August 25, 2015

Cloud Technology May Be a Healthcare Headache, but It Doesn’t Have to Be

Cloud Adoption Challenges for Healthcare Organizations

Cloud technology emerged in the healthcare industry with a handful of benefits. Not only has it enabled CIOs to save money by decreasing the need for more infrastructure, it has also proved to be a low-cost solution that helps clinicians provide easier and better care for patients. Today, 83 percent of healthcare organizations are using cloud services, and the adoption rate continues to rise, with the total global healthcare cloud market projected to reach $9.48 billion in the next five years.

Despite the aforementioned benefits of cloud technology for healthcare professionals, the transition to cloud is not without challenges and cloud-based technology has not made caring for patients instantly easier.

Here’s a look at some of the specific challenges healthcare organizations are facing when adopting cloud solutions and, more importantly, how these hurdles can be overcome.

  • Compliance: With the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, it’s important now more than ever that clinicians ensure the protection of their patients’ private health information. This means that clinicians must only work with vendors and cloud solutions that have audit functions and are HIPAA-compliant. If solutions do not include a comprehensive security layer and data encryption, sensitive patient information could be at risk of being hacked.
  • Privacy & Security: These days, health data is widely regarded as more valuable than credit card data. Despite this, 96 million patient records were stolen from high profile data breaches over the last year alone. Clinicians are challenged with protecting their patients’ privacy, and they’re increasingly relying on their network providers to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks. If clinicians are unable to secure confidential data, they are at risk of losing patients’ trust, and ultimately their reputation.
  • Evolving Role of IT: With the explosion of devices and technology in healthcare, there has also been an increase in patient data. In turn, this has placed heightened demands on IT to provide better performing cloud solutions in a more agile environment. Today’s healthcare IT professionals are grappling with a shift in their responsibility from “keepers of the infrastructure” to “managers of application service delivery.”

While there are undoubtedly challenges with cloud-based technology, it also presents an immense opportunity for hospitals to save money, decrease their infrastructure and provide better patient experiences. However, doing so requires organizations to have complete visibility and a clear understanding about what’s taking place on their networks.


With network-powered application analytics solutions like Purview, clinicians are able to create policies based on network data. More importantly, Purview gives them a bird’s eye view into their network, ensuring they have visibility into all network applications and activity. This means they can see who’s utilizing the network and what information they are accessing, so that patient data is kept private and only shared with authorized viewers.

In addition to ensuring privacy and security, solutions like Purview are simplifying the role of IT. As IT professionals shift into the role of “manager of application service delivery,” Purview allows them to view and manage all network devices and activity from one centralized location.

The benefits of cloud technology for healthcare organizations cannot be overlooked; however, unleashing these benefits means overcoming several hurdles – we’re here to help. To learn more, please visit our healthcare solutions page here.

About The Contributor:
Bob ZemkeDirector of Healthcare Solutions

Bob Zemke is the Director of Healthcare Solutions and is responsible for the healthcare market strategy at Extreme Networks. An IT professional with a broad span of experience in healthcare, Bob has over 14 years working both within hospital IT and as a consultant in next generation network design, deployment and management. Bob has been featured in publications such as HealthCare Design Magazine, Mobile Wireless Magazine, and Healthcare Executive Exchange. He is coauthor of a book entitled "WiFi Enabled Healthcare" that is available on Bob frequently participates industry-specific events including HIMSS, Enterprise Connect, Interop and is active in the AAMI, CWNP, IEEE, and HIMSS organizations . Bob holds an BA degree in Telecommunications Management from Western Michigan University and his MS in Telecommunications and Network Management from Syracuse University's iSchool.

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