface with Epic, Cerner, and other healthcare-specific technologies.

Collaboration across departments and locations around critical services makes moving, changing, or replacing the technology behind these services potentially very disruptive.

Increased scrutiny on information security continues to impact cloud strategies, even as hybrid- and multi-cloud environments become standard.

Surprise costs are a risk, given evolving cloud economics and the potential for opaque service terms

It’s not just cloud technology moving at a rapid pace. Market economics and regulators are continually fluctuating as well, making each step forward fundamental to what comes next.

Your key to success: VMware Cloud Foundation

Consistent infrastructure and consistent operations wherever workloads are deployed
As healthcare providers and payers build their modern, multi, hybrid clouds, unification and consistency present a challenge. By deploying VMware® Cloud Foundation™ (VCF) everywhere, you can manage infrastructure and applications in the cloud, with the same tools, teams, skills, policies, and standards that you use today in the data center – leveraging existing investments to unlock what’s next.

Converged performance: VCF enables converged performance inside the software-defined data center while also bringing storage, compute, and network together in building-block modularity that makes your services easier to build, run, extend, and secure. The ability to innovate and unify at the same time, integrating legacy systems into a more adaptive infrastructure, is key.

Consistent DevOps: You trust your team to move your mission forward, and they trust VMware for the same reason. You get a single operating model for all of your applications, based on the most proven and widely deployed cloud infrastructure in the world. Use the VMware tools and infrastructure your organization already trusts to migrate applications freely between environments – without the cost, complexity, or risk of refactoring.

Deep elasticity and choice: VCF enables healthcare organizations to quickly scale on demand. In the past, accommodating spikes in demand often meant inefficient use of resources during slower times or unanticipated expenses in a public cloud. Whether you need to keep up with seasonal enrollments, or an unusually intense flu season, VCF enables workloads to be brought into the cloud on an as-needed basis. This maximizes both efficiency and economics, making the very best use of both your time and resources. It also gives healthcare decision-makers the confidence of real stability.

Providers may come and go, but decoupling applications from infrastructure means no downtime, disruption, or lock-in, no matter where your cloud roadmap takes you.

Source: VMware

Thomas Apel Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.