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Why big data initiatives are spurring cloud adoption in healthcare

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As data analytics continues to transform the healthcare industry, many health IT executives are being tasked with implementing the right data governance structures, identifying the most suitable technology and employing the appropriate IT skills that will help them facilitate successful big data projects.

Producing metrics that support value-based payment programs, population health management initiatives, evidence-based medicine and many other healthcare efforts depends on identifying accurate, actionable information that will improve treatments and patient outcomes while driving costs down.

There has been a huge uptake in big data projects, but gathering meaningful data with direct correlation to a wide patient demographic against multiple use cases can be challenging. Organizations increasingly look for actionable information that will help them improve care for patients with chronic illnesses, identify higher-risk patients for hospital readmissions or find several other patient trends around medication consumption. Electronic patient records continue to increase in size. To harvest best results, healthcare organizations need to utilize highly integrated systems that enable not only swift computing but also offer infinite scalability.

Cloud-based solutions offer exactly that platform and, by helping to remove the traditional shackles of infrastructure, healthcare organizations can analyze data and successfully achieve their big data strategy.

For further help in managing data, many are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) to help them design and manage appropriate data architectures, based on scalable solutions, for autonomous delivery of their strategic initiatives. MSPs can help healthcare organizations leverage critical IT skills and find the right tools to design a project that captures and analyzes both structured and unstructured data.

The health IT ecosystem
The challenges of continuous collection, organization, maintenance and analysis of patient data—combined with a ubiquitous new technology including wearables—are all part of the growing concerns health organizations have as they seek to understand and predict patients’ health risks.

While the traditional provider and payer institutes remain as the primary source of patient data, social media platforms, health apps on mobile devices and wearables are increasingly providing important health information that helps capturing various real-time data metrics on a patient’s health and general wellness.

Furthermore, in today’s digital world where consumers are looking for convenient ways to access care, many patients are taking the opportunity to visit health providers at telehealth sites and retail pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS, which offer primary care service.

Health IT executives are also faced with data warehouse dynamics that are changing rapidly. Gartner forecasts that traditional data warehousing will be outdated and replaced by new architectures by the end of 2018. When considering these factors, health IT executives in charge of patient registries that hold large volumes of data containing patient information are faced with carefully planning how to collect and process the data, how to ensure the integrity of the data, and how to analyze that information for optimal results.

In this environment, many health organizations can turn to MSPs for support to help map massive data sets from a variety of source systems and match the data to build an aggregate view.

Cloud computing benefits
Luckily for data managers, technological advancements have made it possible for health organizations to retire legacy data management tools in favor of more flexible, scalable solutions to meet their needs.

Reputable cloud providers offer state of the art security and also comply with HIPAA and ISO27001 standards. By leveraging those platforms, not only that healthcare organizations reduce their capital costs but cloud computing architecture allows large data sets to be hosted, maintained, easily accessed and rapidly analyzed, making big data queries easier to process in a timely and cost-effective manner.

A recent HIMSS survey suggests that health IT executives believe cloud computing can provide a variety of benefits. According to the study roughly 90 percent of those polled primarily see the cloud as a way to host applications, 84 percent said disaster recovery and backup of data and 75 percent said they see cloud primarily as a way of hosting primary data storage.

Cloud computing also offers heath providers the flexibility to use a cluster of dozens of machines for the relatively infrequent scenario of onboarding a large new data set. Using cloud-based infrastructure in a SaaS setting on an on-demand basis helps healthcare IT executives perform several big data analytics projects simultaneously.

If an organization hasn’t embarked on a big data project of its own and is thinking of starting one, it’s not too late. An experienced MSP that’s skilled in data management and cloud computing will revolutionize your health system, help you yield unimaginable insights, and improve the quality of care you deliver to your patients while saving you money.

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