E-Handbook: Best practices for healthcare data migration to the cloud Article 1 of 3

Whatever cloud stance you take, be ready for migration efforts

The arguments over cloud adoption in the medical industry -- and thus healthcare data migration to the cloud -- offer common refrains: One side often states, "Healthcare is moving too slowly to the cloud." The other side retorts, "Patient data is too sensitive for the cloud."

But the march toward the cloud seems inevitable for hospitals and physician practices, even when protected health information is at hand. Three years ago, in its most recent report on the topic, research firm MarketsandMarkets estimated that the healthcare cloud computing market would be worth $9.48 billion by 2020, up markedly from $3.73 billion in 2015.

With the potential increase comes the need to properly execute healthcare data migration plans as cloud software and platforms take the place of on-premises installations.

It may be best to focus data migration best practices on how they affect electronic health records (EHR) and cloud storage, as suggested by our 2017 health IT purchasing intentions survey. According to results in the survey, 41.6% of respondents indicated that they planned to increase spending on cloud technology in 2017 compared to the prior year.

Further, respondents said that they would use cloud services for the following areas: EHRs (27.6%), storage (25.2%), business intelligence and analytics (21.4%), and telemedicine (20.2%).

It can be intimidating to consider moving patient data from an on-premises EHR system to a cloud-based one. And as terabytes of digital patient information are created each year -- including voluminous medical imaging data -- it's easy to see how important cloud storage services will be for healthcare organizations.

Some healthcare data migration best practices to consider, in brief, include carefully spelling out disaster recovery steps with vendors, gaining an understanding on how open APIs benefit modern medical work and hiring workers who possess the right skills to manage patient data in the cloud.