Accelerate the Digital Future of Healthcare with Financial Flexibility

The following is a guest article by Josh Gluck, Vice President of Global Healthcare Technology Strategy at Pure Storage.

With the need for digital transformation, especially during COVID-19, healthcare and life sciences organizations have been tasked with adapting quickly to emerging technologies and other digital information advances, while facing extreme financial challenges. In fact, U.S. hospitals are estimated to lose more than $323 billion this year, according to a report from the American Hospital Association. The total includes $120.5 billion in financial losses the AHA predicts hospitals will see from July to December.

Financial models for every industry right now are adapting overnight. Consider other industries’ subscription models – movies, music, and software. Consumers pay to avoid the hassle of storing or maintaining the asset on demand. Now, apply this thought process to the healthcare realm, specifically a healthcare organization’s data foundation. Healthcare IT leaders could pay for an experience without having to worry about maintenance or future technology refreshes.

A pay-per-use infrastructure in the healthcare and life sciences industry could help redefine how organizations consume and pay for data storage as well as their cloud strategies. This new type of infrastructure allows financial flexibility for organizations to help embark on their transformation journey.

Healthcare’s digital transformation

Over the past decade, the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has accelerated exponentially, in part by government incentives and requirements. This shift has shown health organizations the potential to use data to innovate, including advancements in telemedicine, artificial intelligence, predictive medicine, and so much more. But all of this requires organizations to redefine how they consume and pay for data storage, with a close eye on disruptive technologies, data growth, the cloud, and total cost of ownership.

  • During this time of uncertainty, healthcare organizations need to stay abreast of the new digital technologies. According to HIMSS Media, less than 10 percent of healthcare professionals have executed a full digital transformation strategy. Meanwhile, others have reported lack of funding as a challenge to transition to a digital health system. The global pandemic has required organizations to place elective procedures on hold and scale up their facilities to meet demand for treatment and testing, placing further strain on income while increasing costs. With a financial flexibility model, organizations can optimize investments to jumpstart their digital transformation.
  • The growth of healthcare data is exponential in this new digital age. Some estimates project that a single patient generates almost 80 megabytes of electronic health record data each year. Storing increased data can be costly and a major physical challenge for healthcare organizations. Cutting storage costs right at the start can free up capital for any necessary digital transformation investments. Because of the enormous amount of data, it is important to manage the exponential growth of healthcare data – now more than ever.
  • Due to this exponential growth of healthcare data, many organizations choose to use cloud-based solutions for their ever-changing data storage needs. The public cloud lacks enterprise features and requires rate lock-ins. These costs will only continue to escalate and hinder the ability to progress key digital infrastructure investments. Additionally, some applications are not ready to move to the cloud. Advancements in onsite storage technology provide similar benefits to cloud storage, but enable organizations to move storage workloads seamlessly between on-premises and the cloud, or in between with a hybrid cloud model, with even more flexibility. It is critical for organizations to invest in the technology that not only meets their needs now but also allows them to scale months down the road.
  • As healthcare organizations are evaluating their finances for digital transformation, total cost of ownership (TCO) is a vital metric. When calculating TCO, organizations should also factor in refresh and migration costs that will eventually come down the road. All-flash deployments can reduce operating costs and cut maintenance burden. Some industry calculations estimate that the TCO of an all-flash deployment is on average 50 percent lower over a six-year period than a traditional disk hardware infrastructure. Organizations that experience total storage flexibility can allow resources to be applied to other strategic investments.

Financial flexibility starts with Storage-as-a-Service

Organizations have to realize financial and operational flexibility in order to advance in their journey towards digital transformation, even in the most challenging times. Consuming flash storage as a service, is defined by Gartner as a “highly automated offering in which computing resources owned by a service provider, complemented by storage and networking capabilities are offered on demand.” As more healthcare organizations seek on-premises and cloud solutions for their ever-growing data needs, storage-as-a-service allows organizations to consume storage on-demand and pay for only what they use especially if organizations are unsure how much capacity they will need in the future. Valuable resources are freed up because there is no infrastructure to own or manage – and admins don’t need to deal with expensive upgrade cycles, disruptive downtime, and rebuys of storage they already own.

In addition, healthcare CFOs can budget accurately with predictable pricing models, while experiencing a reduction in CAPEX. This eliminates over-provisioning and simplifies forecasting and procurement, allowing organizations full control over how storage affects their balance sheets or P&Ls.

Organizations need the ability to quickly scale and provision storage resources to apps, especially as healthcare data use rises exponentially in this new digital age. At this time of need for constant innovation, speed, and flexibility, storage-as-a-service and the simplified storage lifecycle it enables help organizations simply grow and change as the world does. Organizations receive maximum value now by paying for what they need – whether they buy, lease, subscribe, or use as a service – which allows for financial flexibility for innovation well into the future.

About Josh Gluck

Josh Gluck is Vice President of Global Healthcare Technology Strategy at Pure Storage where he is responsible for Pure’s technology strategy, market development and thought leadership in healthcare and life sciences. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He can be reached at