Business Case for a Clinical Cloud

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The Dell Cloud Clinical Archive has crossed yet another milestone. In the past, year Dell’s cloud-based Unified Clinical Archive solution has grown rapidly, adding nearly 1 billion new images and crossing the 5 billion image mark (see Ticker). More than 800 clinical sites in the U.S. secure their medical imaging data in the Dell cloud. As one of the largest cloud-based application-neutral archives for medical imaging, the Dell Cloud Clinical Archive protects more than 72 million clinical studies for some 23 million patients or nearly 7.5 percent of the population1.

Clinical imaging lends itself very suitably for cloud-based, application-neutral storage solutions. Clinical imaging makes up nearly one-third of all healthcare data and has a cumulative annual growth rate of 42 percent2. Images are the single largest2 source of data within healthcare and have a huge diversity of image types ranging from X-Rays, CTs, MRIs, Ultrasound to Scanned pathology slides and reports. A lot of the content generated by imaging applications is vendor proprietary formats that are incompatible across multiple clinical applications. As a result, much of the information is trapped in application-specific silos that must be stored, archived, protected against calamities, and made available to physicians in a timely manner at the point of care. This creates financial burdens and resource constraints for providers trying to keep up with growing technology needs and maintenance overheads.

Consequently, there is a strong business case for cloud-based solutions for the standardization, archive, and exchange of the rapidly growing clinical imaging dataset. A cloud-based solution provides a utility model that can be scaled rapidly to meet growing business and clinical needs. The managed services model not only eliminates the need for upfront capital investment and regular maintenance overheads, but also secures the data offsite in case of disasters and mitigates the risk of technology obsolescence. Most importantly, it enables customers to allocate resources towards innovative projects that directly impacts patient care, and quality outcomes, rather than investing in managing an ever-expanding infrastructure footprint. This could be an important strategic advantage as hospitals prioritize their IT investments to demonstrate “Meaningful Use” and prepare for collaborative care models and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

It is true that there still remains some concern around security, performance and regulatory compliance for cloud-based solutions. Hence, it is important to select a trusted partner that can bring the right technology solutions based on industry standards, and a well-defined set of service levels to deliver a secure and end-to-end solution. It is also important for the partner to be able to provide a range of options from on-premises and self-managed, to hybrid and cloud-based managed solutions. Healthcare organizations need the choice and flexibility to decide on the best approach to meet their unique business needs.

As healthcare customers weigh the benefits and cost-efficiencies of various technology delivery models, Dell remains committed to delivering open, secure, and practical solutions that provide our customers the Power to Do More.

1 US population: 313.6B, Src US Census Bureau 6/4/2012

2 ESG North American Health Care Provider Information Market Size & Forecast, 2010-2015

About the Author: Susmit Pal

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