The healthcare landscape in the UK has shifted dramatically in recent years, mostly due to pharmaceutical developments in tackling disease, as well as advances in technology such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the latest trends research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), the overall cloud adoption rate in the UK now stands at 88%, with 67% of users expecting to increase their adoption of cloud services over the coming year.
While the research looks promising for the 250 large enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and public sector organisations that were polled, it is not an accurate representation of where the healthcare market currently stands with regards to cloud adoption. In fact, statistics showed almost two-thirds of NHS Trusts are not embracing the benefits of the cloud, despite it offering more value for money compared to on-premises solutions.
ANS Group analysed information it received following a freedom of information request sent to authorities around the country, and only 86 out of 142 Trusts said they are using cloud services framework.
“NHS Trusts are handling and storing an increasing amount of extremely sensitive data each day,” said Andy Barrow, Chief Technology Officer at ANS Group, suggesting security concerns are the main reason NHS Trusts are resisting the move to the cloud.
For those organisations who have moved, however, CIF predicts that majority will be maintaining hybrid IT environments for some time to come. With hybrid cloud, healthcare organisations reap the potential benefits of cloud computing and data sharing without compromising data security. They may utilise a secure, private storage system for data that must remain private and offer the cloud computing horsepower for less sensitive data.
In addition, the benefits of hybrid IT to healthcare organisations can be significant as the volume of patient data increases and organisations look for cost-effective ways to manage growth. Moreover, healthcare organisations that operate with varying levels of activity throughout the day reap the benefits of being able to provision their compute needs to reduce downtime and latency. Hybrid IT also simplifies the issue of compliance when it comes to the varying levels of regulations that exist today.
That said, there are still some are barriers that need to be removed at the NHS in order for greater cloud adoption to occur. There are still some constraints with regards to IT capabilities and the willingness of healthcare professionals to adopt new ways of working. In addition, there may be some hurdles when it comes to the way IT companies interact and collaborate with the NHS when developing new systems and processes to improve healthcare. There is no doubt the solutions are available and ready to be implemented—the remaining question for the NHS Trusts is when and how.
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