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3 Public Cloud Lessons for Healthcare Systems

Gartner predicted that by 2020, 40% of healthcare providers will view their electronic medical record technology as insufficient when it comes to supporting care delivery needs. 2020 is here and the need to onboard new capabilities to drive digital business is happening now.

Over recent months, I have seen a common set of public cloud use cases emerge within healthcare. These use cases are aimed at paving the path towards digital transformation, with the three most effective and valuable being:

  • Business intelligence and analytics
  • Research through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Operational efficiency through ML and AI

For most healthcare systems, applying these three use cases would result in a more efficient, streamlined organization and patient experience improvements. But the path to public cloud adoption can be filled with hurdles, especially for healthcare companies as they have an obligation and commitment to privacy and data security.

While there is no direct path towards digital transformation through public cloud adoption for healthcare systems, there are lessons that can be applied across the board.

Recognize a Shared Responsibility Model

While you may have a HIPAA-compliant public cloud provider, that does not necessarily mean your organization is HIPAA compliant. A shared responsibility approach must be used between each public health provider and their technology vendor partners. For example, AWS and Azure are HIPAA-compliant tools with physical and platform security, but there are additional HIPAA compliance guidelines and Center for Internet Security (CIS) critical controls needed to ensure full compliance. The primary hurdle your organization should consider is this: While HIPAA compliance guidelines tell you what to do, they do not outline how to do it. It’s important to align those HIPAA guidelines with the CIS critical controls that outline exactly what steps need to be taken for full compliance.

Bridge the Skills Gap

Another study from Gartner stated that by 2020, 75% of enterprises will experience visible business disruption due to infrastructure and operations skill gaps. This skill gap can be directly linked to emerging technologies and approaches including cloud, DevOps, Internet of things, hybrid IT infrastructure, and cloud migrations. To ensure your team is well-versed in these skills, I recommend taking a Cloud Community of Excellence approach. Building a community around cloud skills invites members to contribute and grow their skills together while leveraging existing skillsets and perpetuating overall growth and learning. A key feature of this community is a focus around applications your team is specifically deploying versus inviting all vendors and partners to participate. By keeping it focused, your team will learn skills that are immediate and critical to success. Once the team is well established, you can help evangelize services, drive POCs, increase training and sharing, while also reducing outside training expenses.

Master One Cloud First

Many healthcare systems think public cloud adoption means using many different cloud providers for different needs. This is not necessarily the case and can even be harmful if not implemented carefully and correctly. When beginning your migration to the cloud, first concentrate on mastering one cloud provider. You can always expand and shift to a multi-cloud approach later on if it makes sense for your organization.

If you would like to learn more about each of these lessons, check out my How Public Cloud is Advancing Digital Transformation in Healthcare webinar. It covers the most common use cases for cloud in healthcare and their challenges. 

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