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The “Health-Cloud” Defined

What it is – But not how it works!

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Editor-in-Chief]

As commentators, IT pundits, health economists, journalists and so-called experts, we all know that any market is immature when an industry can’t agree on a definition or term-of-art.

Of course, that’s why we just released the Dictionary of Health Information Technology and Security, and several other related works like: Dictionary of Health Insurance and Managed Care – and – Dictionary of Health Economics and Finance.

Of Doctors and Confused Customers and Vendors

The lexicon problem is exacerbated in healthcare IT however, as customers, er-a doctors and medical professionals, still don’t understand what the “computing cloud” or “grid” actually is. This is no doubt important with the recent – and older – governmental pushes toward eHRs, as well as economic bonuses [Medicare 5.1%] for implementation of same.

And, eHR vendors compound the obfuscation when they themselves use the term to describe just about any product they can sell that can be delivered from, or touching a data center. The word “health-cloud” clutters the definitional standardization scene much as the terms “HIPAA”, “HL-7”, and “compliance” did back-in-the day. So, after editing three dictionaries – with a fourth in progress – here goes our modified definition of the “health cloud” with cudos from non-physician colleague Rob Preston of Information Week.

Health-Cloud Defined

The “health-cloud” or “health-cloud computing” refers to:

a highly scaleable health information technology source – hardware, software, CPUs, and storage capacity –  that is housed outside of medical data centers, and available on-demand by doctors, patients, payers, government and employers over the Internet, and whose secure variable usage is measured and invoiced incrementally.

Private health clouds mimic those characteristics inside health entity firewalls, but lack the economies-of-scale found in public health clouds.

Assessment

Now that a workable definition has been proposed and we have some definitional clarity, bring on the eHR products and HIT services that physicians can use.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Health IT, the Markets and the New Administration

Digital Technology and Future Federal Health Policy

Staff Reporters 

According to the Dow Jones Newswires, at 12:17 PM ET on 11/05/2008, companies providing digital technology to manage patient records and prescribe drugs are likely to benefit from the administration of Barack Obama.

Health IT Beneficiaries

Why? President-elect Obaba wants to spend $50 billion to computerize the US medical infrastructure and several companies could benefit.

For example, Irvine, Calif.-based Quality Systems Inc. (QSII), Watertown, Mass.-based Athena Health Inc. (ATHN) and Chicago-based Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc. (MDRX) are among the companies that could benefit, directly or indirectly, from government money as a result of an as-yet vaguely defined high-tech health-care proposal. 

Other IT Companies

Many more companies, including Allscripts’ hardware partner, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Inc. (DELL), could even see revenue rise if investment takes off; according to the Charles Schwab Company.  

Assessment

And – as reported – according to John Sheils – senior VP of the Lewin consulting group in Virginia – “This is going to be a boon because there will be demand for these systems, then demand for maintenance and improvements, plus the software that people would need,”  

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this Executive-Post are appreciated. What say our financial advisors and investment consultants?

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