Healthcare industry leans toward hybrid cloud

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Healthcare organisations are bullish on hybrid cloud growth for their core applications, notes Nutanix.
Healthcare organisations are bullish on hybrid cloud growth for their core applications, notes Nutanix.

The global healthcare industry is increasingly leaning toward adopting hybrid clouds, with the sector expected to jump from 19% hybrid cloud penetration to 37% in the next two years.

This is according to the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index, which measures healthcare companies' plans for adopting private, hybrid and public clouds.

Cloud computing software firm Nutanix commissioned market research firm Vanson Bourne to survey more than 2 300 cross-industry IT decision-makers, and 345 global healthcare organisations, about how their cloud initiatives stack up against other IT projects and priorities.

The survey included respondents from multiple industries and business sizes in the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Japan.

The research found healthcare organisations are increasingly using cloud computing services to address a variety of critical IT needs, including increased security, protection of sensitive patient data and meeting regulatory compliance requirements.

"While the healthcare industry is embracing public clouds at about the same rate as other industries, the sector is outpacing other industries in some areas, such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, data analytics, containers and Internet of things (IOT), which reported a higher penetration rate compared to the global average," according to the report.

"Furthermore, around 91% of health organisations said hybrid cloud is the ideal IT model for their organisation, with more (49%) hybrid cloud users reporting all their needs were being met than those using a single public cloud (37%)."

Over 28% of healthcare respondents named security and compliance as their number one decision criterion in choosing where to run their workloads.

"Healthcare organisations, especially, need the flexibility, ease of management and security the cloud delivers, and this need will only become more prominent as attacks on systems become more advanced, compliance regulations become more stringent, and as data storage needs become more demanding," says Chris Kozup, SVP of global marketing at Nutanix.

"As our findings predict, healthcare organisations are bullish on hybrid cloud growth for their core applications and will continue to see it as the ideal solution, as we usher in the next era of healthcare. With the cloud giving way to new technologies and tools, such as machine learning and automation, we expect to see positive changes leading to better healthcare solutions in the long run."

A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan predicts the global market for healthcare cloud computing will be worth almost $10 billion by 2021, with revenue being primarily driven by the need to store the exponentially increasing volume of healthcare data.

According to integrated telecommunications firm T-Systems, 'hospital-as-a-service' allows medical facilities to integrate every aspect of their operations into a single nerve-centre, linking everything from admissions, to patient records, doctor engagements, theatre and specialist equipment usage, pharmaceuticals, billing, laboratory orders and results, movement of patients between radiology and the hospital, and accurate medical aid case and claims management.

The Nutanix research further found healthcare companies that have deployed public cloud overspend on their budget; spending up to 26% of their annual IT budget on public cloud, with this percentage set to increase to 35% in two years.

"Healthcare companies report being about 40% over budget when it comes to public cloud spend, compared to 35% of cross-industry global companies. Respondents reported using private clouds most often for more predictable applications like data backup (54%) and internal databases (51%), and said they used the public infrastructure most often for less predictable mobile/digital (46%) and IOT (41%) applications."

IT teams are fast discovering workloads with predictable characteristics often run most cost-effectively in a private cloud, it adds.

IT skills deficiency

While 88% of respondents said they expect hybrid cloud to positively impact their business, over half (54%) agree their organisation has difficulty retaining IT talent, particularly hybrid skills.

"Hybrid IT skills are scarce in healthcare; these skills ranked second in scarcity only to those in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Around 74% of respondents said that because IT vendors currently do not provide the right hybrid cloud solutions, this forces IT teams to architect hybrid clouds using their legacy technologies."

Around 68% of EMEA organisations say public cloud allows reduction of their IT department, with 84% saying they are already investing in re-skilling their IT teams, compared to 92% of US organisations that are re-skilling their IT teams.

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