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Healthcare Cloud Addresses Specific HIT Infrastructure Needs

The latest Forrester Wave report highlights how the healthcare cloud can address specific organizational needs to improve HIT infrastructure.

Healthcare cloud supports improved HIT infrastructure.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are digitizing their HIT infrastructures and most are looking to the healthcare cloud to improve their flexibility and scalability in the face of more advanced technology.

Forrester Research recently released its latest Wave report for enterprise health clouds, highlighting the current and future demands healthcare organizations need from their cloud solutions. The report also noted top vendors in the space.

“The enterprise health cloud market is growing in large part due to healthcare CIOs increasingly realizing that digital transformation is necessary to advance efforts to better engage patients,” said report authors. “Enterprise health cloud vendors act as strategic partners to forward-thinking healthcare organizations, advising them on top digital experience creation decisions.”

The report found that healthcare is behind all other industries when it comes to cloud adoption.

“Healthcare CIOs prioritize regulatory requirements at the expense of digital transformation, mistakenly putting their faith in siloed systems of record vendors,” report authors continued. “After a decade of watching healthcare organizations struggle with data interoperability challenges, true tech giants and innovators are bringing their experiences from other highly regulated industries to offer a breadth of solutions.”

Many of the top cloud service providers have made a significant effort to release healthcare specific cloud solutions with health IT infrastructure issues in mind, the report showed. This effort was often because of healthcare’s generally slow cloud adoption.

Many healthcare cloud solutions help organizations deal with interoperability issues, reduce IT infrastructure costs, and meet regulatory and compliance standards.

Healthcare cloud takes data from EHRs as well as other data sources such as Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices.

“EHC platforms weave data from these sources using a common data definition so that data stewards can create enterprise wide policies that comply with HIPAA Protected Health Information (PHI) requirements,” the report explained “They enable a clean, comprehensive data set that is ready for use across the enterprise.” 

Consolidating this data using the cloud allows organizations to drive patient insights with advanced analytics and engage clinicians and patients with apps designed for their specific needs.

The interoperability the cloud offers gives healthcare organizations the trusted data they need to run advanced and accurate analytics, the report found. Entities can examine data from entire care teams, EHRs, and medical devices to create and accurate diagnosis.

The cloud also enables the development and deployment of custom healthcare apps that improve workflow and communication among clinicians and patients.

The report advises that CIOs consider their unique needs and internal capabilities when considering which healthcare cloud service provider to go with. The types of vendors included in the report fall into three types of categories:

  • Those that enable advanced analytics with out-of-the-box capabilities
  • Those that focus on a platform for custom apps
  • Those that thrive in traditional analytics

Salesforce, IBM, and Medable all offer prebuilt apps and provide cater to organizations that are looking to embrace or improve upon current analytics initiatives.

Kinvey, CloudMine, Microsoft, and ClearDATA offer organizations a solid infrastructure framework to support other cloud-based tools and applications. They give organizations the flexibility to build their own custom apps or work with third party developers to build role-specific apps.

SAS, NTT, and MphRx will help organizations looking to increase their population health and data visualization capabilities. Prebuilt dashboards let IT staff build custom reports internally.

Forrester believes that the increased healthcare specific developments from cloud service providers will end the “dark ages of health IT.” Healthcare cloud is becoming more advanced and is no longer an all-encompassing term for a single technology. Healthcare organizations can choose vendors based on their needs and build a cloud-based health IT infrastructure that will save money and allow them to be more productive. 

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