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Healthcare to the Cloud


Working for GreenPages allows me to speak with many Healthcare CIOs regarding cloud computing. The discussion almost always focuses on the typical concerns, and legitimate concerns, about security, infrastructure, cost, and what is a public and a private among many other things. As a former healthcare CIO, I can empathize with their concerns, frustrations, and the many mandates placed on their information systems teams.


Interestingly enough what is not discussed (and I find this very important) is staffing skill and the adaptation to the new form of computing. Many hospitals are traditional in their approach to selecting, implementing, managing, and supporting their infrastructure and end user needs. What I mean by that is staffing is focused on primarily the clinical applications followed by network engineering/security support, desktop support, etc.


With a cloud model this staffing complement begins to morph. The skill sets required to support a cloud environment change, and I would say for the better. To fundamentally make a philosophical staffing model change and be successful in the long term is much more difficult to position with staff, senior executives, and in many cases unacceptable to you as the senior IT leader. What do you do? What can you do?  What does the model look like?


Let’s discuss an approach.

  • You need to know and understand where you are
    with staffing today.  In other words what technology and applications do
    you need to support and what maintenance regiment do you have (a baseline).
  • Develop a vision of how you see cloud computing
    in your organization.
  • Confirm what technology you are using today that
    will enable you to move into cloud computing and where the gaps are.
  • What applications are you comfortable with that
    will not impact many of your users, a beta move to the cloud if you will.
  • Identify the skillsets required to do so
  • Position a beta budget (hard and soft costs)
  • Confirm what this “cloud beta” will remove from
    your service line or operational expenses (licensing, purchases etc.).
  • Determine the skillsets in your staffing
    complement that will no longer be needed. (I am speaking about skill not
    a reduction in staff).
  • If you decide to move your email application
    into the cloud, will you need the skills to manage it as if it were on site?
  • The skills that may now be needed include an
    ability to provision PaaS.
  • You will also need training dollars to be


The key is move into the cloud slowly, either by an application (one at a time) or from the approach of a technology area—server administration for instance.  Whatever your approach is will affect your skill set. Addressing your skill requirements during your move into the cloud will result in a successful tomorrow.


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