HIMSS Cloud Survey: 80 Percent of Healthcare Organizations Embrace the Cloud

Results of the inaugural 2014 HIMSS Cloud Survey show the widespread adoption of cloud services among healthcare organizations across the U.S., with 80 percent of the 150 respondents reporting they currently use cloud services. The top three reasons for adopting cloud services include lower maintenance costs, speed of deployment and lack of internal staffing resources. The survey shows a positive growth outlook for cloud services as almost all healthcare organizations currently using cloud services plan to expand their use of these tools.

Half of the cloud adopters are hosting clinical applications in the cloud, primarily using Software as a Service (SaaS). Other typical cloud services include health information exchange (HIE), hosting human resources applications and data as well as backup and disaster recovery.

“Cloud services have been long praised as a tool to reduce operating expenses for healthcare organizations. The data presented in our inaugural survey demonstrates the healthcare industry’s eagerness to leverage this resource,” said Lorren Pettit, Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. “With such a positive market outlook, we hope vendors will leverage the business intelligence gleaned from this report, continue working with providers to meet their needs, and help healthcare organizations provide the most cost-efficient care.”

Healthcare organizations take into consideration a number of factors when selecting a cloud services provider. The top concerns for healthcare organizations seeking cloud services are the cloud services provider’s willingness to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) as well as physical and technical security.

Even after a cloud services provider has been selected and the cloud services have been adopted by the healthcare organization, there are still challenges.  Two-thirds of healthcare organizations have challenges, including a lack of visibility into ongoing operations, customer service, as well as costs and fees.

Half of the respondents also identified performance issues, such as 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.”

To learn more about the findings for the survey, which examines the responses of 150 healthcare organizations – including medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare systems – visit the HIMSS Analytics website.

HIMSS Analytics collects, analyzes and distributes essential health IT data related to products, costs, metrics, trends and purchase decisions.  It delivers quality data and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, financial, pharmaceutical and consulting companies.

HIMSS Analytics is a part of HIMSS, a cause-based global enterprise that produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share the cause of transforming health and healthcare through the best use of IT.  HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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