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How and why should medical institutions migrate to the cloud?

In the healthcare sector, medical institutions are massively opting for cloud computing to modernize their aging IT infrastructure and to process ever-greater volumes of data. 

But what are the benefits of the cloud for healthcare players? Why is the field of medical imaging particularly affected by this transformation? What are the best practices to implement to migrate IT systems to the cloud?

The benefits of the cloud for medical institutions

The main benefits of the cloud for medical institutions include: 

  • Lower costs and greater flexibility: unlike on-premise infrastructure, the cloud requires no hardware investments. Updates, server maintenance, and other tasks are carried out directly by the supplier.
  • The use of a public cloud and its “pay-as-you-go” model also makes it possible to avoid paying over-provisioning fees. In other words, the cloud enables institutions to make financial savings, while also offloading part of the technical management of the infrastructure and gaining flexibility on storage capacity.
  • The ability to easily interconnect applications: while in the case of on-premise infrastructure, each application requires specific hardware and software configurations, the cloud makes it possible to create virtual environments where applications can be deployed independently, making it easier to interconnect them.
  • Applications can thus operate in symbiosis. This results in better sharing of information between various healthcare professionals, whether they are located in the same institution or not, as well as better coordination of healthcare services.
  • Better communication with patients: thanks to the cloud, patients can access all their information via a single site, powered and completed by the different applications used by healthcare professionals. Management of appointments, remote consultations, prescriptions, monitoring of payments and reimbursements, instructions for taking treatments, medical imaging, and so on are accessible using a centralized platform, which significantly improves communication between healthcare personnel and patients. 

The cloud: a major opportunity for medical imaging

Medical imaging plays a crucial role in diagnosing and monitoring patients. While medical images are increasingly accurate thanks to new technologies, this ever-increasing level of detail also increases the weight of files.

The aging on-site infrastructure is therefore no longer suited to the large volumes of data generated by imaging examinations. This makes it essential to have a robust, flexible, and efficient system to store, process, and share this information quickly and securely.

Previously stored on CDs or DVDs, medical images (MRI, scanner, radio, etc.) can now be easily shared remotely thanks to dedicated cloud applications, even between specialists located in different institutions. This significantly speeds up and increases the reliability of decision-making, on which the rest of the care pathway is based. 

Medical institutions: 3 tips for migrating to the cloud

The process of migrating a medical player’s infrastructure to the cloud can be complex. In order to help you with your migration, here are 3 best practices: 

  • Create a project team to represent the institution: it is important to include – from the outset – representatives from each field in the team, to best coordinate the project. As the institution’s personnel will be the end users of the cloud, it is important to assess the expectations, needs, and constraints of each department so that the migration can improve and facilitate everyday tasks for everyone, including nursing personnel, administrative department, IT team, medical secretaries, etc. This inclusive approach also makes it possible to reduce mistrust in the face of change and to unite personnel around the project.
  • Do not attempt to replicate existing on-premise operations: copying the existing infrastructure model in order to save time is a temptation that must be resisted. Migrating to the cloud is the perfect opportunity to rethink processes and workflow management. Cloud solutions offer specific features that can be leveraged to improve your institution’s performance.

  • Designing a robust migration plan ensuring the interoperability of services: a solid migration strategy is the pillar of your project. Beyond migrating existing applications and data to the cloud infrastructure, it is important to plan for the implementation of interconnections between each element of the IT system. In the case of a hybrid cloud, it is therefore essential to ensure the interoperability of the private cloud and the public cloud. Careful planning will avoid service interruptions and ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.

The cloud offers numerous opportunities for healthcare players who wish to accelerate their digital transition. It notably plays a key role in increasing the potential of medical imaging. However, migration to the cloud requires in-depth preparation, carried out jointly by the representatives of the various departments.