How healthcare cloud computing can save millions as regulations change
By David Linthicum
We all know that cloud computing provides business agility. For many enterprises, that means they have the ability to keep up with new and emerging markets. In the world of healthcare, cloud computing also provides the ability to keep up with ever-changing regulations.
This double value that healthcare cloud computing brings is rather interesting, given that many in healthcare are suspicious of the value of cloud computing. Ironically, the same folks who push back on cloud computing are the same ones who are typically killing themselves in an effort to keep up with the forthcoming regulatory changes.
Core to this situation is the need for healthcare organizations to plan for the need to change. In other words, they need to fully understand the driving forces that will make them change as the cost of non-compliance escalates to include fines as well as knocks on the reputation of a healthcare organization or system.
Most healthcare organizations have no clue as to how to approach this issue. Most toss dollars at the problem, hoping that a huge workforce will keep up with the changes that require them to be compliant. However, smarter healthcare organizations leverage technology and approaches to become better at change. This typically means a combination of a different architectural approach — SOA — and the emerging use of cloud-based resources.
I’ve written a ton about the value of agility, in the context of both SOA and cloud computing (which are directly related). For those of you in healthcare, here are a couple of key points about agility in the cloud:
- Agility is typically the core business value of cloud computing. TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) comes into play, but it’s usually much higher than expected when all costs are considered over the long term. As I’ve stated a few times, cloud computing is not always cost-effective when considering tactical costs alone.
- The return on agility can be calculated, and I’ve done so successfully several times. You just need to do very deep analysis on the business to understand the behaviors and metrics over time.
- Most healthcare organizations change more than most businesses. This is driven largely by regulatory changes, and also by the changing nature of healthcare technology. The greater the degree of change, the greater the value that cloud computing has to offer.
The trouble is that agility, as related to healthcare — what we’re really talking about here — is one of those MBA terms that businesses rarely understand, nor do they have a clue as how to they should define agility in their own contexts. Those who don’t bother to figure this out will never know why they should, or should not, move to cloud computing.
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