Get Your Head Out of the Cloud! (Not any more…the push for all things cloud)

I recall how as a teen, my parents would sigh at me and say, “Get your head out of the clouds.” This might be to nudge me to attend to anything from homework to tidying my room.

Today, though, when we talk about “the cloud” we’re less likely to mean state of daydream, or even the weather. When we talk about “cloud” today, it’s often in reference to technology.

PHEMI was pleased to contribute to a recent Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Health Clouds For Data Integration And Patient Insight.[1] The report provides an overview of health cloud services and examines the range of services available to payers and providers. According to the report, “Enterprise health clouds help healthcare organizations become agile businesses that derive crucial insights and engage their patients by allowing them to:

  • Secure and integrate data with a governance layer
  • Drive patient insights with advanced analytics.
  • Engage patients with applications designed specifically for their needs.”

Almost every industry except the health care industry has been quick to jump on the cloud bandwagon. Why not? In a word—privacy. Serious concern over patient privacy and confidentiality has slowed the progression towards utilizing the cloud and big data. But now a growing number of hospitals and healthcare systems are embracing these technologies to transform clinical operations, precision medicine, and public health.

With vendors addressing the privacy, security and governance challenges head-on, cloud has become a viable option for this industry. There are new enterprise platforms to help healthcare organizations ingest data from varied sources, build new applications in the cloud, perform real-time advanced analytics, and meet HIPAA and governance requirements. Without the need to deploy and manage the technology on-site, cloud platforms can be implemented much faster at a lower operating cost. A modern cloud-based big data solution provides a path to start capitalizing on healthcare data to improve patient outcomes and drive patient engagement.

The benefits of a cloud-based big data solution for healthcare are obvious; but not all cloud solutions are created equal. It is important to educate yourself, so you can be confident in packing up your healthcare big data and taking it to the cloud. Here are some essential features to consider:

Production-Ready Big Data
A fully integrated big data solution means you don’t need in-house Hadoop expertise, so you can focus on data analytics, instead of learning Hadoop.

Designed for Healthcare
Healthcare data is complex and requires certain features such as:

  • Data integration features to quickly ingest and automatically catalog and index your data
  • Data curation and transform features that let you extract and annotate healthcare data such as echocardiograms or genomic (VCF) files
  • Support for 3rd-party and custom analytics and data science tools

Privacy Management
Privacy, governance and data management that go beyond HIPAA requirements is important. Access controls should take into account privacy requirements, data sensitivity, granular policy management, and user authorizations.

Cloud solutions offer many benefits to healthcare organizations – the agility and scalability are unparalleled. Plus, the promise of better insights and quicker discovery for healthcare is exciting.

Are you ready to get your head in the cloud? Let PHEMI help you start turning your health data into greater insight.


[1] Forrester Research, April 13, 2017, Kate McCarthy, Alex Kramer, Alex Cullen
Vendor Landscape: Health Clouds For Data Integration And Patient Insight


Alison Berg is the Senior Marketing Manager at PHEMI systems, driving overall marketing strategy, sales enablement, and public relations programs.  She is also the president of Soroptimist International of the TriCities, a volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

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