If HIMSS12, the annual US health IT US trade show, is anything to go by expect a cloudy outlook for the the NHS. I was fortunate enough to be at the show last month and one of the big themes is that almost every IT, clinical software and services vendor is offering cloud-based versions of their services.
Many include firms active in the NHS, such as Siemens, GE, McKesson, Cerner, Allscripts and Dell.
Want a vendor neutral archive? We've got a cloud for that. Want an EPR? We've got a cloud for that. Want a BI/analytics product? You get the idea...
In part this is about marketing hype but quite a view vendors I spoke to said the Cloud approach is in demand and that's why they are offering it.
In my humble opinion a cloud-based architecture is the way to go. I think we can legitimately say this as we are a vendor that offers both client/server and web-base solutions.
However, in our experience we've found the underlying infrastructure (to support cloud-based computing) in most Trusts to be badly out of date.
Network capacity is often not geared up to delivering web apps and in many cases there is a fixation with IE (often v6/v7).
The new web apps that we are delivering are based on HTML5 and CSS3 but when you run them on a typical NHS network with IE the user experience is greatly compromised. So much so that we have deliberately elected to focus on the private sector (with these newer apps) until the NHS catches up.
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