When it comes to a line of work that could really benefit from an enterprise cloud platform, there are few contenders more immediately apparent than the healthcare sector. Hospitals generate a veritable treasure trove of information on a daily basis, and this data then has to be made accessible to patients, doctors and researchers alike. Yet when it comes to healthcare IT, the technology tends to be behind the times, according to a recently released infographic.

Lack of proper staffing tops list of barriers to better healthcare cloud implementation
Although a migration to the enterprise cloud is ultimately an invaluable move for any business that chooses to make the leap, that does not mean it is without hurdles. Like any major positive shift, a cloud deployment comes with a whole set of challenges, and requires a capable staff on the part of the organization making the change. But as the infographic – which reached out to hospital IT staffers – pointed out, medical facilities often lack the robust IT team necessary to carry out a migration. The survey found that 21 percent of respondents said lack of staffing resources represented the greatest barrier to facilitating a cloudward move. Other hindrances that IT leaders pointed to included dearth of adequate financial support (15 percent), vendor inability to deliver product (13 percent), and a lack of a strategic IT plan (4 percent). 

All of these challenges are understandable, but that does not mean they're not surmountable. Even though hospitals may be finding it more difficult than most to make a cloud leap, there is an answer to their problems: the enterprise cloud. Unlike the public cloud, which requires its users to have the virtual navigation abilities to remain afloat, the enterprise cloud comes equipped with an infrastructure that is geared toward helping its users realize their full potential. This will be especially important for the healthcare sector, since as the graphic pointed out, there are very specific things hospitals will need from their cloud, including the ability to efficiently upgrade Electronic Medical Records and the need to make sure the Health Information Exchange works. In addition, 17 percent of respondents said their IT team was focused on building up business analytic systems. These are all absolutely needs that can be met in the cloud, provided healthcare organizations join the right platform. Because of the easy navigability and individually-tailored structure it offers, a private cloud service provider is well-suited to meet these requirements. 

For hospitals that do shift functionality to cloud, benefits are immediately felt
Examples of successful enterprise cloud hospital migrations abound. At Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, for instance, the hospital was looking for a way to deal with the rapidly expanding database of patient heart images. The number of these images was topping 25,000 a year, according to The Wall Street Journal. But instead of funneling $200,000 into upgrading physical storage space, the hospital turned to a far more cost-effective alternative: the cloud. By taking its repository of images and placing them in a cloud environment, the hospital was able to save a significant amount of money and put that toward other ends. Right now, 15 percent of U.S. healthcare providers similarly rely on the cloud for image storage.

According to industry analyst Nadim Daher, hospitals are increasingly realizing that by migrating to an enterprise cloud platform they can not only save money, but also guarantee the security of their data.

"With the cloud … you have way less responsibility for maintaining, upgrading and protecting all this hardware every few years," he said. Given the amount of work the average hospital has on its plate anyway, this is a welcome relief.