Healthcare Is Moving To The Cloud

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

The healthcare industry is gradually overcoming its fears and is—finally—about  to get high on the cloud.

The array of technologies commonly known as  cloud computing are coming into their own in healthcare as a secure, capable and  cost-effective means to provision computer hardware, and software and services,  despite persistent and still lingering concerns about privacy,  security and reliability.

One  newer user who’s happy she jumped to the cloud is Terri Kendrick, director of  purchasing at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare system in Glendale, Wis. Three of  its 11 hospitals are up and running on a cloud-based, medical/surgical ordering  system in a  rollout that began in November and should wrap up by October, she  says.

“Security has always been an issue,” Kendrick says, so the plan to  switch to a cloud-based system was scrutinized. “We talked to our IS department  about the encrypting and password protection and we addressed everybody’s  concerns.”

While Wheaton’s departing in-house ordering system has 60,000  items, the new cloud-based system has 1.3 million and is growing, Kendrick says,  including “300,000 items with our purchase history, pricing and formularies.”  The cloud enables buyers to expand their formularies and sellers to grow their  product catalogs more quickly and easily.

“If you’re in the OR, you’ve  gone in and built a list of your favorites, because you don’t want to access 1.3  million” records, Kendrick says. “So you just select an item and drop it into  your shopping cart and it’s done.” The new system also features onboard decision  support. “If it’s something that’s not on contract, it will flag you, and  because it has artificial intelligence behind it, it will flag you to an item  that is on contract.”

For managers, “there is a dashboard that can show  that this is a missed opportunity or somebody is doing a bang-up job.” 

Kendrick says it’s too early to talk about return on investment in the technology, but “we’re looking to see where those opportunities are.”

Contact Environmental Intelligence to explore your cloud computing options and let us show you how we can help your organization achieve tangible ROI.

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