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● Tactical Operations


Unlocking Cloud Computing


An examination of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s use of cloud computing. By Jason Free, Features Editor


computing in a single, crisp sentence. “T e compute takes place somewhere other than the end-user device.” It sounds simple enough, but, at the same time, his defi nition is loaded with countless possible structures and interpre- tations, much like an actual, meteorologi- cal cloud.


W 10 March 2014


While many healthcare administrators see the benefi t in using a cloud within their disaster recovery planning, most struggle with how best to incorporate and utilize cloud computing within their day-to-day operations. Some question the return on investment needed to create a private or hybrid cloud. Others raise concerns over the obvious security issues that one must face when storing critical health informa- tion in a network-based service. To get a better understanding of cloud


es Wr ight , Chief Information Officer at Seattle Children’s Hospital, defi nes cloud


computing inside a dynamic healthcare environment, I contacted Wright and we discussed Seattle Children’s past and cur- rent experiences working within the literal and cyber clouds of the Pacifi c Northwest.


Background


Whether it is the work they conduct within their Craniofacial Center or how their physicians may access the multi- modality pediatric imaging studies archived at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), for years, Se- attle Children’s Hospital has been on the forefront of utilizing cloud computing within their patient care models. “I have been with Seattle Children’s


and its research foundation since 2008,” says Wright. “Back then, we were well- positioned for running things in a private cloud. We were running Citrix XenApp where our applications ran on a server in the cloud. Next, we had our partners saving everything on the network drive


HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY


and nothing locally. That was a huge step for us. T en we moved Infor, our ERP application, into the cloud, which is privately hosted by a company called Velocity. It runs all of our payroll and fi nance, our non-clinical work. T at’s out in the cloud, and it has been for three years now. Right now, we are big into the private cloud, and we have one major application running outside of the organization. We have Software-as-a-Service models run- ning in some of our other departments. Our transportation management system and our on-boarding are both Software- as-a-Service models run from the cloud.” Being the CIO of both Seattle Chil-


dren’s as well as Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Wright has to provide a balance of services for each set of stakeholders; not an enviable position for any IT administra- tor seeking to create a cohesive ecosystem. However, he says that employing a private cloud can reap many benefi ts for both sides of his organization. “On the hospi-


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