Market researcher KLAS spoke with 97 providers to develop a general sense of healthcare professionals’ perceptions of cloud computing and found that those utilizing other technologies were skeptical of web-based data storage even though 58 percent said that they were considering cloud systems.
“Fifty-eight percent of respondents are considering using cloud computing,” report author Erik Westerlind wrote. “However, only 35 percent who expressed interest in the cloud have any solid plans to adopt it, showing that providers do not have aggressive cloud implementation timelines.
“In fact, many providers are still vetting out cloud technologies and feel that the technology is a bit premature for healthcare,” Westerlind continued.
Despite skepticism, 71 percent of KLAS’ respondents said that they were currently using or have definite plans to use cloud-computing technologies for various services that include emailing, image archiving and general storage. Of the 55 percent that said they were currently using cloud-computing capabilities, 23 percent were using it for deploying EHRs.
Providers have been more likely to utilize private cloud services offered by health IT vendors rather than public cloud providers, such as Google and Amazon, because private clouds offer better security, privacy and control of data, the Orem, Utah-based research firm determined.
Providers are primarily considering cloud-based systems, KLAS researchers asserted, to reduce costs.
“Sixty percent of respondents perceived that cost savings would be the greatest benefit of cloud computing, particularly because they would avoid additional on-site storage and network infrastructure costs, labor costs and hardware costs,” Westerlind wrote.
“In addition, several expressed the belief that they have received or would receive better disaster recovery and business continuity services by using cloud technology,” he continued.
The KLAS research report concluded that cloud services may offer more agile computing environments and they may be more cost effective, but many providers will steer clear of the technology until it becomes more developed.
“Providers are looking to cloud services primarily to cut costs and achieve operational efficiency,” Westerlind wrote. “However, most have big concerns about the cloud’s maturity within healthcare, and no one cloud strategy has emerged as a leader to healthcare providers.
“Providers are waiting for help from a vendor who can successfully court them through tight security and complete ownership of their cloud offering,” he added.