Solving Modern Healthcare Challenges With Cloud-Based Managed Services


Healthcare data is increasingly moving to the cloud, with nearly three-quarters of healthcare organizations (HCOs) using cloud services in 2023. This shift in strategy requires specialized IT support to manage, secure, and optimize cloud environments. Working with an experienced IT services partner, HCOs can address current needs, build capabilities for the future, and ensure that critical data is always secure and accessible.  

What Do Cloud-Based Managed Services Include?

Cloud-based managed services typically involve everyday oversight of cloud environments, which includes managed configurations, performance, costs, security, capacity, and governance. 

Are you considering a shift in your cloud strategy, or planning to increase your cloud footprint? An experienced managed services partner can help address these seven key challenges: 

1. Data Security 


HCOs are struggling to keep up with the rapidly advancing technology required to securely handle patient data. Data breaches pose a significant threat to HCOs, with medical records being high-value targets for criminal extortion. In fact, a recent report from Gartner found that at least 70% of all HCO ransomware attacks involve data-extortion attempts. 

Protecting valuable healthcare data and complying with evolving regulations require increasingly complex technologies. Meeting these requirements is beyond the capacity of most hospital IT departments. Data breaches—even minor ones—must be reported, often resulting in costly fines, time-consuming data recovery efforts, and a negative impact on a hospital’s reputation.


Cloud hosting companies can protect hospitals against hacking threats and data breaches with dedicated, expert support that doesn’t strain everyday IT operations. 

  • Routine security patches and audits  
  • Frequent software updates to meet regulatory compliance  
  • High-redundancy and air-gapped, geographically distributed backups to ensure fast data recovery in a critical event  
2. Data Centers  


While cloud adoption continues to accelerate, a significant number of HCOs still use physical data centers. These on-premises data centers often occupy less-than-ideal, retrofitted space within the hospital, resulting in such challenges as keeping the data center safe from water or fire, ensuring effective ventilation, controlling for electrical capacity, and maintaining adequate telecommunications. They are also often competing with clinical spaces for square footage. 


Using managed services in the cloud has several advantages for organizations using on-premises data centers:

  • IT personnel with specialized expertise in securing on-premises data 
  • More reliable heating, ventilation, and cooling systems  
  • Sophisticated protection against fire and water damage  
  • High standards for data-center security  
3. Infrastructure   


Building and maintaining on-premises data center infrastructure is time-consuming and expensive. A midsized HCO allocates an average of $4 million to each iteration of its three- to five-year infrastructure refresh cycle. 


Cloud-based managed services providers can help to avoid recurring capital expenditures and achieve economies of scale that are not otherwise possible—even for large hospital systems. This can result in significant cost savings that are already built into the contract.  

  • Eliminate the need for significant capital investments in data infrastructure, making IT spend a more predictable operational line item or monthly cost. 
  • Reduce the on-premises data center footprint so that physical spaces can be repurposed as revenue-generating clinical areas or used to create more office space.
4. Scalability and Flexibility 


Hospitals need flexible EHR platforms that can be customized and scaled to meet specific business needs, quickly and easily. However, the use of on-premises infrastructure can create barriers that prevent hospitals from taking full advantage of meaningful technologies that lead to innovation.  


By adopting cloud hosting solutions, HCOs can enjoy greater flexibility and scalability. Managed services partners offer hybrid solutions that allow a cloud-first, but not a cloud-only, strategy. Data migration to and from the public cloud (for example, Amazon AWS, Google GCP, and Microsoft Azure) can happen in stages with minimal disruption to existing operations. Some data, such as legacy EHRs, can be moved permanently to the public cloud.  

A cloud-based approach lets the hospital IT system capacity readily expand or contract, depending on business goals and needs. Instead of making large capital outlays for on-premises servers, the organization pays only for the capacity they need.  

Cloud-Based Services Flex and Scale With Your Needs

During high-load or high-volume events, IT departments can spin up servers to increase processing power, then spin them back down when they are no longer needed. This instant scalability can result in net cost savings for the organization.

  • New technology rollouts occur without the risk, delay, and cost of capital purchases.  
  • Hospitals can rely on the cloud provider’s sophisticated disaster recovery solutions with diverse recovery locations, eliminating the need for hospitals to create disaster recovery solutions of their own. 
  • Automation tools and technologies can simplify data movement between public and private clouds for routine backups and data archiving, sandbox versions for testing and development environments, and database replications for running reports while the primary system operates at full capacity. 
5. Innovation


Today’s HCOs need innovative digital solutions to address big challenges.  The cloud’s accessible, flexible environment encourages experimentation by making innovation less risky happening in the cloud, not in on-premises databases and software.  


Employing managed services in the cloud supports experimentation and innovation with less financial risk or strain on everyday operations. 

  • Cloud-enabled innovations such as AI, machine learning, and the big data space all require huge amounts of processing power at times and much lower amounts of power at other times. Cloud computing provides on-demand resources for which you pay only for what you use.  
  • Third-party IT services partners with deep cloud experience can help hospitals be ready for cloud-native add-ons such as remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and custom lab management tools.  
  • Freed from managing an on-premises data center, IT leaders can focus on adding value to the organization and transforming the patient experience through better technology solutions.  
6. 24/7 Expert IT Support


Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining highly skilled IT experts can be challenging, especially in smaller cities and rural areas, but also in urban areas with highly competitive labor markets. When on-site IT employees are required to provide round-the-clock support, the potential result is burnout. Staff turnover is costly from a financial and operational standpoint. Gartner reports that IT executives identified talent availability as the biggest barrier to technology adoption.


As healthcare technology becomes more complex, a cloud-based management team can avert skill gaps by providing deep expertise and 24/7 IT coverage to augment your existing team. Long-term relationships with EHR providers and other vendors allow for proactive data monitoring and troubleshooting. By outsourcing IT support, you can provide a cost-effective solution to the challenge of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining highly skilled IT experts, while ensuring uninterrupted and high-quality support. 

7. Provider, Employee, and Patient Experience


Today’s sophisticated EHR platforms should elevate healthcare experiences, empowering providers, staff, and patients with better tools and more relevant information. To support positive user experiences, IT leaders must respond to feedback, adapt to change, and deploy innovation quickly.  


A strong managed services partnership helps HCOs create better user experiences by supporting a resilient, responsive system that adapts to users’ needs.

  • A skilled managed services partner can help HCOs adapt to change quickly, incorporating new tools and responding to the needs of clinicians. 
  • A well-managed platform can support increasingly complex applications that improve experiences for patients and care providers.
  • Providers and staff can focus on patient care and guest services without the technology-based distraction and delays caused by underperforming infrastructure.  
  • Hospital IT professionals can dedicate their time and energy to working with providers and employees on local technology solutions to fulfill the organization’s unique needs.  

Experienced cloud-based managed services providers can develop a customized strategy that leverages private cloud, public cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid solutions to move your hospital’s infrastructure forward. The right partner will customize solutions for the near and long term, ensuring that your data is protected from cyberattacks, continually backed up, and always available when your organization needs it.  

HCOs that have adopted cloud-based managed services have benefited by: 

  • Enhanced security  
  • Moving IT professionals out of the data center business and instead focusing on bringing innovation and value to the patient experience
  • Reduced fixed costs
  • Greater operational flexibility and scalability
  • Improved provider, employer, and patient experience   

Where are you on your journey to transformation?