Healthcare IT and Hosting – Observations from the HIMSS12 Conference

By Brian White, Director of Business Development for Layered Tech

HIMSS Health IT Conference and ExhibitionLayered Tech recently attended the annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition, the premier healthcare IT show of the year, and we wanted to share what we thought was interesting and informative in terms of trends and news related to hosting, cloud computing and compliance. The education sessions covered everything from managing mobile devices to implementing electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges (HIEs) and bioinformatics. In addition, the application of technology and provider/vendor collaboration to reduce costs while increasing patient care were key focus areas for the more than 37,000 attendees and 1,100-plus exhibitors.

Healthcare, HIPAA and Hosting

This year’s show continued the theme of accelerating meaningful use and delivering upon the promise of accessible EHRs. The application of cloud technologies permeated the exhibition hall, especially with many healthcare providers leveraging the cloud for EHRs, unified communications, billing, storage and imaging. In the past, there was great concern about security of information in the cloud, but the trepidation seems to be melting away as providers are successfully completing trials and engaging with production applications using cloud services.

The education sessions reflected the general tone of HIMSS12 – that healthcare organizations are recognizing both the value and the opportunity presented by outsourcing aspects of their IT environments. This is especially true when it comes to the delivery of scalable, secure and highly available environments – both infrastructure and network. By embracing HIPAA-compliant clouds or virtual private data centers, healthcare providers can transfer the tedium of managing infrastructure, the need for CapEx and the role of managing HIPAA requirements to a trusted partner. Finding that trusted partner appeared to be the focus of the attending Healthcare Providers.

The main obstacle impeding the adoption of hosted or cloud solutions in healthcare has been the perceived loss of control of and possible breach of security. But the entry of hosting service providers with expertise in HIPAA-compliant hosting now provides superior security to that delivered within on-premise environments. The value of best-in-class security wrapped around a hosted or cloud solution is becoming an irresistible catalyst rather than the deterrent for moving to cloud.

The opportunity for healthcare providers lies in their ability to better allocate resources toward delivering optimum healthcare for their patients. After all, isn’t this the promise of outsourcing? On-site IT staff can focus on deploying and maintaining clinical, patient-facing applications, architecture advancements or other more valuable areas within the health provider’s enterprise. In addition, the shift toward more predictable operating expenses helps to improve business visibility, and more optimally focused staff supported by a more predictable cost basis will help hospitals drive better business results.

The best advice I can provide for health care providers that have not ventured into the hosted or cloud space is to find an application they feel would fit well and kick the tires. This will enable the creation of the right model for the organization while minimizing risk.

Layered Tech is one of the HIPAA compliant hosting leaders delivering cloud expertise that is increasingly difficult for healthcare providers to replicate with internal IT staff. In addition, we also take on capital expense burdens and provide healthcare organizations with a predictable operating expense model.

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