The cloud continues to gain traction among healthcare organizations, according to the results of the inaugural 2014 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey, which found that 80 percent of respondents currently use cloud services, and that nearly all organizations that are currently using the tools plan to expand their use.
The top three reasons for adoption include lower maintenance costs, speed of deployment and lack of internal staffing resources, the survey reported.
“Cloud services have been long praised as a tool to reduce operating expenses for healthcare organizations,” said Lorren Pettit, vice president of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. These data demonstrate “the healthcare industry’s eagerness to leverage this resource.”
According to HIMSS Analytics, the top concerns for organizations seeking cloud services are the provider’s willingness to enter into a business associate agreement, as well as physical and technical security. And even after a cloud services provider has been selected and services have been adopted by the healthcare organization, there are still challenges. The survey noted that two-thirds of users experience hurdles such as a lack of visibility into ongoing operations, customer service, as well as costs and fees.
Half of the respondents also identified performance issues, including slow responsiveness of hosted applications as a problem, but were willing to work with their existing cloud service provider to resolve their issues, rather than switch to a new one.
Interestingly, a small fraction of respondents expressed a resistance to adopting cloud services (six percent). Of these respondents, nearly half cited security concerns as the primary barrier to their willingness to adopt cloud services.
“Many Healthcare CIOs and others have expressed their intention to use cloud services. However, there are some challenges related to use in healthcare and these are what we hoped to uncover,” said Lisa Gallagher, vice president of Technology Solutions for HIMSS. “Our next step is for the healthcare industry to work with cloud service providers to move forward together in addressing these challenges.”