Why Geisinger believes its move to AWS cloud for core apps is a good bet
In May, Geisinger named Amazon Web Services as its cloud provider. The integrated delivery network will migrate more than 400 applications to AWS, including its electronic health record system, according to Fierce Healthcare. Between 18,000 and 20,000 users, out of a total of nearly 24,000 Geisinger employees, access these applications daily.
AWS says the Pennsylvania-based organization is one of the largest EHR migrations to its platform to date. The move is part of a larger shift to the cloud: More than 80 percent of CHIME members have adopted cloud services, and Gartner has predicted cloud-native environments will constitute 95 percent of all application deployments by 2025.
Geisinger cites three key advantages of moving its core applications to the cloud: Agility for end users and the organization as a whole, the ability to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, and the potential to trim the IT budget and reinvest those dollars elsewhere. Here’s what other healthcare organizations need to know about the potential for agility, analytics, and savings as they revamp their IT roadmap and weigh common cloud deployment models.
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Agility. Geisinger sees potential for greater agility across the organization, as the cloud enables on-demand resource deployment without the need to spin up onsite resources. The organization also sees this agility improving the effectiveness of employees who are now more readily able to access data and insights. Geisinger is hardly alone here, as scalability and agility are core starting points for organizations making a move to the cloud and deciding which workloads to locate where.
Analytics. A recent Forrester report pointed to the combination of the cloud and AI to power data-driven patient care, whether it’s faster diagnoses or robust virtual care. Geisinger is embracing AI and machine learning as it rolls out cloud-hosted applications in the future. Priorities include automation of simple daily administrative tasks, improved analysis of care gaps, and clinical decision support tools available at the bedside.
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Savings. Once the transition to AWS is complete, Geisinger estimates that it will save several million dollars per year. Other organizations have trimmed 20 percent of their total annual IT budget by transitioning roughly 90% of their applications to the cloud, according to Deloitte.
It’s worth noting that the transition will take time. The presence of multiple technology platforms, coupled with the business logic deeply embedded in those systems, can make cloud migrations a complex undertaking, Deloitte noted. Once in place, employees need to know how cloud applications differ from the on-premises deployments they are used to; for its part, Geisinger will be training employees for five years. In addition, organizations must implement governance policies and encourage best practices that prevent cloud misconfigurations, which can lead to unintentional data breaches or costly cloud contract surcharges.
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Brian Eastwood is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience covering healthcare IT and healthcare delivery. He also writes about enterprise IT, consumer technology, and corporate leadership.