I’ve been working in Health Information Technology (HIT) for almost four decades. Over that time, I have participated in many decisions concerning the best approach for deploying technology to meet the data and analytical platform requirements of healthcare organizations.
With technology moving at an extreme pace of change, it’s almost impossible to keep up with what’s new, what works well, etc. I’m reminded of an old story that I heard about technology in the past: Picture a horse pulling a cart and attached at the back of the cart is a bungee cord with a concrete block tied to it. As the horse moves along, the tension on the bungee cord increases and when the tension is high enough, the concrete block leaps forward. However, there’s never enough kinetic energy built up in the bungee cord to get the concrete block into the back of the cart.
This is how it feels in today’s technology world. The technology and platforms move forward (the horse and the cart); there is tension between where you are and where you want to be (the bungee cord); and, you guessed it, we’re the concrete block that never really gets to experience the current technology. When tension gets us moving, the technology has moved on.
Healthcare HIT executives have been following the progress of cloud platforms, cloud computing, cloud services, etc. for some time -- many of us with an eye toward adopting that technology.
However, in healthcare we must deal with many factors that create tension before we can make the leap. One of those, at least for me, was security and a little thing called HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act). In the first versions of HIPAA, data security was the sole responsibility of the healthcare organization. With no shared responsibility, only a few brave souls were willing to risk moving this level of data (including PHI) to a platform they could not physically protect.