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Survey Shows Growth in Cloud-Based Health IT Infrastructure

A new survey shows prominent and continuing growth of cloud-based health IT infrastructure to increase operations and lower cost.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Eighty-nine percent of healthcare organizations are currently using cloud-based health IT infrastructure, including cloud-based apps, according to a new survey from SADA Systems, and the vast majority of providers are likely to increase their investment in these tools over the next few years.

Survey shows growth in cloud

The survey, which included responses from more than 300 health IT professionals, also found that 58 percent of organizations not currently using cloud today are likely to do so within the next two years.

“Cloud-based IT infrastructure and applications are apparently providing healthcare organizations the opportunity to operate more efficiently, innovate faster and better engage so-called Millennials,” said Tony Safoian, president and CEO at SADA Systems.

Forty-five percent of healthcare organizations are using between six and ten cloud-based apps for tasks such as email, patient care, and file sharing, the poll revealed.

“This is consistent with what we’re hearing from customers and partners,” Safoain added. “Cloud apps and tools that connect administrators to suppliers, doctors to patients and hospitals to staff are increasingly important – not only because they improve productivity and enhance patient care and satisfaction, but because they distinguish modern organizations from legacy providers, which is attractive to the younger generation of healthcare users.”

Other reasons why healthcare organizations have been favoring cloud technology include the ability to decrease burdens on the IT department and increased confidence in cloud security.  

Adventist Health is one provider that has recently embraced end-to-end cloud deployment.  

"We wanted to modernize our systems by moving to the cloud, but we also wanted a single, unified solution that comprehensively addressed a wide range of our business areas, with room to grow,” Adventist Health Vice-President Chip Dickinson said in a public statement.

Adventist Health is a nonprofit integrated health system with an aging infrastructure supporting more than 30,000 employees. By adopting a cloud infrastructure, Adventist Health plans to enable future growth.

Aging health IT infrastructures can still support current operations for healthcare organizations, but embracing a modern and scalable infrastructure can lower costs on maintenance, and ease integration of future healthcare technology elements.  

Adventist Health will be implementing cloud solutions from Oracle to help optimize their network across financials, procurement and portfolio management, with the ultimate goal of increasing efficiency while reducing the cost managing and maintaining their health IT infrastructure.

Healthcare organization and system growth is a large incentive for institutions to make a similar move to Adventist Health. The adoption rate of inward facing medical technology like virtualization and custom mobile application development are easier to integrate into an infrastructure already braced to accept them.

The use of inward and outward facing cloud-based apps for healthcare providers is growing, the SADA Systems survey added.   “Healthcare organizations are increasing their use of mobile devices. Laptops (adopted by 88 percent of organizations), tablets (80 percent) and smartphones (77 percent) are most common, but wearables (24 percent adoption) are gaining traction in healthcare organizations, too,” the poll said.

The adoption of end-to-end cloud-based infrastructure in the healthcare organization is continuing to trend upwards as patients and healthcare workers alike are embracing the efficiency of healthcare apps.

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