4 tips for hospitals moving to cloud-based storage

Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently moved to cloud data storage, due in large part to their volume of medical records, according to CIO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization Bill Gillis. Speaking to Becker's Hospital Review, Gillis and Bob Dupuis, practice director at Arcadia Solutions--which built BIDMC's custom network storage system--explained why they think it will work.

"We got space at a cloud storage facility and were able to build our own cloud that we now manage and maintain," Gillis said. "In 2007, not a lot of organizations were using cloud-based storage, but we were just going with something we thought would work--and it did."

Dupuis pointed out that using a cloud server protects hospitals from internal server failures and is an effective backup, though he recognizes compliance and privacy can be an issue. His other tips included:

  1. Have a reason. Know that cloud-based storage isn't necessarily the right move for every single hospital or health system--the decision should be made on "sound business principles," and as a way to "address a problem or compliment an overall strategy," according to Dupuis.

  2. Move data strategically. Dupuis advised against putting everything into the cloud all at once; rather, he said, hospital administrators should move data and applications piecemeal into cloud storage. Putting things that aren't care-oriented in first allows for testing of the system.

  3. Ensure security. Dupuis recommended conducting a third-party risk assessment of the vendor before any data is moved. "Make sure to cover yourself contractually [and] that all the right agreements are in place" for protection, he said.

  4. Look to the future. The next big thing is big data and gathering information from electronic health records to provide better care and for population health management, Gillis said.

FierceHealthIT Advisory Board member John Halamka, M.D., CIO at BIDMC, recently pointed out that his facility will continue to build its own EHR systems because of the benefits using a cloud server provides, including lower costs and faster innovation.

To learn more:
- read the Becker's Hospital Review article

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