KLAS: Healthcare Orgs Ambivalent about Cloud

December 12, 2011
Diagnostic Imaging Staff

While 71 percent of healthcare organizations are either using or considering the deployment of cloud computing or storage technologies, trust in public-cloud services such as those offered by Amazon, Google and others remains weak, according to a new KLAS report. PACS is an area of particular interest in terms of leveraging the cloud, according to the report.

While 71 percent of healthcare organizations are either using or considering the deployment of cloud computing or storage technologies, trust in public-cloud services such as those offered by Amazon, Google and others remains weak, according to a new KLAS report. PACS is an area of particular interest in terms of leveraging the cloud, according to the report.

The CIO of a facility with more than 1,000 beds told KLAS, "I don't know that there are a ton of major healthcare providers putting their patient data in the (public) cloud right now. From a liability perspective, it isn't as mature as some other industries. That is a major concern for me right now."

In addition to patient data security, two major provider concerns KLAS identified were data privacy and data control. As a result, a growing number of providers are gravitating toward private clouds, where the use of designated servers strengthens control over their data.

On the other hand, some smaller providers are interested in the disaster-recovery and physical-security advantages of the cloud. "From a standalone practice's perspective, I am generally scared that I will lose my data. But if it is in the cloud, I know it is more secure,” one physician told KLAS.

The report found that 71 percent of providers were deploying or planned to deploy cloud technology, with different organization sizes gravitating towards cloud for different reasons (cost savings, availability, security, disaster recovery) and for different applications (clinical, general storage, email, PACS).

For example, stand-alone facilities such as physician practices see cost and security benefits in linking up with larger organizations to have the use of an electronic health record that is privately hosted in the parent organization's cloud. Hospitals, on the other hand, appear to be taking a more cautious, staged approach to adopting the cloud.