The cloud has been around for years, so what’s holding hospitals back?

February 16, 2023

Cloud infrastructure enables healthcare organisations to be more accessible, flexible, agile, and scalable, which has been especially needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The benefits of the cloud are well known, so what is stopping mass adoption in healthcare? 

Hospital decision-makers are held back by a variety of factors including, a fear that their mission critical systems could become inaccessible, skills shortages, security suspicions, data privacy and structural funding restrictions. 


Cloud Connectivity Issues 

A drawback of the cloud is this – if you have a network failure: clinicians can be cut off from important data; such as a patient’s history or medication information.  

More broadly speaking, a network failure can impede the hospital’s mission critical processes. If the cloud goes down, so too does the digital platform that facilitates tasks, incidents, and alarm notifications. 

Through the cloud, staff are automatically alerted with workflow routing technology and assigned tasks or notified of incidents. When the network fails, notifications for: porters to move patients to surgery, patient care assistants to help patients and cleaners to mop-up spills – are not dispensed. 

The cumulative effect of this network failure can be devastating to the hospital operations that healthcare facilities rely on to provide timely patient care. 

These are the stakes that CIOs are dealing with when making their decisions, so it is understandable that there are valid concerns regarding the move to a complete cloud solution. 

The Solution 

The brilliance of cloud infrastructure is the agility, security, and accessibility it provides.  

Remember that the cloud is just another datacentre, granted, a very sophisticated, extremely scalable and highly secure datacentre. 

That said, for a mission-critical system such as alarm and incident management, there can be no downtime. So what happens if the connection to the network fails? 

To alleviate that risk, Olinqua deploys an “edge instance” of its platform on the hospital premises datacentre or IT infrastructure. This means that if the connection to the cloud is lost, the users are automatically redirected to the “edge instance” where they can continue to use the application with no loss of service. This hybrid model offers high resiliency and survivability in case of major failures, offering piece of mind to hospital administrators, their staff and patients. 


Security Suspicions  

One of the main reasons hospitals are wary of adopting cloud solutions is data security and privacy concerns.  

A recent study by Datica found that compliance, security, and privacy are the top three concerns among hospital CIOs who have considered implementing technology from outside vendors – with 52 percent of respondents in the survey stating security concerns relating to cloud solutions. 

Australia’s health sector is still number one for data breaches according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, so, this anxiety is justified. 

The Solution 

Contrary to the belief of several hospital executives, the cloud offers more security, not less and there are several studies that demonstrate this, such as Oracle‘s “Security in the Age of AI” report.

When you consider the billions of dollars invested in cloud infrastructure from tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, a substantial portion of these investments are made on security and privacy. As an example, Microsoft has a government grade datacentre in Canberra that meets the highest level of security and privacy required by government agencies.  

By using SaaS platforms like Olinqua, delivered from Microsoft’s Azure cloud, clients benefit from all the investment and protection put in place by the vendor. Security threats to you are their concern too – so a hospital’s internal IT (Information Technology) team won’t be facing cyber-attacks alone. 

If your hospital were to use the same cloud as the federal defence for example, you would benefit from their security investments, at no extra cost. 


Healthcare Funding Structures 

Traditionally, many hospitals have a capital expenditure (CapEx) budget and must know in advance their costs for the next year, 5 years or even 10 years. Moving to an operational expenditure (OpEx) budget model to cater for a public cloud “pay-as-you-go” model can be difficult because hospitals want predictability in spending. However, the tide is changing, and more hospitals are refreshing their budgeting model to cater for more modern approaches. It’s time for hospitals to stop buying technology and start consuming it, thus transferring some of the risk to the cloud or SaaS vendors. 

The Solution 

Vendors, such as Olinqua, offer pricing structures that can suit the funding needs of hospitals, while empowering them to be agile. With cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) through Olinqua, we set it up and you consume it. 


Cloud Success 

The new world class cardiac care focused Victorian Heart Hospital has taken a “cloud first” approach. By leveraging the public cloud for most of their hospital operations, they enjoy the complete benefits of the cloud: scalability, the latest technology on demand, no upfront commitment on hardware or its management and data integration with real-time access regardless of location – empowering collaboration through multiple devices. 

We’re proud to say we’re delivering RTLS (Real-Time-Location-Services), fire alarm, nurse call and facility messaging for Victorian Heart Hospital with our Olinqua platform. This hospital is a signal of the future and proof of possibility. The cloud is here, we need to overcome common misconceptions to tap into its benefits for hospital operations and patient care. 


More on Cloud Healthcare 

If you want to find out more, Our CTO — David Paré — shared the benefits of cloud for hospital operations, which you can check out in his Wild Health Summit presentation here.  


Get in touch for more information!