While the cloud offers great promise to healthcare organizations, understanding the complex economics of various types of cloud deployments will be a critical success factor.
There are also operational costs that must be considered, as organizations will be paying cloud providers for everything they do in the cloud.
This could include paying for virtual machines, the compute side of the workloads, as well as charges for how many CPUs the organization is going to have and how much memory it is consuming.
As cloud economist Joseph Williams, Seattle Director for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will explain in an upcoming HIMSS22 Digital session, organizations must architect their programs differently and optimize the costs of a multi-cloud strategy.
For example, if you’re looking to avoid paying for storage in the cloud by storing data offline, you may incur I/O charges for moving the data back up to the cloud to run it and for moving the data out of the cloud back onto site after it has been run.
“It could be that those I/O charges exceed the storage costs,” Williams said. “So you have to deal with that interplay to figure out what the best strategy is.”
Williams noted the end goal of cloud computing in healthcare should always be improvement of patient outcomes.
The ability to use better tools, enhance accessibility, improve collaboration and reduce downtime are four key areas where investment in cloud computing can improve patient outcomes.
By connecting labs, primary care physicians, hospitals and pharmacies, the cloud allows them to share data and processes safely and securely. That also means the organization may be running up compute workloads and licensing costs, the economics of which must be kept in mind.
In fact, third party tools may be more helpful in optimizing the overall cloud spend.
Private clouds carry higher costs than public clouds, but the advantage to a private cloud is that it is basically a dedicated facility or dedicated workloads. A hybrid cloud solution carries its own cost frameworks, which requires an economic analysis on one versus the other.
“You need to benchmark, audit and evaluate your performance in the cloud so that you have a good handle on the cost that you’re incurring and how you’re managing its costs,” said Williams.
Joseph Williams’ will explain more in his HIMSS22 Digital session, “Demystifying the Economics of Cloud Based Models in Healthcare.” It’s scheduled to air on Wednesday, March 16, from 9:25-9:50 a.m. EDT
Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
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