Earlier this week I had the opportunity to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the 5th annual Cloud Slam conference in Silicon Valley. This year, there was a vertical market focus to the event; most of the sessions were geared towards healthcare adoption in the cloud.
Now at first glance, this seemed an odd topic to focus on. Surely, with all the regulatory morass of HIPAA, Meaningful Use, EHR and the like, I seemed to me that healthcare would be one of the last bastions of non-cloud adoption to have their physical servers and on-site applications pried from their IT department’s cold, dead and clawing fingernails. After attending this day-long conference I came away thinking just the opposite.
From Microsoft’s opening keynote lauding how hybrid cloud solutions improve efficiency and security all through the dozens of panels, presentations and breakout sessions it became clear from those in attendance, most of whom were involved in healthcare in one way or another that moving to the cloud would be a strategy to improve security and governance, not endanger those policies and strategies.
Of course when I think of healthcare I think of urban mega-hospitals, chains of clinics and clinicians and the insurance behemoths who service patients and providers alike. What didn’t pop up top of mind were the thousands upon thousands of smaller facilities and providers whose record-keeping and security are based on nineteenth century practices; manila folders with color-coded tabs filed on wall after exposed wall in every open space and rolled about in carts of racks that seem to be designed for prying eyes and light fingers.
We heard story after story about this small hospital that held its IT infrastructure in a janitorial closet with seemingly unfettered access to anyone happening to pass through that corridor to network switches tucked under desks and in shelves in everything from exam rooms to waiting areas.
The truth is that even though those industries with the highest standards of security and governance – namely healthcare and financial services – claim that they’re in no hurry to move to cloud-based solutions they are probably the industries that have the most to GAIN by getting rid of their IT infrastructure and putting security and governance in the hands of the professionals who do it every day in either single or multi-tenant solutions with those vertical foci.
Now, the hard part is getting the MDs to stop taping the sticky notes with their ID and passwords to the fancy case for the tablet they’re now using to access patient records. But one battle at a time wins the war.