For this project we have been asked by the Health Service Executive in Ireland to suggest a cloud solution for migrating some of their current IT infrastructure to the cloud. They have also discussed with us the possibility of establishing an electronic health records (ERH) system and migrating patients’ medical records to the cloud. The adoption of Cloud Computing is a relatively new idea to the health industry and so far few National Health Services have adopted this due to the security risk issues associated with patients’ data and the difficulty of finding a suitable provider that can ensure the service will be available 24/7 365 days a year, however according to Health Insight Conference held in 2010 in the USA “the health care industry remains hesitant about using cloud computing services, but the shift is inevitable”. There are many advantages that the HSE would gain from adopting this service, however evaluation of these advantages is necessary in order to conclude if these advantages will out way and facilitate the major risk of security and compliance with the Data Protection Act 1988 & 2003. According to a report in 2011 by CSC, a global provider of technology-enabled business solutions and services the following are some of the “promises” that the Health Industry could gain but need evaluating, they also provide reasons to why these promises are not completely true. 1. Cloud Computing can save money
Cloud computing can help save money, as the costs are shifted from capital expenditure to operational expenditure which can help cash flow. However adopting cloud computing can also cost more, depending on how much storage is needed and how long each application is running for.
2. Performance in the Cloud is as good, if not better
The truth of this promise, depends on whether the cloud is a public or private cloud and also if the cloud is on or off premises. Cloud latency is a critical factor. It can be tolerable for certain applications but for situations where hyper-responsiveness is necessary, latency can become a serious issue.
3. Migrating to the cloud is fast
There are many parts to an organisations computing environment that have been architected and optimized over many years. Dismantling this structure could cause the entire system to collapse. Organisations need to analyse their IT environment carefully to determine which functions can withstand migration to the cloud.
However, as a result of the issues brought forward, the HSE decided to test this project on only the public hospitals in County Dublin as they are still highly interested in observing the possible positive and negative effects of having patients’ medical data available to all hospitals and doctors in Dublin regardless of where they were last treated. Currently there are 16 hospitals in the Dublin area under the HSE, which employ a total of approximately 16,000 employees and treat approximately 1million patients a year. The 16 hospitals in this area include: 1. Beaumont Hospital
2. Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital
3. Children's University Hospital, Temple Street
4. Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown
5. Coombe Women's Hospital
6. Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
7. National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street
8. Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin
9. Rotunda Hospital
10. Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin
11. St Colmcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown
12. St James's Hospital
13. St Luke's Hospital, Rathgar (Cancer Services)
14. St Michael's, Dun Laoghaire
15. St Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park
16. Tallaght Hospital
(Health Service Executive 2012)
Currently, all 16 hospitals have the same staff management and patient management software in which they keep all patients’ personal contact details. They have not established an electronic method of recording the patients’ medical data, which...