Why Healthcare Is Moving to the Cloud

By Matt Turner

Published on July 25, 2023

A nurse using a mask and scrubs while working on a computer.

Cloud migration has been gaining momentum across various industries, with organizations embracing cloud technology as a means to accelerate digital transformation, unlock newfound efficiencies, take advantage of new capabilities, and gain a competitive edge. Healthcare is no exception.  

In the healthcare industry, organizations are turning to the cloud to revolutionize operations, enhance patient care, and accelerate data-driven decisions. This article will explore the benefits and challenges of cloud migration in healthcare and how Alation can help organizations successfully navigate cloud transformation

What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration refers to transferring an organization's data, applications, and infrastructure from on-premises systems to cloud-based platforms. The process involves transferring data and workloads to remote servers managed by third-party cloud service providers.

By moving to the cloud, organizations can take advantage of new capabilities, optimize resource allocation, and increase their agility and flexibility by accessing data from any location or device. Additionally, the cloud reduces reliance on physical infrastructure and lowers associated costs. Instead, it provides a seamless scalable infrastructure that can accommodate changing demands.

Why is the healthcare industry moving to the cloud?

Healthcare organizations are embracing cloud services to keep pace with rapid advancements in technology in today’s digital environment. The industry's shift towards cloud services is driven by several factors, including the need to address common challenges like data silos, interoperability issues, and limited access to critical patient information. 

Many healthcare organizations that provide provisioned care to populations are prioritizing cloud migration to enhance accessibility to patient data and streamline collaboration between healthcare providers. 

Pharma and health sciences companies, on the other hand, are leveraging the cloud to drive innovation in drug discovery and research. For example, Regeneron, a leading biotechnology company, recognized the importance of data access and leveraged the cloud to accelerate its innovation efforts. By using Alation's data access solutions, Regeneron gained deeper insights into their data, empowering their researchers and scientists to make informed decisions, optimize drug discovery processes, and drive advancements in health sciences.

9 benefits of cloud migration in healthcare

Cloud technology is the key to unlocking the full potential of healthcare in the digital age. Here are just a few of the potential benefits that cloud migration enables: 

1. Improved accessibility to patient data

Cloud migration ensures secure and centralized access to patient records, enabling healthcare professionals to retrieve and update information efficiently. This enhanced accessibility facilitates seamless collaboration and continuity of care across various healthcare providers, reducing errors due to outdated or incomplete data.

2. Enhanced data security and privacy

Cloud service providers adhere to stringent security protocols, ensuring data encryption, regular backups, and robust access controls. Migrating data to the cloud reduces the risk of data breaches and enhances patient data privacy, aligning with industry regulations such as HIPAA.

3. Streamlined collaboration and communication between healthcare providers

Cloud platforms enable healthcare professionals to collaborate in real-time, share information, and communicate seamlessly across departments, locations, and organizations. This leads to improved care coordination, reduced medical errors, and enhanced patient outcomes.

4. Scalability and flexibility

Cloud infrastructure allows healthcare organizations to scale their resources on demand, accommodating fluctuating needs such as increased patient volumes or new research initiatives. This scalability and flexibility eliminate the need for upfront infrastructure investments and enable efficient resource utilization.

5. Real-time analytics for better decision-making

Innovations in Ccloud-based analytics platforms empower healthcare organizations with real-time insights and predictive analytics capabilities. These capabilities enable informed decision-making, personalized patient treatments, and proactive identification of health trends, ultimately improving outcomes and operational efficiency.

6. Reduced IT infrastructure and maintenance costs

Cloud migration eliminates the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure, reducing capital expenses and ongoing maintenance costs. It creates opportunities for healthcare organizations to redirect resources toward patient care, research, and innovation.

7. Enhanced patient care

Cloud-based solutions provide healthcare professionals with holistic views of patient data, facilitating personalized care plans, remote monitoring, and proactive interventions. This results in improved patient satisfaction, reduced hospital readmissions, and better overall health outcomes.

8. Improved drug discovery and expedited clinical cycles

New capabilities in data analytics and collaboration platforms based in the cloud accelerate drug discovery processes by enabling efficient data sharing and analysis. This leads to the identification of potential drug candidates, optimization of clinical trials, and the development of personalized medicines.

9. Compliance with regulatory requirements and standards

Cloud service providers adhere to stringent regulatory requirements and industry standards, ensuring healthcare organizations' compliance with privacy and security regulations. This reduces the burden of maintaining compliance and mitigates potential legal and financial risks.

5 challenges of cloud migration in healthcare

The benefits of cloud migration are compelling. However, healthcare organizations planning to shift operations to the cloud must also navigate the common challenges of cloud migration, including:

1. Poor planning and visibility into ongoing costs

One of the challenges healthcare organizations face during cloud migration is inadequate planning and a lack of visibility into the ongoing costs associated with cloud services. Without proper planning and cost management strategies, organizations may experience budget overruns and difficulty in optimizing cloud resource utilization.

2. Managing regulatory compliance

The healthcare industry is subject to strict regulatory requirements and data privacy laws. Ensuring compliance during cloud migration requires a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory landscape, data governance, and security practices to protect patient information while leveraging the benefits of the cloud.

3. Breaking down data silos

Healthcare organizations often deal with a wide range of systems, applications, and data formats. Achieving data interoperability and seamless integration between legacy systems and cloud platforms can be challenging. Ensuring data consistency, integrity, and compatibility across different systems is crucial for successful cloud migration.

4. Data security and privacy

Healthcare organizations must address concerns related to data security and privacy when migrating to the cloud. This includes ensuring compliance with industry regulations, implementing robust encryption measures, and establishing strict access controls to protect sensitive patient information from unauthorized access or breaches. During cloud migration, robust cloud data governance practices are critical in establishing a framework for managing and protecting sensitive patient information. 

5. Change management and training

Cloud migration often involves significant changes in workflows and processes for healthcare professionals. Proper change management strategies and comprehensive training programs are essential to ensure the smooth adoption of new cloud-based systems. Healthcare organizations should invest in training their staff to effectively utilize cloud technologies and understand the benefits they bring while addressing any resistance or concerns from stakeholders.

Healthcare cloud migration use cases

Embracing cloud technology is the key to unlocking the full potential of healthcare in the digital age. By leveraging Alation’s cloud solutions, healthcare organizations can unlock new possibilities and use cases for data-driven decision-making, research advancements, and enhanced patient care, such as: 

Solving reporting discrepancies

By migrating their data to the cloud, healthcare organizations can consolidate disparate data sources and eliminate reporting discrepancies. This enables accurate and timely reporting, leading to better insights, decision-making, and compliance. VillageCare, a New York-based healthcare organization, partnered with Alation to migrate to the cloud and consolidate disparate data sources.— improving data accessibility across their network of care providers. 

Improving data consistency

Cloud migration allows healthcare organizations to centralize and standardize their data, ensuring consistency across systems and locations. This leads to improved data quality, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced patient care. HBF Health Ltd utilized Alation’s data intelligence platform to improve data consistency and governance, enabling better decision-making and reducing risk by enabling consistent accurate data. 

Removing analytics backlogs

Cloud-based analytics platforms allow healthcare organizations to process and analyze large volumes of data quickly. Alation’s data catalog helps eliminate analytics backlogs, enabling timely insights and informed decision-making for improved patient outcomes.

Analytics and AI maturity

Cloud migration equips healthcare organizations with the infrastructure and tools to advance their analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. This creates opportunities for the development of predictive models, personalized medicine, and AI-driven patient care. Alation’s data democratization solutions enable analytics and AI maturity by providing a centralized and accessible repository of data, empowering organizations to leverage data-driven insights and make informed decisions. 

Insights into rare diseases

Cloud-based data analytics and collaboration platforms enable healthcare organizations to analyze large datasets, leading to insights into rare diseases. This facilitates early detection, treatment, and research breakthroughs in areas that previously had limited data availability. For example, Pfizer implemented an AI analytics platform, supported by Alation, to scale their data-driven capabilities, drive innovation, and improve decision-making in drug discovery and development processes.

How Alation can help healthcare organizations migrate to the cloud

Cloud migration is transforming the healthcare industry, enabling everything from improved access to patient data to compliance with regulatory requirements. Organizations can easily harness these benefits — if they have the right strategy and digital tools in place to overcome common challenges. 

Alation offers a comprehensive platform that empowers healthcare organizations throughout their cloud migration journey. With Alation, healthcare organizations gain valuable insights, data governance capabilities, and collaboration tools to accelerate the migration process while ensuring compliance, data security, and optimal resource utilization. 

By leveraging Alation's expertise and platform, healthcare organizations can navigate the complexities of cloud migration, develop new revenue streams, and drive superior patient outcomes and experiences. Learn more about how Alation can help your organization manage its migration to the cloud.

  • What is cloud migration?
  • Why is the healthcare industry moving to the cloud?
  • 9 benefits of cloud migration in healthcare
  • 5 challenges of cloud migration in healthcare
  • Healthcare cloud migration use cases
  • How Alation can help healthcare organizations migrate to the cloud


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