Your health care organization is growing in a complex environment. There are more regulations, more providers and your healthcare contract management software is barely keeping up. Your team members are finding it increasingly difficult to communicate with each other. You feel as if you are losing time, losing efficiency and losing money and opportunity. If this sounds like you, your answer may be in the cloud. Cloud computing is simply IT applications that are used over the Internet. Organizations like yours are increasingly using Internet based solutions that enhance productivity and reduce costs. There are three basic applications that somewhat overlap; Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Software as a Service
SaaS is the oldest of the cloud computing applications. In this case, your hospital contract management system and any other programs you select would be on the Internet. Your employees can open a program from any Internet connected computer. The programs and your database are stored on the provider’s servers, available for you at anytime from anywhere. Your employees can access the data simultaneously, so each can see whatever updates are made, in real time. As you grow, the software grows with you without any effort on your part. You can either pay per usage or subscribe for a predetermined amount. If security is a concern (as it should be), ascertain that your provider has a proven track record, a strong balance sheet, and a full proof method of securing your data so that it is available to you and only to you under any circumstances. There are several companies offering SaaS when looking for a contract management system.
Platform as a Service
SaaS provides specific software applications that you can customize to a certain extent. PaaS goes further by providing the infrastructure and operating systems to allow you to develop your own unique software, either using your own IT staff, outside vendors, or both. All the operating software, servers and other development tools are in the cloud. Your organization can concentrate on those applications that work best for you, without incurring the underlying platform costs. The problems associated with maintaining your own hardware and operating systems are eliminated. Costs for PaaS are generally based on usage, similar to costs incurred for utilities. Here again, vendor reliability and security concerns must be addressed.
Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS moves an organization’s entire computer infrastructure into the cloud. This is generally used by companies that have their own IT staffs, but which don’t have their own hardware, software and other in house components. The entire infrastructure is in effect rented by the organization, for their developers to use to create all the programs for the company. The IT department operates in much the same way as it would if the computer and everything associated with it was in house.
The delineation between the three types of cloud computing is not always clear. It is more important that you begin examining whether any or all of them can benefit your health care organization. Contact one of the many vendors offering cloud based solutions to learn more.
Stephanie Tum likes to write about accounting, human resource management and contract management. She has over 3 years of blogging experience and hopes one day to start her own consultancy practice.