Hospital IT execs increasingly embrace the cloud

Hospital IT executives increasingly turn to the cloud to lower maintenance costs while trying to meet their growing technology needs, according to a new survey published today by HIMSS Analytics.

Of the 150 respondents to the survey--a majority of whom were hospital CIOs--close to 83 percent indicated that they use cloud technology; half of those providers said they use the cloud to host clinical applications. The exchange of patient data and disaster recovery efforts also were among top reasons for both current and future use by providers.

Privacy and security were top of mind for providers both already using cloud technology and those considering adoption. Close to 60 percent of respondents said that physical security of a cloud service provider would factor into their cloud purchasing decisions. The same number said that a vendor's willingness to enter into a business associate agreement was also important. Provider business associates can now be held accountable for data breaches under HIPAA.

A report from market research consulting firm RNCOS published in February hypothesized that an increase in provider use of cloud technology, combined with a decrease in the cost of IT implementation, could propel big change for the U.S. healthcare IT market between now and 2018.

"Cloud services have been long praised as a tool to reduce operating expenses for healthcare organizations," Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics, said in an announcement. "The data presented in our inaugural survey demonstrates the healthcare industry's eagerness to leverage this resource."

Last summer, Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization CIO Bill Gillis and Bob Dupuis, practice director at Arcadia Solutions, shared several tips for hospitals looking to move to the cloud. Among their recommendations, Gillis and Dupuis emphasized the need for provider organizations to move data strategically and to ensure security throughout the process.

To learn more:
- here's the survey
- read the announcement (.pdf)
- check out the accompanying infographic (.pdf)