This marks the 32nd year I’ve worked in healthcare. It doesn’t seem like very long ago that I worked as a registered nurse, caring for critically ill patients. Although I’m no longer working at a patient’s bedside, today’s healthcare organizations continue to put patient care first – starting with transformation in healthcare technology.

HealthcareDue to increased digitization of patient data and increased collaboration among insurance providers and doctors, IT innovation and integration in healthcare is on the rise.  A new survey from Black Book shows that economic factors and government regulations are beginning to nudge independent physician practices to the cloud.

As more move to the cloud, the recent package of HIPAA changes known as the “final omnibus rule” clarifies the legal framework for healthcare organizations to work with cloud services, as David F. Carr highlighted in his recent article in Information Week.

This is a fundamental shift for healthcare organizations that could set precedent for other industries like education, financial services and government. Are you ready for it?

Cloud service providers now need to meet the same rules and regulations as their customers within healthcare – meeting stringent HIPAA compliance. This means that organizations can have more peace of mind in deploying emerging cloud solutions as IT and service providers share responsibility for meeting these regulatory demands.

As more healthcare professionals move to the cloud, IT organizations need to evaluate how to federate public cloud services with their private cloud efforts. This type of transformation will require organizations to look beyond just building a private cloud. They need to build and buy a secure, scalable, and reliable network that supports privacy, high availability, and mobility, all while meeting cost targets.

The Importance of a Cloud Strategy

While the new HIPAA regulations are requiring more shared responsibility between IT and service providers, healthcare organizations can be empowered to expand both their private and public cloud solutions.

Healthcare, of any industry, should be looking to a certified Cisco Powered cloud provider when they are buying their cloud services – whether it’s cloud services like Infrastructure as a Service and Hosted Collaboration Solutions or Managed Services. Cisco Powered cloud and managed services can assist healthcare organizations and service providers as they undergo rigorous validation of their architectures and services to meet new third-party auditing standards. This approach can also help ensure patients’ data is protected and improve the cost, access, and quality of healthcare services.

While the healthcare IT industry continues to transform, it’s clear that all of these challenges lead to one overarching goal – to improve patient care, outcomes and experience. As a registered nurse, this couldn’t make me happier.

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Kathy English

Former Cisco Global Sr. Director, Global Data Center Marketing Programs

No Longer with Cisco