Cloud computing is all the rage. The biggest noise is in applications, whether it's Google Calendar or a full electronic health record system. But Rick Schooler, vice president and CIO at Orlando Health, is finding 25 to 30 percent savings in something much more basic—storage, especially of clinical images.

Schooler and David Finn of Symantec, Orlando Health's cloud storage vendor, will talk about the strategies involved in moving long-term and archive image storage offsite, a process that the organization will have recently completed (if all goes well) by the time of their presentation. They will also talk about how to ensure security and 24/7 availability. 

Schooler estimates that his organization is currently accumulating 26 terabytes of image information every year, and that number is only going to grow as imaging modalities proliferate and the images themselves become more dense and detailed. He says organizations on average spend $3,000 to $7,000 per terabyte to cover storage media and the accompanying I.T. infrastructure, and they must repeat that expenditure every seven to 10 years because of changing technology. Cloud vendors can cut that price substantially because they buy hardware in such large quantities, and because they can spread staff, space rental and other costs over many clients.

Schooler says the cloud is particularly valuable because the vendor keeps its technology current as part of doing business. "Every time the technology changes out you have to replace all your storage media because the new product doesn't support the old medium," he says. "With the cloud, you just have to store images in a DICOM format and they can talk to your applications. As you consolidate or convert platforms, you don't create islands that you can't get to or get off of." 

Schooler will speak at HIMSS during a session titled "Cloud Computing: Taking it to the Next Level" on Monday, Feb. 21, from 9:45-10:45 a.m.


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