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Cloud Computing for the Health of It

Cloud News Round-Up

Cloud computing must have been brushing up on its bedside manner.

HIPAA requirements now stipulate everyone in the health-care industry must begin migrating patient records and other data to cloud computing. By 2015, all medical professionals with access to patient records must utilize electronic medical and health records (EMR and EHR), or face penalties.

A recent study by MarketsandMarkets revealed the health-care cloud computing market, which is only currently about 4% of the industry, is expected to grow to nearly $5.4 billion by 2017. The cloud migration process, however, can be daunting for health-care organizations since they have to move an incredible amount of data, according to an article on Forbes.com.

Cloud service providers are now offering a variety of new ways to access information via cloud applications and microsites designed for mobile devices. To specifically address the needs of the health-care industry, cloud service providers continue to improve technology platforms to improve lab order entry, pharmacy records management, medical billing, imaging service requests and more.

The cloud also provides major benefits in terms of:

Security: Online medical records storage is the main reason for using cloud computing for most healthcare providers. With a recent HIPAA update, cloud service providers are now as liable for HIPAA compliance as the healthcare entities they serve. This includes ensuring that data is encrypted and securely backed up, verifying that data can be easily recovered, and using permission-based data access.

Scalability: Unlike on-site hardware infrastructure, you can easily scale your cloud storage solution to manage ever-growing patient data. Healthcare service providers generally must keep records for at least six years. Considering the volume of patient data, the likelihood of this overwhelming any on-site IT infrastructure is inevitable. The leading providers of cloud computing, cloud server or storage solutions are able to adapt to your EMR/EHR load quickly and store terabytes of your patients' data in secure, redundant cloud storage.

Mobility: The increasing demand for physicians' time often means they only have the opportunity to review patient records and tests or do research during evening hours. In the past, this meant being stuck in the office after hours. With cloud computing solutions, patient information is readily available.

Rackspace Tools Connect Microsoft.NET to OpenStack Cloud
Rackspace is looking to make things a bit easier for application developers.

The company announced it is connecting the dots between Microsoft .NET and OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform. The move could simplify Web and mobile application development for the Microsoft .NET community, according to an article on TheVarGuy.com.

As one of the most popular programming platforms, the .NET Framework receives a great deal of support from Microsoft and partners across the IT channel. Programming tools catering to .NET developers proliferate, and Microsoft's Visual Studio helps to streamline the development of .NET applications.

One important new tool introduced by Rackspace recently is a Software Development Kit (SDK) for .NET tailored to the Rackspace cloud. Available as a free download for users of Microsoft's Visual Web Developer Express (which is also free), the Rackspace SDK provides a language API, programming documentation and other resources to jumpstart .NET development for the company's OpenStack cloud platform.

Aston Martin Bonds with Cloud Computing
Aston Martin, the esteemed maker of fine automobiles that is proud to claim James Bond as one of its more well-known enthusiasts, has added another agent of change to its payroll: cloud computing.

Aston Martin values the role externally hosted IT environments can play in rolling out facilities quickly and in a way that gives the business maximum flexibility. So the company naturally turned to the power of cloud computing, according to an article in The Telegraph.

The iconic British sports car manufacturer, which celebrates its centenary this year, prides itself on slick use of technology. It is piloting 3D printing techniques to produce parts for its latest models, and across the broader business it uses cloud-based email and office systems to connect global teams, so they can perform at the top of their game.

A year ago, Aston Martin upgraded its global office systems to Microsoft Office 365. It was a natural progression from the software the company had been using: Office 365 offered greater support for spontaneous collaboration, flexible mobility and intuitive multimedia communications.

"For a highly distributed organization like ours these capabilities are critical," said Daniel Roach-Rooke, Aston Martin's IT Infrastructure Manager. "Email is vital to us, while SharePoint online has allowed us to set up a secure environment to share data and collaborate with our suppliers and partners.

"If we were running the systems internally, we would be responsible for all the servers and storage, and maintaining uptime," he said. "As Microsoft owns the products, the team there knows how to get the best out of the systems - so it doesn't fall to me to worry about high availability or the latest updates. Microsoft also provides round-the-clock support."

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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