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Orgs Control the Cloud with Healthcare Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Organizations looking for cloud benefits without onsite hardware maintenance should consider healthcare Infrastructure-as-a-Service for their tools.

healthcare infrastructure as a service

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is becoming more popular as organizations see the value in hosting and managing their own IT infrastructure tools and systems.

IaaS includes hardware and software components, giving administrators more control over their cloud environment. IaaS gives organizations self-service options, broad network access, resource pooling, and elasticity. Many IaaS solutions may include PaaS and SaaS solutions as part of the deployment.

The benefits of IaaS continue as organizations go through digital transformations. The scalability and on demand resources make IaaS flexible for temporary workloads or data migrations, according to a recent Research and Markets report.

IaaS solutions give IT administrators a deeper control over their infrastructure with more cloud components. This means IaaS providers have a broad set of solutions collectively working together to form the IaaS deployment.

Organizations also have access to self-service interfaces for web-based deployments, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) for app building. IaaS is also available in both public and private cloud offerings.

According to the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, IaaS is a solid option for organizations that allows organizations to do the following:

  • Face the expense of a technology or hardware refresh  
  • Prepare to implement EHR solutions that require complex environments
  • Overcome being short-staffed due to changing needs or loss of experienced IT professionals  
  • Obtain a disaster recovery environment outside their own region  
  • Overcome concerns about ePHI security or other compliance issues (HIPAA compliant providers).
  • Seek a more predictable cost structure.

Many organizations cannot afford the outright costs of expensive on-premises hardware. Hardware also doesn’t often have a high ROI, especially if an organization is using any kind of cloud service. If the hardware is no longer needed, it will sit in a datacenter unused.

Organizations can deploy EHRs on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) deployments. However IaaS gives IT more control over their EHR if the organization has any specific needs that are restricted on SaaS and PaaS solutions.

IaaS takes the physical deployment and on-site maintenance out of the IT infrastructure. For example, IaaS server solutions allow organizations to rent off-site servers for an agreed upon scheduled payment. This payment includes server maintenance, which takes the worry and effort out of the hands of on-site staff. As an organization grows, more server space can be rented.

Expanding server space without investing in hardware is crucial for entities that need to grow their infrastructure to meet increasing digital demands. IaaS makes it easier for organizations to replace legacy systems with the most current equivalent in the cloud and gives entities the opportunity to use the latest cloud-based technology provided by the vendor.

Replacing legacy solutions can be overwhelming and expensive, but a scalable cloud is flexible enough to accommodate for dated infrastructure tools while organizations are waiting to replace the older tools.

The vendor maintains the solution instead of the organization owning the hardware and performing maintenance. Repairs or updates don’t need to be performed on-site, which saves organizations time and money on on-premises staff maintaining the machines. IaaS allows for a more predictable cost structure because unexpected service interruptions are uncommon, and repairs are included in the flat rate paid every payment period.

Implementing IaaS solutions makes it easier for organizations to add additional cloud deployments onto their infrastructure smoothly because there is no limit on space and how much organizations can scale out. IaaS also simplifies how organizations can add tools to their cloud infrastructure.

Healthcare organizations that want the flexibility and cost savings of a cloud environment, but the control of an on-premises infrastructure should consider an IaaS solution. IaaS gives IT staff the benefit of control with the convenience of off-site maintenance.