Healthcare IT Blog

Keep Your Head In the Clouds

Published on 12/06/2012 by Matt Donahue
Category: Cloud Computing

While sitting at home this past weekend watching my 3 year old and 6 year old running around having light saber duels and continuing the epic battle between the Jedi and the Sith, (yes we here at Park Place do have a special place in our hearts for Star Wars), I started to recall my own childhood.  Do you remember the days when we were all children?  They seem like so long ago now, but I would like you to try to go back to that time for a moment and recall all of those daydreams you used to have.  Granted, some of us may have had far more than others, but we all did in some fashion at one time or another.  Remember all of those fantastic ideas and worlds we used to build for ourselves?  A child’s mind is wonderful like that.  Imagination can take them to any place at any time and have them solving all of the world’s problems with the simplest of solutions.  Creativity at its best, I say.  Now I want you to remember how many times an adult, whether it be a parent, a coach, or a teacher, would insist that you “get your head out of the clouds”.  The universal saying for stop thinking up the fantastical and start living in the “real” world.  Throughout history, there have been a select few that have been lucky enough to go against that and have brought world changing ideas.  Just try to imagine if Steve Jobs took a job on Wall Street…how could we all live without our iPhones and iPads?

For years, IT departments have been forced to live in the real world, spending more than 50% of their time on average running around troubleshooting and resolving existing issues.  I don’t know how many times I have spoken with people and had them tell me about a project they were working on that keeps getting pushed out because of resource constraints and a general lack of time, which is even more the case in the average MEDITECH hospital IT department.  With this in mind, I used to find it somewhat odd that most IT departments had a fear of, if not a resentment, to moving anything out of the Data Center and into the cloud.  Is it the feeling of losing control?  Maybe fear of being seen of as an unneeded resource?  Whatever the reason, Cloud adoption has been somewhat slow and for the most part driven from the financial side as opposed to the IT side.

I would like to offer a different perspective on why IT should start looking at the cloud.  That perspective can be summarized in one simple term:  Innovation.  I think that IT people should not be fearful of the cloud but rather embrace the potential that the cloud can bring them.  Just imagine what could be done if your entire IT department freed up 50 percent of their time.  It could give us adults the free time to start daydreaming again, and I mean this in a good way.  We can start to channel that inner child within us all and come up with some extremely creative and innovative ideas that could have dramatic impact on the hospital, instead of just being an expensive reactionary IT SWAT team that spends all day fighting battles.  So, I will leave you with this – please “keep your head in the clouds”.

Matt Donahue serves as Senior Engineer in the Office of the CTO at Park Place International. Matt has been working with MEDITECH and their hospital customers for over 10 years across multiple roles as both an end user customer at Saints Medical Center and as service provider with JJWild, Perot Systems, Dell Services and Park Place International. Matt’s current professional goal is to redefine traditional backend infrastructure technologies used by hospitals to allow true adoption of cloud services and achieve an “always available from anywhere” architecture.  Matt studied Applied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and is a regular guest speaker to in their Operations and Information System department.