The rise of hybrid cloud in healthcare

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

The healthcare sector is turning to hybrid cloud for flexibility and the ability to move applications between private and public clouds.

Nutanix recently announced the healthcare industry findings from its Enterprise Cloud Index Report (, which set out to quantify healthcare plans for adopting private, hybrid and public clouds. The report revealed that the healthcare industry now ranks third, by industry, in the number of hybrid cloud deployments worldwide and is increasingly adopting hybrid clouds that combine private and public cloud services, and their respective benefits. According to respondents, in just two years, healthcare hybrid cloud deployments are expected to jump from 19% penetration to 37%.

The reasons behind this rapid adoption are varied. Healthcare organisations need to address a variety of critical IT needs, including a need for increased security, protection of sensitive patient data and meeting regulatory compliance. Over 28% of healthcare respondents named security and compliance as their number one decision criterion in choosing where to run workloads. With hackers targeting medical records containing sought-after personal details such as patient healthcare and insurance information, healthcare organisations require technology solutions that can handle the movement of sensitive data compliantly, and without security risk.

Results from the report showed that the healthcare sector is turning to hybrid cloud for optimum flexibility and the ability to move applications between private and public clouds. More than half of survey respondents from the sector noted inter-cloud application mobility as “essential,” further demonstrating this need for seamless movement of applications and associated data, networking services, and security policies between different types of clouds.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Overspend on public cloud: Organisations that use public cloud spend 26% of their annual IT budget on public cloud, with this percentage set to increase to 35% in two years’ time.
  • Healthcare public cloud usage outpaces other industries for IoT: The healthcare industry is embracing public clouds at about the same pace as most sectors, reporting a 13% penetration compared to the 12% global average. However, healthcare organisations outpace the averages for certain applications, such as ERP/CRM, data analytics, containers and IoT.
  • Hybrid IT skills are scarce in healthcare: While 88% of respondents said that they expect hybrid cloud to positively impact their businesses, hybrid cloud skills are scarce in today’s IT organisations. These skills ranked second in scarcity only to those in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Chris Kozup, SVP of Global Marketing at Nutanix says that, “Healthcare organisations especially need the flexibility, ease of management and security that the cloud delivers, and this need will only become more prominent as attacks on systems become more advanced, compliance regulations more stringent, and data storage needs more demanding.”

From a patient and clinician perspective, adopting a cloud model, hybrid or otherwise, also enables healthcare providers to undergo a digital transformation of healthcare delivery. Infrastructure innovations enable hospitals to manage different applications and data types, take advantage of automation and create new service lines such as telehealth or remote monitoring, thus leading to improved patient engagement.

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