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CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF


ENSURE A SAFE, SEAMLESS TRANSITION TO HEALTHCARE CLOUD COMPUTING


2


BY ED MOYLE C


OMPARED to other industries, healthcare providers have a much bigger source of technology complexity to contend with: the


clinical environment. The clinical side of the house represents a hodgepodge of specialized systems where everything from infusion pumps to imaging modalities share data using specialized protocols (HL7) via a “spider Web” of complicated interfaces. Given this complexity, healthcare cloud computing


is both appealing and challenging. Off-premise cloud computing solutions—in particular the IaaS model that allows a virtualized but still flexible substrate—promise to reduce IT footprint. Reducing the size of the on-campus data center would remove a notorious IT pain point for institutional providers. But there’s also a challenge because stability of the clinical environment is so closely tied to patient safety. A move to the cloud in the clinical space can be


extremely compelling, but obviously needs to be done in a way that doesn’t compromise patient safety or the organization’s HIPAA compliance status.


The Secret to Success


Is Starting Small First, it’s important to understand and analyze both


what systems will move—and when—well in advance of a move. It doesn’t make sense to move each and every system. For example, while it may be possible to virtualize and


move off-premises a traffic-hungry, processor-intensive system like an image processing system, it may not be the smartest move. Bandwidth is already the bane of diagnostic imaging departments industry-wide, so increasing latency by routing traffic off site isn’t a good idea. And it’s not just traffic—moving an EMR system without a plan for how to access patient charts in the event of a communications outage isn’t the best idea either.


Rely on Realistic Scheduling Also, when to virtualize is an important consideration.


Many organizations, eager to realize the financial benefits associated with moving to the cloud, sometimes lock in to “hard cutover” dates. They may, for example (anticipating


CONNECTION


VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 1


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