What are the Benefits of Cloud Migration in Healthcare?

The BTC Team

Cloud migration is the linchpin for achieving end-to-end digital transformation today. According to Gartner, more than a third of organizations see cloud investments as a top-three investing priority. Most definitions say something similar to “cloud migration is the process of moving data, assets, and IT processes to a cloud computing environment,” but what is a cloud computing environment? And what benefits does this strategy provide for healthcare organizations?

What are the benefits of using the cloud?

As mentioned before, cloud migration is about moving databases, applications, IT resources, workloads, etc., to a cloud environment. Companies decide to move wholly or partially from legacy infrastructures that are no longer efficient. Cloud migration is also about moving from one cloud to another to experience the benefits of cloud computing.

Cloud migration brings new opportunities to increase interoperability and patient outcomes in the healthcare industry. According to HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) survey analysts, “cloud solutions are an extension of a healthcare organization’s communications infrastructure and connectivity should easily ‘scale up,’ as more applications are moved to the cloud.”

Some of the benefits of moving to a cloud environment include:

Easier access to data

Cloud-based patient medical and billing data are far more accessible to authorized users than data stored locally, enabling interoperability and collaboration among clinicians in different locations. As healthcare systems expand to new physical locations, cloud migration brings convenient means to securely access data and applications from any devices such as mobile phones, laptops, or wearable devices.

Reduced costs

Healthcare organizations can avoid capital expenditures to replace legacy infrastructure equipment by migrating IT platforms and services to the cloud. The cloud provider completely takes care of hardware and software updates and ensures applications are supported by up-to-date infrastructure, reducing costs and time spent on them. Outsourcing maintenance services to the cloud allows providers to save money on in-house IT staff.

Improved backup and disaster recovery

For instance, a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a widespread power outage could inflict tremendous damage on hospital IT infrastructures. Remote cloud deployments can be used to back up hospital data and systems in an outage or cyberattack event.

Greater storage capacity

Cloud computing improves scalability and flexibility for businesses; providers with limited on-premises data centers can scale their data storage capacity as needed in the cloud. It enables an enterprise to scale and adopt powerful computing capabilities. Organizations can alter resources on-demand during demand spikes and run workloads closer to where customers are. They can also deploy and remove applications easily.

Big data and analytics

The cloud’s scalability also offers healthcare providers an ideal platform for storing and analyzing big data. This helps to take advantage of the full potential of advanced technologies such as AI/ML and computer vision. By analyzing data, healthcare providers can gain new insights into patient needs and allow medical research and treatment advances.

How is cloud migration used in healthcare?

Cloud solutions empower healthcare organizations to enable the interoperability of systems and improve patient care. Along with great storage capacity, cloud providers ensure the security of sensitive data and adhere to industry regulations and policies. By securely accessing data from anywhere, different stakeholders in the care continuum, such as caregivers or insurers, can collaborate remotely and effectively.

Further, bringing together siloed data helps healthcare providers make better real-time decisions on resource utilization, optimizing clinical trials, and identifying high-risk patients. Cloud solutions empower the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies that can take the industry to the next future. Precision medicine, real-world evidence, and genomics are a few areas witnessing innovation thanks to these advancements.

Cloud computing also results in holistic development across urban and rural areas. The cloud migration and maintenance services ensure healthcare organizations can utilize time and resources on other significant matters. For instance, small rural healthcare facilities may have small IT teams or have few personnel to take care of IT affairs. With a cloud computing environment, they can easily manage storage capabilities, reduce costs, and let the IT team focus on hospital day-to-day operations.

How does cloud migration work?

Healthcare organizations looking to achieve the above benefits by moving applications to the cloud need a well-thought-out and assessed migration strategy and plan. Moving to the cloud is a transformative and massive shift for businesses. Planning the cloud journey is a wise decision as it will minimize business disruption and optimize efficiency during the migration process.

Here are some of the critical steps in a cloud migration process: 

1. Assessment:

The first step is to realize the objectives an organization wants to achieve. A migration strategy and a business case can be developed based on this. This includes evaluating their current state and costs, determining which apps and resources will be moved, and setting deadlines and schedules.

2. Planning:

This process involves selecting cloud deployment models, providers, and migration tools that need to be used. Defining KPIs and designing architecture is also included in this.

3. Migration:

Moving assets to the cloud. This typically includes modernizing existing applications, developing new cloud-native ones, and building architecture and infrastructure. Also, configuration changes might be needed to adjust workloads and cloud computing capabilities.  

4. Optimization:

This is a continuous process performed even after cloud migration. Organizations must ensure the environment is secured, real-time monitoring tools are implemented, and regulatory compliance laws are met. 

Cloud deployment models

The cloud deployment model defines the location of servers and who controls them. Common deployment models include public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud (on-premise and cloud), and multi-cloud.

Cloud migration strategies:

Migration strategies selected should be in line with an organization’s needs and capabilities and can be mixed to provide the best value. Three key migration types are: Cloud service offerings:

  • Rehosting (transferring data and apps from on-premise servers to the cloud),
  • Re-platforming (move to a new cloud-based operating system while optimizing apps and assets to fit the new environment), and
  • Re-factoring (moving applications to the cloud, while re-architecting them to better suit the environment).

Cloud service offerings:

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the most common cloud service offerings. 

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): Provides access to IT infrastructure-databases, storage, virtual servers, and other services-on demand.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): Provides access to a cloud-hosted platform for developing and maintaining applications.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): Provides access to application software and related services on demand.

So, how can BTC play a role in this process?

While healthcare organizations can reap a myriad of benefits by moving to a cloud environment, it is a complex process to handle. Complexities around cloud migration are based on an organization’s data dependencies and application functionalities. Apart from that, organizations may lack in-house expertise or the capacity to plan and implement the migration.

Partnering with a vendor like Boston Technology Corporation (BTC) can help assess the current state, build a migration strategy that lays out a clear ROI and help execute the strategy and migration plans to achieve the business goals. We take a holistic approach to navigating the cloud landscape and offer flexibility in finding the right-sized options for your organization.

We partner with premium cloud service providers such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. Our team of certified experts takes responsibility for setting up and managing cloud infrastructure and ensuring business continuity. BTC also adheres to industry regulations and best policies, such as HIPAA, SOC2, and FISMA, to safeguard the patients’ sensitive data and improve their experience. To see how BTC can help you achieve this, contact us.


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