On Premise versus Cloud Analytics

We’ve long been hearing those people talk about the cloud. Most famously, Jonathan Bush has been beating the drum of the power of the cloud and how the cloud EHR vendors are going to take down their dinosaur client server counterparts. In the hospital world that has yet to happen for EHR software, but the cloud has still become a major part of every healthcare IT organization.

When we look at our personal lives, we all have data stored in the cloud. The cloud is a major part of most of our lives. I know I try to store nothing locally and run pretty much my entire business and personal life in the cloud. I had to recently replace my cell phone. Turns out that the change didn’t matter at all since everything I did was in the cloud. I literally didn’t even know the number of my cell phone. I just got the new phone, logged into the cloud and everything started to sync up (I did have to log in to a bunch of apps). It was beautiful.

In the latest movements towards the cloud, I’ve seen a lot of people talking about healthcare analytics heading to the cloud. It begs the question, “Will the cloud win out in the healthcare analytics space?

I think the biggest naysayers to cloud analytics are those who say that they aren’t planning to move all their data to the cloud and they’re not comfortable with all their EHR data in the cloud so they don’t see how cloud analytics will work for them. (Side Note: I always love how we claim privacy and security when we don’t want to do something, but we don’t actually do something to ensure the privacy and security of our data.)

No doubt opinions like this will slow the adoption of cloud analytics. Most vendors I know are going to offer either option for the forseeable future. However, there are some new technologies which leave your data in place, but can leverage the cloud to access the data as needed. I first saw this with SAP, but there are probably others that are doing it too. I think technologies like this will change many people’s view of using the cloud to handle their analytics.

On a much larger scale, I don’t think health care will have a choice but to use the cloud. I don’t see every health care organization building their own private cloud in order to do all of the genomic medicine which is starting to come. I don’t see every health care organization getting the benchmarking and “grand rounds” style of data that analytics providers can provide across disparate organizations. I don’t see most organizations being able to afford to build their own analytics engine on site.

I could keep going on, but the way health care analytics is going I’m not sure that hospitals will have any choice but to embrace cloud analytics. I know this leaves many hospital CIOs uncomfortable. However, burying your head in the sand and acting like it’s not going to happen won’t make you more comfortable. Denial isn’t a good strategy. The best way to be comfortable with it and ensure that healthcare analytics clouds are safe, private and secure is for hospital organizations to make a real investment of time into what’s going on.

What do you think? Is the future of analytics at hospitals going to be in the cloud?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.