Cloud service provider

Executive’s Guide to Healthcare in the Cloud

May 17, 2017


When it comes to a cloud service provider, healthcare executives need to know what they are paying for. In many cases the CIO may be the one responsible for contacting a cloud service provider. Medium-sized healthcare facilities may not have a CIO, and may rely on a network administrator for this function. In either case upper management needs to know at least the basics since they are the ones signing the check.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing allows companies to store large amounts of data on a third-party server. This takes responsibility away from the company to upkeep their own servers. The cloud provider manages all aspects of the server: the maintenance, the software, and all hardware aspects. This leaves local IT services time to worry about infrastructure within the company, and not the server and its potential problems.

Advantages

End user satisfaction is increased due to the mobility offered by cloud services. As long as there is a connection to the Internet users can log on and have access to their profiles. Healthcare workers can access the network from anywhere they can get a wireless signal. This helps with user satisfaction and allows healthcare workers to maintain contact if they are out of the office. Some other advantages are:

  • Scalability – This allows healthcare organizations to upgrade or downgrade as needed. If there are circumstances, such as moving to another office building during a renovation the cloud provider can have workstations active in two separate areas without physically having to move the main servers.
  • Flexible investment – As with scalability, the payment associated with cloud providers can vary as well. You only pay for what you use. So if you need to double your workstations during a move, then the pay will increase, and when the renovation has ended your payment will go back down where it was before the renovation. This limits the investment you must make during a move or other situation that may cause you to alter your normal network environment.
  • Compliance – Major cloud service providers, like TOSS, are HIPAA compliant. Those that have worked with other health organizations know the rules and how to adhere to them. In many cases, providers can keep track of HIPAA regulations better than the individual healthcare organizations. The provider monitors compliance accuracy at all times.

What to look for

Cloud service providers are not created equal. Just like any other organization, there are the good ones and the not so good ones. When contacting a provider make sure to ask a few simple questions to get a feel for the company. Here are some you may want to ask:

  • Are you HIPAA compliant?
  • Have you worked with healthcare organizations before?
  • Which ones? Do you have contact information or references to the company I can call?
  • What is your exit strategy in case I decide to move my data at a later date?
  • Is your SLA flexible?

These are standard questions, but they are important. The purpose of the questions is to try and get a solid understanding of the company. By the end of the conversation, you should feel comfortable and be trusting of the company. Don’t accept answers filled with computer jargon. The cloud service provider should explain everything in a way you understand, and if they don’t, then call another provider. Get a free assessment, and find out how TOSS can help you today. Request a quote now!




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