By Inga Shugalo, healthcare industry analyst, Itransition.
Following the wind of change, we find that healthcare is on the way to transferring most of its processes to the cloud. According to IDC, hospitals now tend to prefer keeping custom medical software from EHRs to AI and data analytics on cloud servers instead of in-house management.
With more providers investing in scalability and cost-efficiency of cloud solutions, the recent research forecasts the global healthcare cloud computing market to reach $35 billion by 2022 at 11.6 percent CAGR.
Currently, the cloudification develops in two complementary directions.
Some providers only test the waters going for a new cloud solution, for example, a mobile app to support chronic disease management. Others consider migrating their already existing architecture elements to the cloud to enable seamless synchronization between different system parts, create new team collaboration practices, or save time and money on the infrastructure maintenance.
Since cloud migration is a complex process requiring substantial planning and good timing, we’ve decided to cover the initial steps of a smooth transition to the cloud.
Assessing the infrastructure
First things first, there is a good chance you don’t need to migrate the full infrastructure and can better manage your investments by injecting them into strategic areas only. Start with considering your as-is situation and pinpointing the architecture components with the potential to impact the business evolution via new or improved services.
Additionally, take into account the possible technology and business constraints, upcoming updates, integration and compatibility requirements for the solutions, as well as the need for a substantial redesign before starting the cloud migration.
It can turn out that some big data archives that aren’t used frequently can stay on-premise, and some applications will serve providers better from the cloud due to increased robustness and security for the regular multi-user access.
In this case, an organization can choose to go for the hybrid environment, decreasing the load on in-house servers and adding up more flexibility to the picked system elements.
Self-check: What are our migration goals?
Answering this question, you will be able to determine the priority elements for migration to the cloud by determining the most pressing needs, such as everyday workflows, equipment management, or disaster recovery.
While thinking about the goals, review all parts of the infrastructure, including business and clinical applications, such as EHR, LIS, PACS, and RIS, assigning them to one of the following categories:
- First to be migrated
- Future migration projects
- Unable/unneeded to migrate
With such a clear prioritization, it will be easier to assemble a migration roadmap that will guide the project scope creation, design, and implementation processes.
Drafting a migration strategy
After your priorities are all set, it is time to create a migration strategy based on applications and data to be transferred to the cloud. You can either pick one of the approaches or mix and match them depending on particular infrastructure elements.