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Is Your Cloud Coverage Looking Overcast? Find the Silver Lining Below.


T isn’t yet obvious to the IT folks in the trenches, or even to analysts and soothsayers who make their living trend spotting, but 2012 may end up

as the year of the healthcare cloud.

Providers are increasingly looking for solutions to real-life problems brought on by jammed-full data centers that can’t expand one more inch despite increasing data-storage needs from electronic health record (EHR) implementation and meaningful use, ICD-10 compliance and record retention rules, as well as accountable care organizations and other quality-based incentive programs that breed more patient care documentation.

The Year of the Cloud In 2010, the general feeling of many healthcare practitioners—and the IT folks serving them—toward cloud computing services was, “over my dead body.” In 2011, some practitioners embraced the cloud. Cloud EHRs gained steam in the marketplace, the radiology specialty launched a unique image-sharing platform, and telemedicine initiatives connected in-demand specialists with patients who needed them.

The Times, They Are a Changin’ For the most part, though, healthcare providers have not embraced cloud storage services, despite expanding needs for data storage from increasing EHR adoption and compliance with state and federal records-retention rules that applied to paper and now also apply to their electronic counterparts.

That is changing, according to radiology CIOs and vendors. chose to discuss the practical application and economics surrounding the healthcare cloud with that specialty because imaging makes up the biggest chunk of data stored on many healthcare provider networks.

As such, it’s safe to say that radiologists are likely getting hit hardest by the data tsunami. They aren’t yet ready to port their entire workflows into the cloud. But cloud services lend themselves well to targeted tasks, as such as creating HIPAA-compliant backup schemes, accommodating overflow data storage, and creating file repositories that can be shared with other providers and increasingly tech-aware patients.



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