Health IT

What do healthcare CIOs really think of the cloud?

A survey from Datica shows healthcare IT executives believe the push to the cloud is necessary, but they’re concerned about data and privacy issues that arise.

A new survey from software company Datica shows healthcare IT executives believe the push to the cloud is warranted, but have concerns around data and privacy.

CIOs from 175 healthcare organizations participated in an online survey, and the final results were tabulated in April of this year.

Over two-thirds of survey respondents said cloud hosting for current applications is one of their organization’s top 10 priorities. About one-third said it is among their entity’s top five priorities.

While the cloud seems to be important among IT leaders in the medical world, the actual migration process is happening slowly. About 17.7 percent of CIOs said their organization has more than half of its existing software infrastructure hosted remotely or in the cloud. And 14.8 percent have 25 to 50 percent of their infrastructure remotely hosted.

On top of that, 69 percent of executives said they don’t have a data migration strategy in place.

Part of the problem is compliance, security and privacy when it comes to the cloud. When asked about these topics, 52.6 percent of respondents said they have concerns. Less than half (44 percent) indicated they’re comfortable evaluating the compliance of potential vendors. Only 3.4 percent said they had no concern for cloud applications because they weren’t allowed.

Another issue is a failure to see the advantage of cloud hosting. Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said they don’t see a clear business value in migrating to the cloud.

“These survey findings mirror what we’ve been hearing in high-level conversations at Datica,” Travis Good, Datica’s CEO and chief privacy officer, said in a news release. “Although cloud hosting for healthcare has become mainstream, the understanding of and confidence in the cloud to meet the exacting standards of the highly regulated industry is still a major concern for healthcare systems.”

As for healthcare organizations that are using cloud hosting, they’re making sure to safeguard patients’ protected health information.

About 34 percent of IT leaders said their system is using the cloud to develop new applications or manage PHI. Of that group, 64 percent anticipate having between two and five internally created, cloud-based applications ready in the next two years. Possible applications include data analytics (indicated by 70 percent of respondents), population health (46.5 percent), community care (37.9 percent) and machine learning (32.7 percent).

Privacy is also a concern among entities harnessing the power of the cloud. About 70.6 percent of cloud-using organizations have their own internal compliance policies. Approximately 13.7 percent of CIOs said they use software-based compliance platforms, and 10.3 percent use external managed service providers.

Photo: BackyardProduction, Getty Images