For Yuma District Hospital, storing non-clinical data in the cloud saves more than paper

Cloud-based information systems helped a small Colorado hospital save more than 1,000 manhours per year, eliminate more than 1,200 boxes of paper records and process more payment claims daily, according to a case study in Becker's Hospital Review.

The 22-bed critical-access Yuma District Hospital started the transition to the cloud in 2001 with the business office's record and insurance payment system, according to the June 27 Becker's report. As other departments followed, the hospital:

  • Slashed the time required to retrieve records from one hour to less than five minutes.
  • Freed up 3,100 square feet of storage space
  • Eliminated 1,100 hours per year of record search time
  • Cut office-supply expenses by $300 per month
  • Processed three or four more claims for payment per day, improving cash flow

The information is protected with various levels of security, including at the document level, hospital officials said. Records also are protected both while on the server or storage unit, and during transmission to the hospital or to remote sites, they said.

Cloud-based information systems also can help hospitals and accountable care organizations handle the "administrative complexities of healthcare reform," Karen Conway, executive director of health IT company GHX, writes in Government Health IT.

"Rather than sticking to the siloed IT systems of the past, a more strategic approach to cloud technology requires thinking about the wide variety of clinical and business processes it can support and for whom." 

Non-clinical information systems, or NCIS in health IT parlance, encompass revenue cycle management, automatic patient billing, cost accounting, payroll and claims management systems, notes a recent MarketsandMarkets study on the healthcare cloud computing market. The healthcare cloud market is expected to increase from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion by 2017, the study finds; the summary does not break out the expected value of the NCIS segment.

The healthcare cloud market includes three service models, the study notes: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

To learn more:
- read the Becker's report
check out Conway's column
- see a summary of the market forecast