Health care revs up for big drive into the cloud

Raw need is why health IT spending on the cloud will quadruple by 2018

According to a report from Markets to Markets, we're looking at a cloud computing market for North American health care of about $6.5 billion by 2018, up from $1.8 billion in 2013. The predicted growth is no surprise, given the number of reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA), the changes in other laws including one protecting our private health data, emerging payment models, and so on.

The use of cloud computing provides those building and deploying health care systems with new and more affordable options for creating highly responsive and scalable systems. The use of cloud computing also means systems are more flexible and able to adapt to the changing market dynamics in health care.

[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

Of course, cloud computing -- particularly public cloud computing -- is not a fit for every field. But considering the challenges in health care and medical providers' small IT budgets, providers and payers often have no choice but to use cloud computing.

Five years ago, this notion would seem strange to people in health care IT -- in fact, they pushed back hardest against the use of public clouds. There rationale involved the usual FUD around security and privacy. Today, most of those people have either changed their tune or moved on.The uses of cloud computing in health care simply to make sense to those charged with keeping those systems both running and compliant.

What's unique about the cloud's projected market growth in health care is that the uptick is mostly driven be pure need, and not a desire to improve IT through the use of cloud-based resources. That's a big difference from other industries, whose cloud motivations are less desperate. When you're small, you try to punch above your weight. When it comes to sophisticated IT today, health care is small.

This article, "Health care revs up for big drive into the cloud," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.