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Emory receives guaranteed uptime without having to juggle multiple vendor support lines, daily backups or system upgrades.

Results Within two years of Emory’s initial foray into a hosted data center, IT costs have been reduced in a number of areas, new applications have been implemented and a signifi cant burden has been lifted from IT department staff. And as Emory’s data center needs have grown, no new staff members have been added.

Lowering costs

In the past, Emory was paying two different IP service providers to get redundant network access. The out- sourced data center provides a highly available bandwidth connection to all of Emory’s locations, helping the orga- nization eliminate one of its previous carriers and reduce bandwidth costs by 50 percent.

Overbuying hardware and unused server capacity is no longer an issue. These niche applications are distributed across a number of servers within a private healthcare cloud-computing environment, making the most of every resource. This step has further reduced Emory’s annual budget for system hardware by 30 percent.

By virtualizing niche applications, the IT department was able to move software and hardware expenses from the capital budget to the operating budget. For one system now hosted in Emory’s private healthcare cloud, a cardiology imaging application, the hosted data center is also archiving all images produced and managed by the application. This saves Emory 60 percent in recurring costs on a monthly basis over the previous storage solution for this application. Finally, as new niche systems are added, applications are virtualized in Emory’s private healthcare cloud. Instead of paying for software and hardware up front, the IT team re- quests that vendors deliver software as

a service (SaaS) within Emory’s private cloud environment.

Reducing risk

By moving to a certifi ed, hosted data center, Emory receives high-grade physical security along with the latest IT safeguards such as: data encryp- tion, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, multiple power redundan- cies and around-the-clock armed security. HIPAA privacy and security compliance for these applications is completely monitored and maintained by the vendor.

Keeping staff It is diffi cult for healthcare organiza- tions to keep valued IT staff in today’s competitive environment. The health- care IT employee pool is dwindling, and with demand predicted to grow 20 percent a year until 2018, that is not likely to change. In Atlanta, Emory vies for the same IT resources as all the other healthcare providers. Emory’s staff is kept focused on new enterprise strategic initiatives and what’s next for the organization since much of the organization’s day- to-day system maintenance has been offl oaded. The IT team remains inter- ested, challenged and engaged.

Moving forward

On-premise hardware and software is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Savvy IT departments, such as Emory’s, are beginning to test the waters of cloud-based technology options, thus moving closer to materializing the vi- sion of healthcare IT as a service. Yes, there are security concerns. Yes, there are objections. But within the next few years, healthcare CIOs may not have a choice. They will be forced to fi nd new ways to solve the day-to- day problems of data center operations and application delivery.

By testing the cloud one step at a time, CIOs are assured a safe and secure migration to a new, more cost- effective model for healthcare IT delivery.

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