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When is the right time to move imaging to the cloud?

Transitioning to a cloud-based enterprise imaging environment reduces operational costs and improves care delivery.
By admin
Mar 21, 2024, 10:18 AM

Healthcare systems are increasingly embracing cloud technology for everything – electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine platforms, and patient engagement tools – but for some reason many are hesitant to migrate their medical imaging systems to the cloud.

Traditional on-premises (on-prem) environments have been the norm for storing and managing the vast amounts of data generated by medical imaging. Healthcare leaders historically required on-prem solutions because old-school imaging viewers required local area network speed and latency.

However, with modern web-streaming diagnostic viewers, sticking to on-prem solutions perpetuate high hardware costs, put a strain on IT teams, and limit a healthcare organization’s ability to integrate with other systems seamlessly and securely, ultimately affecting the efficiency of patient care.

Benefits of cloud-based enterprise imaging

The transition of medical imaging systems to the cloud is a pivotal step in the evolution of healthcare technology. While the move may seem daunting, the benefits of cloud adoption—ranging from cost savings and operational efficiencies to improved system reliability and security—make a compelling case for a switch.

Each health system must assess its unique situation, considering factors such as the age of current infrastructure, the desire for operational efficiency, and the need for regular system updates. As technology continues to advance, and as concerns about data movement and latency diminish, the timing for moving toward cloud-based enterprise imaging platform may never be better. Embracing cloud-based enterprise imaging not only aligns with the future of healthcare but also helps organizations deliver patient care with the most advanced tools available.

Mitigate upcoming hardware costs

One of the most pressing reasons to consider cloud enterprise imaging is the aging infrastructure of many existing Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS). Legacy systems are not only becoming obsolete but also pose significant burdens due to their slow time to value, inability to broadly integrate, and high costs associated with perpetual hardware renewal.

Transitioning to a cloud-based enterprise imaging solution can alleviate these costs. Cloud-based enterprise imaging operates on a subscription model, eliminating the need for large upfront investments in hardware, the labor to deploy and secure systems, and periodic large expenditures for hardware refreshes.

This shift not only saves money but also keeps your medical imaging system at the cutting edge of technology without continuous additional infrastructure investments.

Consistent and timely updates

The rapid pace of clinical and technological advancement necessitates regular updates to software and hardware systems. Unfortunately, many health systems find it challenging to keep pace, often resulting in outdated systems that may compromise functionality, security, interoperability, and usability.

Cloud-based enterprise imaging addresses this issue head-on by offering enterprise imaging as a fully managed Software as a Service (SaaS). With this service, both the software and the underlying hardware infrastructure receive regular updates, maintaining the system’s performance, reliability, security, and efficiency without the need for in-house technical expertise.

Focus on operational efficiency

The complexity of modern imaging solutions has significantly expanded the role of imaging IT administrators. Beyond supporting clinical staff, these professionals are increasingly burdened with a plethora of tasks related to maintaining the imaging management environment. This situation often detracts from their ability to focus on optimizing operational efficiencies and engaging with clinical staff to meet their needs.

Cloud-based enterprise imaging can dramatically simplify system maintenance, transferring all the backend management responsibility back to the vendor. This allows imaging IT administrators and PACS administrators to concentrate on front-end capabilities that improve clinical workflows and directly support healthcare professionals, enhancing overall delivery of patient care.

Overcoming concerns about data movement and latency

Historical concerns about moving to the cloud, such as data migration challenges and potential latency issues, are becoming less significant. Advances in pixel streaming technologies and improved cloud infrastructure have mitigated these issues, making the cloud a more viable option for medical imaging systems. With these technological advancements, data is easily accessible, making cloud-based enterprise imaging more attractive than ever.

With the rapid advancements in cloud technology, including enhanced security measures, improved data interoperability, and cost-effective storage solutions, healthcare organizations stand to benefit significantly from making the move. The cloud offers scalability, allowing for the easy handling of increasing data volumes without the need to scale the system through perpetual hardware investments.

Moreover, cloud platforms are continually updated, providing access to the latest features without the burden on internal IT teams. This shift not only streamlines operations but also positions healthcare providers to better meet the evolving expectations of patient care. By embracing cloud technology today, organizations can optimize their medical imaging capabilities, reduce operational costs, and improve the delivery of healthcare services.

When is the right time to move imaging to the cloud?

As healthcare organizations move toward improved efficiency with technology, the move to cloud-based enterprise imaging is not a matter of if, but when. Healthcare systems can significantly reduce operational costs, enhance technological agility, and improve patient care delivery by adopting cloud solutions.

The advancements in cloud infrastructure address previous concerns and open the door to seamless integration and excellent data management. Now is an optimal time for healthcare leaders to take a step forward into the future, keeping their organizations at the forefront of medical innovation.

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