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Laying the way for enterprise medical imaging in the cloud

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Tony Turner
Tony Turner

Enterprise medical imaging is cloud bound, so why not get on board with NetApp?

Most IT imaging applications available today have been built with on-premises deployment in mind. That's because healthcare providers have traditionally deployed them within their own data centers.

Now that cloud is gaining momentum throughout the space, many imaging software vendors (ISVs) with legacy portfolios have been compelled to develop an offering. But it's often challenging for them to rearchitect their software for optimal cloud deployment.

As a result, ISVs have focused on providing cloud-enabled products–a middle ground between on-premises and cloud deployment. These ISVs take legacy applications designed for on-premises use and adapt them for use in cloud environments. This approach is promising because it offers a faster route to the cloud and boasts several security benefits. However, in some areas, it can fall slightly short.

In contrast, cloud-native imaging IT software requires more R&D and technical development, but it leverages the true power of cloud technology. Advantages include scalability, flexibility, optimized storage, accessibility, connected data, and consistent performance levels across workloads, no matter the environment. The good news is that most ISVs in the market are now partway through their transition to this cloud-native approach.

The cloud shift starts now

Healthcare providers are now using cloud based services to keep healthcare backed up and accessible, enable internal and external file sharing and team collaboration, maximize security and compliance to keep personal health information safe and reduce costs at scale

Healthcare providers are required to retain multiple copies of their data from a compliance standpoint, so it makes sense to start by moving their disaster and backup workloads to the cloud. This is one of the safest workloads to begin with because it probably won’t need to be accessed, which means that organizations can scale down their data center footprint and get comfortable with the cloud environment.

This also allows them to have a copy of their data geographically dispersed from their primary copy of data and the secondary cloud copy could be locked to prevent tampering with the data for ransomware protection.

As workloads are shifted to the cloud, ISVs need to pivot quickly to fully support enterprise medical imaging in the cloud. They need to be cloud-ready so that healthcare providers can take the next step on their cloud journey, which involves committing deeply to a hybrid cloud approach.

This milestone sees organizations continuing to host their primary medical imaging applications on premises while progressing to a secondary continuity environment in the cloud. Once there are copies of medical images and the application in the cloud, healthcare providers can avoid disruption to the services of their primary environment.

A giant leap for cloudkind

As organizations become more comfortable with the cloud, they can shrink their on-premises presence even further. The next crucial step is to move their primary environment and critical applications to the cloud allowing organizations to realize the full benefit of the cloud and removing the responsibility of maintaining hardware components and software versions of their imaging application. Their PACS Administrators and IT Staff are freed up to focus on more meaningful tasks to improve their patient care experience.

The secondary on-premises environment serves as a platform for failover testing. For instance, the IT department may have clinicians running these environments so that they can spot gaps in performance and latency, before moving everyone quickly back to the primary environment.

Building confidence during these initial stages is essential because as healthcare providers reach this pivotal point, enterprise medical imaging in the cloud will already be a mature concept and they won’t think twice about an on-premises presence. This model gives them access to the latest in medical imaging technology with very little investment, enabling them to provide the best possible diagnoses for patients at significantly lower costs.

Where does NetApp fit into all this?

We apply our expertise to make the cloud journey a seamless one. As the only storage environment truly enabled for hybrid cloud, NetApp offers natively integrated solutions for major cloud providers–Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud–to meet demands for performance, data protection, and efficiency.

No matter how often strategies change or where a provider is on their journey, NetApp® solutions deliver everything necessary for a flexible and secure cloud environment. This includes infrastructure freedom, a unified control plane, consumption flexibility, and a solid data management strategy across the entire footprint.

Here’s a bit more about what we offer.

  • Enjoy a consistent experience. Only NetApp offers complete compatibility and interoperability between on premises and all major public clouds. This means one integrated experience across all locations.
  • Seamlessly connect data. We can design a data fabric that allows data to flow seamlessly. That means it’s always on, available, and easily consumed so that organizations can make full, effective use of it.
  • Gain end-to-end visibility. We bring full-stack visibility for greater understanding of unused infrastructure and overprovisioned workloads to help cut costs, ensure availability, and protect data.
  • Detect and prevent threats. We use AI-driven technology to provide automatic data classification, anomaly detection, and enhanced data governance across the entire data estate.
  • Benefit from constant availability. We deliver simple, efficient, secure backup and restore capabilities for protection and long-term archiving of data for business continuity and minimizing data loss.

Clearly, medical imaging has a big future in the cloud. And be sure to contact us If you have any questions.

Tony Turner

Tony has 30 years of medical imaging and healthcare IT experience. At NetApp, he manages several medical imaging vendors and provides industry thought leadership and education to NetApp’s healthcare business. He has published articles and a newsletter and has taken part in several imaging industry events at NetApp. Tony’s career began as a registered radiology technologist . He has applied this experience in several different roles over the years, in designing, selling, and implementing multiple enterprise imaging solutions.

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