USMD CIO: 'Elasticity' of the cloud a boon for growing providers


Moving to a public cloud made sense for USMD Health System, according to CIO Mike Yerrid.

Formed via recent mergers between three Texas healthcare organizations, USMD's focus since 2012 has been on merger-related activities rather than boosting its budget for IT infrastructure, according to a Network World story. That's left the health system two options: Pay a hefty sum up front for on-premise hardware or use the cloud’s pay-as-you-go model.

Yerrid chose the latter, calling the environment's "elasticity" perfect for USMD's situation. Capacity can be provisioned according to demand.

“If planned growth doesn’t occur, then you’ve overpaid for equipment that you didn’t need,” he said. “If you did measure it right, then you still have to replace it all within a certain amount of time.”

Despite common concerns about security, Yerrid believes public cloud providers understand the security and privacy requirements of the healthcare industry and will do a better job of it than an in-house team could.

Amid the praise, Lynn Gibson, chief technology officer for CHRISTUS Health, told Network World that the decision to go to the public cloud is a matter of how much control of patient data a facility wants to hand over to an outsourcer.

Cloud technology can help hospitals save money, improve efficiency and reduce administrative overhead, but only if implemented appropriately and measured accurately, providers, including Ed Ricks, vice president of information services and CIO for Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina told FierceHealthIT earlier this year.