Blog

Healthcare IT and the Cloud:
Charting a Path Towards
Technology Transformation

By Leah Gabbert

The year 2020 will forever be remembered as one full of health and economic challenges. As a result, the healthcare industry has seen rapid and unprecedented technology transformation. This transformation (which drives infrastructure demand) is visible to consumers, from clinicians, within healthcare organization IT departments, and just about everywhere in between. From staggering telehealth adoption and enablement of remote healthcare workers to increasing pressure to innovative care delivery models and expedited vaccine distribution plans, the future of healthcare is powered by technology. Cloud technology especially has made the management of clinical and business applications easy, and the storing, sharing, and accessing of patient information simple.

To learn more about the impact of the cloud, Nutanix commissioned a survey with Vanson Bourne to create the third annual Enterprise Cloud Index. They also looked specifically at findings among healthcare organizations, seeking to answer: 

  • How are healthcare organizations implementing and using the cloud with existing legacy infrastructure? 
  • What are some of the biggest pain points healthcare IT (HIT) pros in the industry face in adopting it? 
  • Which cloud model is best suited to HIT needs?

What the survey found: 95% of IT professionals in the healthcare sector agree that a hybrid private/public cloud is the ideal IT operating model and they’re evolving their infrastructures to get there. What does that journey look like? Well, most healthcare organizations are adding hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to simplify deployments and retiring legacy datacenter infrastructure, and we expect this number to grow exponentially as HCI continues to become more mainstream.

The reasons healthcare organizations are adopting hybrid cloud is becoming abundantly clear. When it comes to deciding what infrastructures to deploy, healthcare respondents chose cost advantages as the number one decision factor, and security, privacy, and compliance as a close second. Healthcare organizations leverage and store critical patient data and understand that a hybrid cloud model is the ideal solution to protect it. With the dramatic uptick of ransomware attacks at healthcare organizations, and increasing patient loads due to the COVID-19 & flu season double whammy, we expect to see security, privacy, and compliance overtake the number one space in subsequent surveys. There is no better time to ensure protection of all healthcare data.

And no stranger to regulation, the healthcare industry keeps compliance top of mind when considering cloud deployment options. Healthcare organizations retain some clinical and non-clinical applications on-prem as they comply with regulatory mandates. Regardless, 64% of healthcare respondents say they have deployed HCI or are in the process of deploying HCI. This makes sense as the utilization of HCI dramatically reduces the time it takes to build the software-defined infrastructure necessary to support a private cloud. It also enables fast capacity expansion and highlights the Nutanix promised benefits of scalability.  

Interestingly, 70% of healthcare respondents said that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused IT to be viewed more strategically within their organizations, likely a result of highly visible quick-turns in work-from-anywhere initiatives. The pandemic forced many HIT shops to turn to the cloud for infrastructure to support remote healthcare workers. One example comes from Delaware Valley Community Health, which touts shifting 75% of their workforce to remote work capabilities in a matter of days. As seen at Delaware Valley Community Health, remote healthcare workers are now the norm. In fact, 23% of healthcare respondents said their organization had no employees working remotely one year ago, a percentage that plummeted to just 7% this year. 

The healthcare sector has clearly charted a path toward technology transformation, specifically a hybrid cloud consumption model that will enable HIT teams to provide security, ensure regulatory compliance, and enable healthcare providers to deliver care. The future of healthcare requires embracing technology—including cloud technologies—to secure, organize, and protect patient data. The future of healthcare delivery and HIT is now. To learn more about how Nutanix continues to transform the healthcare sector, please visit nutanix.com/healthcare

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