Healthcare IT data storage is moving to the cloud


One of the biggest trends in healthcare informatics is the wider adoption of cloud data storage and a movement away from keeping all health system data in on-premise data centers. Healthcare systems are realizing there are benefits to not having to maintain ever-growing data centers, and the ability to refocus their health IT workers on mission critical patient care IT systems. This trends was evident across the expo floor at the Health Information management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2023 meeting in April.

Christina Caraballo, MBA, HIMSS vice president of informatics, explains that healthcare system data is increasingly moving into the cloud. Healthcare informatics is catching up to others industries in the consumer space that already leverage cloud data storage and computing power to enable instant, anywhere access to data.

"What is a health IT conversation without the cloud. It is the future of data exchange. We have been using cloud technology for a really long time, but the question is how do we get our healthcare system to leverage modern technology," Caraballo said. "I think healthcare needs to catch up with other industries, we have been saying this for a long time."

She said healthcare has done a very good job of transitioning to electronic health records over the past 20 years, but that data needs to move into a more modern IT framework. Cloud enables data to be accessible for all groups that can use it, including the patients. 

"I think as consumers, we are going to start demanding more and more, that our data is available at our fingertips to use when and how we want it," Caraballo said.

Caraballo said this is how the rest of the world operates and consumers expect that kind of interoperability in modern society. Patients already leverage cloud computing to do online banking, buy things from Amazon, to find instant directions to anywhere in the country, and to instantaneously pull up web search answers. So patients do not understand when they are told they cannot have immediate access to their healthcare records or are given paper photo copies. They also do not understand why they are given a CD disk with their imaging study on it, when in many cases the patient does not own a computer old enough to have a CD drive to even open it.

She said patients will be the biggest drivers for getting health systems to change and adopt new technology to meet their demands. 

"I am really excited about the continued movement from patient advocates and from the demand of regular people like you and me to have access to our health information in a meaningful way," Caraballo said.

Dave Fornell is a digital editor with Cardiovascular Business and Radiology Business magazines. He has been covering healthcare for more than 16 years.

Dave Fornell is a healthcare journalist who has covered cardiology and radiology for more than 17 years, with a focus in cardiology and radiology. Fornell is a 5-time winner of a Jesse H. Neal Award, the most prestigious editorial honors in the field of specialized journalism. The wins included best technical content, best use of social media and best COVID-19 coverage. Fornell was also a three-time Neal finalist for best range of work by a single author. He produces more than 100 editorial videos each year, most of them interviews with key opinion leaders in medicine. He also writes technical articles, covers key trends, conducts video hospital site visits, and is very involved with social media. E-mail:

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