It’s easy for an organization to find itself struggling to understand what cloud computing is and how it can translate the technology into tangible operational improvements. Without this foundation, it can be difficult for an organization to ensure that it is taking full advantage of the cloud’s potential. Nowhere, though, is this challenge more prevalent than in the healthcare industry—in addition to transforming their operating models with the rise of digitization, these organizations must also juggle stringent compliance requirements and ongoing concerns about security and data privacy.
Even so, the healthcare industry’s migration to the cloud has significantly gained steam since 2015, with spending on cloud services growing from $3.73 billion to a projected $9.48 billion by 2020—a nearly threefold increase.
So what’s behind this shift? This article will explore some of the key advantages healthcare providers can find in a move to the cloud as well as several strategies to make sure the migration goes smoothly.
How the Cloud Drives Value
Across all industries, the migration to the cloud is often as much a business decision as it is one driven by a CIO. A move to the cloud means that an organization can shift some of their time and resources away from maintaining legacy, on-premises storage and toward initiatives that drive operations as a whole, such as implementing new applications or finding new process efficiencies. By doing so, providers can take advantage of the scalability that cloud computing introduces along with the flexibility of only having to pay for the services your operations actually utilize.
While organizations are able to take advantage of the security and HIPAA compliance expertise of a cloud services provider, patients can also benefit from a cloud migration because it enables providers to more easily share, track, store, and analyze personal data. Thanks to the high uptimes and cutting-edge infrastructure that cloud providers are able to guarantee, data availability can be seamless across a patient’s entire healthcare journey, from application to application and from doctor to tablet.
Preparing for a Successful Migration
The process to migrate from an on-premises environment to the cloud can be complex, but with the right help and preparation, the move can be a turning point for your business. To help make it a reality, here are some key strategies your organization should explore before getting started.
Select the Right Partner
Because there are a lot of cloud providers in the market, organizations are really in the driver’s seat when it comes to picking the right partner. Therefore, use this time to really drill down into your technical, business, and organizational requirements and compare your needs to the services, experiences, and technology that the potential cloud providers offer.
In addition to getting input from peers and conducting industry research, ask potential providers to share their experiences working in environments similar to your own, including unique compliance, patient, or location requirements or custom hardware or software set-ups. Finally, make sure that the availability and service-level agreements the cloud provider offers meet your expectations.
Get Clinician Input
A technical migration is only part of what will make your overall cloud migration a success. Ultimately, getting the buy-in and support of the clinicians is key because they will be on the front lines interacting with the new tools and technology.
With this in mind, take the time to collect clinician input on their needs and wants, pain points, and desired enhancements, and weave them into your cloud provider search to see if they can be met. Additionally, use the preparation phase to collect clinician input on any training needs that they may require in the new cloud environment as well as any concerns they may have around migration timelines because of conferences, busy seasons, or holidays.
Communication will be an ongoing process throughout the migration. From the beginning, the scope, timeline, and goals of the migration should be shared with all stakeholders. Throughout the project, status updates, risk mitigations, and key decision points and milestones should be shared with project team members and organizational leadership. As the project nears completion, frequent communication about trainings, transition dates, and other project news can help to build momentum and buy-in for the change.
Taking the Next Step
While a decision to move to the cloud may involve a benefit to the bottom line, healthcare organizations will also be able to see a lot of other benefits to both their operations and their patients’ experiences once the migration is complete. From taking care of security and compliance needs to lowering operational costs and increasing data availability, cloud services can take your organization to the next level.
To learn more about how a cloud migration can benefit your business and how a managed services provider can deliver experienced staff, specialized tools and templates, and knowledge of common traps and pitfalls to the migration, reach out to the team at FNTS here.
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