The “Cloud.” It’s cool, it’s trendy, and it can work really, really well. However, as with all major technology innovations, proper research is required to determine the best Cloud PACS vendor for your facility.
A recent article in the WSJ highlighted what CIOs should look for in a cloud medical image vendor. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halmaka, notes that facilities should look for a software as a service vendor (SaaS). SaaS vendors take on all of the maintenance, updates, security concerns, and additional data storage for the facility. The vendor also takes on IT related duties allowing the facility to focus on patient care rather than logistics and IT downtime.
The cloud-vendor landscape is becoming increasingly confusing and facilities must discern the cloud vendors from the cloud pretenders. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of the cloud as defined by the National Institue of Standards and Technology.
Users can request resources on run-time and scale the required infrastructure without disrupting the host operations. Additionally, uncapped storage is available allowing you to scale the program as you see fit.
A true cloud vendor should be HIPAA compliant and offer resources on their encryption technology.
Users can view images 24/7 whether through their PC, mobile device, or tablet device.
The cloud can be scaled up or down as necessary.
The cloud is monitored and controlled by the provider, which is critical for billing and measuring outcomes. Additionally, many vendors even offer a pay-as-you-go model allowing for enhanced flexibility.
Providers and patients alike seek quick, efficient, and cost effective access to medical information in today’s healthcare economy. A HIMSS Analytics’ survey of cloud computing adoption in healthcare provider organizations, found that 83% of IT executives report they are using cloud services today, with SaaS-based applications being the most popular (66.9%). Many providers cite high maintenance costs as a key factor in their decision making process. Given that the majority of Cloud PACS vendors include services within their monthly fee, future costs are also far easier to determine.