Health systems ditch data centers in favor of cloud computing

cloud devices
CIOs are doing away with their servers and pushing more health data to the cloud.

Most hospital CIOs agree: It’s only a matter of time before hospitals transfer all their data to the cloud and eliminate data centers entirely.

The need to pare down storage costs and improve access to health data across multiple providers is fueling the transition, according to Health IT News. A recent survey by IDC Health Insights indicated that both providers and payers are planning to push more data to the cloud over the next several years, while a HIMSS survey found 76% of hospitals and health systems are moving existing or new workloads to the cloud.

“I predict that five years from now, none of us will have datacenters,” John Halamka, M.D., CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told Health IT News. “We’re going to go out to the cloud to find EHRs, clinical decision support, analytics.”

RELATED: Medicaid data gets 'near historic' cloud-based update

Many of his colleagues agreed, pointing to app-based initiatives made possible with cloud computing. Richard Stroup, the director of informatics at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri previously told FierceHealthcare how the hospital used cloud computing, predictive analytics and Microsoft tablets to improve care for pediatric patients with a rare but dangerous congenital heart defect.

RELATED: HHS clarifies cloud providers as business associates under new guidance

Cloud computing in healthcare has been hampered by security concerns in the past—but those fears were largely dissipated as hospitals gained trust in the cloud after using it for disaster recovery functions.

Health systems in Colorado have seen a boost in performance and lower costs when switching to the cloud, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said it plans to house up to 60% of its data on the cloud over the next several years.