At least developers think cloud apps are important

InformationWeek: “Software developers believe developing applications to run on private clouds will become one of their main tasks over the coming year. Out of 500 surveyed, 48.9% said they expect to be doing cloud applications within the year. The Cloud Development survey is the first by Evans Data, an independent research firm that conducts periodic surveys of developers. A total of 29.7% said they are current working on applications for private cloud environments. Another 19.2% said they expect to be engaged in cloud development within the next 12 months. The largest group of respondents, 48%, said they think that Java is the best language for developing in the cloud; Microsoft’s C# was the number two pick. Evans Data surveys have tended to slant somewhat toward Java developers, since participants self-select or sign up to participate in numbers that are not precisely reflective of what languages are in use throughout the world of programming.” – This survey is of particular interest because software developers tend to heard the reset of us toward the future of computing. How do you think the iPhone became so popular; developers embraced the technology and began writing applications that can do everything from updating your Twitter page to helping physicians with their EMRs. It’s inline with Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come”. However, I find it strange that Java is the language of choice with Microsoft C# (c-sharp) coming in second. I’ve had a lot of issues with Java applications in the past secondary to version control. I think I’ll stick with the limited C# knowledge that I have and expand on it. My brother has been trying to get me to learn C# for years. It’s on my to-do list, just below win-the-lottery.

Self destructing data for the cloud

One of the most frequently cited reasons for not utilizing cloud based storage is security. While the self-destructing data solution described below wouldn’t work for healthcare secondary to the need to archive information for long periods of time, it would certainly work for any personal data sent or received over the internet. The ability to put a time-bomb in a document is appealing. Read on to find out more.
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Thoughts on the “cloud”

cloud-question-marByteandSwitch.com:” ‘Most IT executives are sold on the benefits of cloud computing, but many of their colleagues who are business decision makers still need convincing on the value of the technology, according to a survey released Monday [August 3, 2009]. A total of 28% of IT execs are planning to deploy private computing clouds by the end of 2009, according to the survey results. The most-cited benefit (41%) of private cloud computing is its perceived ability to improve efficiency. Other benefits mentioned were: “resource scalability,” cited by 18%; “cutting costs,” 17%; “experimenting with cloud computing,” 15%; and “improving IT responsiveness,” 9%. The survey, conducted by grid and cloud provider Platform Computing, detected a major stumbling block for deployment: 76% of the IT executives believe that business decision makers don’t understand the potential value of private clouds.” – One of the most difficult things to do in healthcare is to change the culture of the practitioners around you. I’ve died on many hills when “we’ve always done it that way” was the only argument against planning and implementing a new strategy. Based on current trends in interoperability, storage requirements, and limited IT labor pools, “the cloud” model will become more prevalent in healthcare. Even now, companies like Rackspace (the rackspace cloud) and Amazon (Amazon S3) are leveraging themselves against a future that includes cloud services. In addition, a recent article in InformationWeek regarding the storage of medical images makes an indirect case for cloud computing in healthcare. As storage space for medical images increases and providers demand easy access to images from any location, the idea of storing the information in the cloud becomes an attractive solution. Advantages include on demand storage, built in backup plans, outsourced support services, and decreased hardware costs; making it an ideal solution for storage hogs like CT scans, MRIs, etc.

Oursourcing IT jobs and cloud computing

This morning I posted a quick note about a shortage of qualified IT staff in healthcare. Todd Eury of Pharmacy Resource Technology (PTR) left me an interesting comment that I would like to share with you.

When appropriate – what about strategic IT Outsourcing? IT Management Solutions delivered by U.S. based firms? For example: http://www.pharmacydatahosting.com Opesnet handles IT Outsourced Management Services for LTC Pharmacy Operations. I understand the frustration with the shortage – but this might be an answer in some cases / situations. Reputable firms can provide great value and help contain/ lower costs.

I think this is an excellent idea not only for the IT staffing shortage, but as an answer to difficulties in advancing a cloud computing model in healthcare. It is clear that the shortage will hamper efforts to implement advanced technology in healthcare, and in particular pharmacy. Many IT professionals are grown and educated from within a healthcare system, often limiting their expertise in cutting edge automation and technology. Strategic IT outsourcing offers access to highly trained professionals specializing in models not currently used in the healthcare industry. The idea of outsourcing could also be extended beyond cloud computing to encompass pharmacy information systems, barcoding automation, electronic document management, etc. In other words, leave it to the experts. I love the idea Todd, keep ‘em coming.

Government driving clound computing

InformationWeek.com: ” Cloud computing may still be emerging as an IT delivery model, but U.S. government agencies are forging ahead with plans to adopt cloud services or build their own. The attitude among government technology decision makers seems to be that the benefits outweigh the risks and that the risks can be mitigated with planning and careful implementation. With a nudge from federal CIO Vivek Kundra — Kundra was an early adopter of Google Apps when he was CTO for the District of Columbia — a growing number of federal agencies are plugging into the cloud. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), for example, is well along in building an internal cloud in its data centers. And NASA’s Ames Research Center recently launched a cloud computing environment called Nebula. At the same time, government technology planners are working to ensure that the rollouts go smoothly. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has drafted a definition of cloud computing to keep implementers on the right track. And the General Services Administration has issued an RFI to cloud service and platform providers, in an effort to scope out the market in advance of demand.” – Hold the phone. How could healthcare let the federal government get ahead in the “cloud computing” race? Shouldn’t the level of bureaucracy in the government allow us to pull ahead? Healthcare better wake up and get to work before they are forced to follow “cloud computing” standards developed the National Institute of Standards and Technology . As a rule of thumb, one should never let governments dictate the future of technology.

Google outage raises questions about cloud computing.

ZDNet: “On Thursday, a major outage affecting 14% of Google users caused widespread panic, and raised questions about cloud computing in general. This outage happened just when the US Goverment began discussing how cloud computing fits into their $78 billion IT budget for 2010.

Running companies (and the Goverment for that matter) in the cloud is risky business. In theory it sounds interesting, but in reality you better know what you’re getting into.” – I’ve become quite interested in clound computing lately. The healthcare industry is ripe for this type of technology, especially with all the hype over EMRs. It’s obvious, however that there are issues that remain to be worked out.