News Feature | May 26, 2015

Can The Cloud Facilitate Interoperability?

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

96% Of Healthcare Organizations Use The Cloud

Managing and sharing the increasing amount of data being generated may be made easier by leveraging cloud technology.

A webinar hosted by Health IT Outcomes will explore how healthcare organizations can manage interoperability barriers by leveraging cloud technology. The one-hour presentation, Where Interoperability Intersects With The Cloud, will be held Tuesday, June 2 beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT and scheduled participants are John Daniels, VP, Strategic Relations for HIMSS and Chris Bowen, chief privacy officer for ClearDATA. The focus will be on the viability of cloud computing as an enabler of healthcare data interoperability and the path to achieving it.

One particular challenge for healthcare in terms of interoperability is managing the sheer volume of data created on a daily basis. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), a 10-second CT scan can produce 10GB of raw data, and the average size of data resulting from imaging procedures grew from less than 50 MB to more than 80 MB in 2011. This creates unique storage and transmission challenges for healthcare organizations, and also has serious implications for interoperability.

As Talent Advisors’ president Konstantinos Klitsas predicts, 2015 will see a greater shift to the cloud in order to address the challenges of interoperability. Konstantinos writes, “There is no simpler way to facilitate data sharing across disparate systems, platforms and applications. As more hospitals struggle with overburdened budgets for software and hardware, cloud solutions will become increasingly attractive. The economy of scale available with cloud-based IT, as well as its possibilities for risk sharing and low demand for specialized hardware, will see healthcare Software as a Service grow massively in popularity over the coming year.”

In an interview with Healthcare Dive, athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush says the cloud is the disruptive technology to bring healthcare into the Internet age, describing “level three interoperation” in which two cloud-based systems connect once and support multiple interoperations which will accomplish more than just data sharing. Healthcare Dive further adds analysts predict significant future cloud-oriented health IT growth, and the healthcare cloud market in the U.S. and Europe is expected to grow between 10 and 30 percent by 2020 to $3.5 billion.

But, as Edmund Billings writes, “The influence of the cloud on healthcare is both intriguing and necessary. Current, localized server implementations and hospital-specific configurations have yielded a hopelessly complex health IT patchwork that requires an encyclopedia of interfaces to realize true interoperability and sharing of patient data.”

Adding to the story, Bowen points out CMS has signaled a renewed focus on interoperability, which provides opportunities for healthcare in the cloud by breaking down barriers to data exchange and aiding in collaborative care. Bowen writes, “Entities that are members of an accountable care organization or other coordinated care programs also benefit from the neutrality of the cloud for a variety of functions, from the day-to-day, such as claims and billing, to more analytic reporting and collaboration. The cloud provider can host the data along with any other number of data management services that the healthcare organization can’t, or just doesn’t want to take on.”

Register here to participate in the upcoming webinar and help navigate through the intersection of the cloud and interoperability.