The online survey, launched Feb. 9, was designed to assess healthcare’s preparedness for the massive volume of data generated by the industry’s escalating reliance upon information technology. Early findings specific to cloud storage were announced by BridgeHead at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference and exhibition, currently being held in Atlanta.
An overwhelming majority of respondents to date – more than 80% – reports that the most significant factor influencing decisions about utilizing cloud storage is concern about security and availability of data. Respondents also cited cost and a lack of conviction that cloud storage offers significant benefits when compared to local media.
“While preliminary, these results are very interesting and highly indicative of the industry’s rightful concern about the security of confidential and sensitive material,” notes Tony Cotterill, CEO of BridgeHead Software. “Second to delivering excellent care, healthcare leaders are committed to protecting any and all information pertaining to patients.”
Although healthcare is proceeding cautiously, many experts anticipate that a cloud strategy will play an escalating role in data storage, backup and archiving. “Other industries are leading the way,” points out Cotterill. “They have discovered that including the cloud as an integral component of their overarching IT strategy offers a number of benefits, including increased efficiency, scalability and cost savings.”
Select technology providers have already addressed questions about cloud security and data availability, and advise healthcare organizations to ensure any vendor partners demonstrate data is encrypted both during transmission and “at rest” within the cloud. In addition, vendors should offer sufficient redundancy to guarantee organizations can get data back from the cloud when they need it.