News | February 24, 2014

Healthcare Providers Motivated To Adopt Cloud Technology, Cite Security Concerns

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Study Commissioned by Level 3 Reveals Healthcare IT Leaders Value Flexibility and Cost Savings, but Have Misconceptions about Security in the Cloud

Communications, Inc. recently released results of a research study conducted among Level 3 healthcare customers and healthcare IT leaders. The study, which polled respondents about their cloud readiness, revealed that more than half were still investigating cloud options, and that a large majority referenced security concerns as the main barrier to adoption.

The two-part study included multiple focus groups of healthcare IT leaders across the country, as well as an independent research survey of Level 3 healthcare customers facilitated by TechValidate. The study, which took place from September 2013 through January 2014, found that only 30 percent of respondents were actively managing cloud-based technology – indicating that many providers are still in the nascent stages of cloud adoption. When asked about barriers to cloud, 42 percent of respondents said security was a key concern.

“There’s no doubt that healthcare providers still have reservations about moving to a cloud environment because of security concerns,” said Andrew Crouch, Regional President of North America and APAC for Level 3. “Across the healthcare IT ecosystem, we need to do a better job of communicating secure architecture options for cloud. In fact, when you look at some of the latest data breaches of hospital information, the majority have occurred among physical assets like thumb drives or laptops.”

According to HHS.gov, 69 percent of all individual cases affected by breaches have been from loss or theft of physical assets, while 18 percent are from hacking or server theft – dispelling the idea that online theft lends itself to amplified breach numbers.

The study also discovered that of healthcare providers that are employing cloud technology, one-third cite flexibility as the primary reason for moving to the cloud, followed closely by cost savings. This is not surprising given the continuous evolution of healthcare IT (HIT) requirements and efficiency mandates many departments have encountered.

“Cloud is really the future of healthcare,” said Crouch. “Despite a relatively low adoption rate, Level 3 anticipates that in 2014 as more organizations become educated about secure cloud options, more healthcare providers will turn to the cloud to leverage a scalable, efficient and secure way to access and store data and health information technology (HIT) applications.”

Additional highlights from the research study, which polled more than 50 healthcare IT professionals, include

  • 35 percent of organizations surveyed are investigating cloud technology – see Exhibit 1
  • 16 percent of respondents highlighted mobility and anywhere access as a primary cloud driver and with future meaningful use stages requiring that patients have access to their records through portals, this is a trend that will continue to drive HIT requirements – see Exhibit 2
  • 13 percent cite leveraging cloud solutions for business continuity and disaster relief (BCDR) as a motivator, not surprising given exponential healthcare data growth and burgeoning storage requirements – see Exhibit 2
  • 17 percent of respondents cite loss of control as the second largest barrier to cloud adoption, highlighting more reservations brought by lack of information about cloud solutions – Exhibit 3

To learn more about how healthcare organizations can successfully leverage cloud computing, register for Level 3’s upcoming webinar on April 1. For more information on Level 3’s advanced network and service offerings, visit http://www.level3.com/en/solutions/industry/health-information-exchange/.

About Level 3 Communications
Level 3 Communications, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that provides local, national and global communications services to enterprise, government and carrier customers. Level 3’s comprehensive portfolio of secure, managed solutions includes fiber and infrastructure solutions; IP-based voice and data communications; wide-area Ethernet services; video and content distribution; data center and cloud-based solutions. Level 3 serves customers in more than 500 markets in over 60 countries over a global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents and connected by extensive undersea facilities. For more information, visit www.level3.com.

SOURCE: Level 3 Communications