With health care providers relying on electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine to give patients the best care, databases at hospitals and medical centers are increasingly strained. The volume of data can be difficult to store, and its complexity makes it difficult to manage efficiently. HIPAA compliance regulations require that access to data be tightly controlled.
A cloud-based infrastructure’s ability to meet capacity demands and maintain control over access to patient data make it the best option for maintaining health care databases.
Here’s a look at 5 advantages to using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for health care:
1) High Availability
For most companies, downtime means lost revenue. But for health care organizations, a shutdown could put patients’ lives at risk. Hospitals and medical centers need to be available at all times to handle emergencies. They must access patient medical histories at a moment’s notice. A report by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that EHR downtime interferes with lab work and the administration of medications, putting patients at risk.
The geographically redundant architecture provided through IaaS enables organizations to keep accessing vital data even after an outage. Off-site infrastructure escapes any equipment failures or natural disasters that may affect a physical data center.
2) Simplified Management and Maintenance
Maintaining and managing a data center infrastructure is a burden for IT teams at hospitals and medical centers. Routine housekeeping tasks and endless upgrades keep them from focusing on improving user experience and developing new health care technology solutions.
With IaaS, the provider takes over many of the management and maintenance duties. The cloud provider makes upgrades and monitors the environment to ensure it is operating optimally and safely. The right cloud provider will have its support team available to its customers at all times.
Health care organizations want to direct most of their spending toward patient care. Spending money on hardware and software means fewer resources are devoted to staffing and medical equipment. However, maintaining a database for EHRs is crucial in today’s health care industry.
With IaaS, health care providers can avoid capital expenses for storage hardware. All necessary storage is provided in the cloud. Customers pay a flat monthly fee for their infrastructure. They only pay for what they need and receive necessary upgrades without having to procure and implement the equipment.
4) Robust Security
Medical records are a popular target for hackers. The personally identifiable information of patients fetches top dollar on the black market because it can be used to commit insurance fraud.
HIPAA regulations require that access to EHRs be strictly controlled. Unauthorized access must be blocked while still allowing patients free access to their information. According to HIPAA Journal, 3.2 million records were breached in 2017. This number will increase once the HIPAA deadline for reporting incidents has passed.
The right cloud provider should offer robust security for IaaS. Security measures should include intrusion detection and prevention to ensure stored medical information is protected from being stolen or tampered with.
In health care, workloads can be difficult to predict. If a major emergency happens, a hospital will get slammed with no time to prepare. Organizations also experience regular growth that necessitates the expansion of a physical data center.
IaaS makes scaling easy. Anytime a hospital or medical center needs to meet new capacity requirements, it can acquire more resources from its cloud provider. If workloads taper off, infrastructure can be decommissioned at your request.
Finding the Right IaaS for Health Care
Not every cloud provider will offer all these advantages. Look for a provider with a strong network that guarantees data can be transmitted quickly and safely between your organization and the cloud.
FirstLight gives its customers access to one of the largest high-speed fiber optic networks in the Northeast. We have experience working with health care providers, so we understand the specific compliance regulations in the industry. Our IaaS offering includes the FirstLight Portal, which allows your organization to maintain control over your environment while still taking advantage of the cloud and related services and support.
Visit our Health Care Solutions page for more information on why FirstLight is the right choice for today's modern health care facility.