AI, security are driving IT modernisation in healthcare

Hybrid multi-cloud adoption is surging among healthcare organisations as the majority are significantly increasing investments in IT modernisation, a new report from Nutanix shows.

Vanson Bourne conducted research on behalf of Nutanix, surveying 1,500 IT and DevOps/Platform Engineering decision-makers around the world in December 2023. 

Respondents were based in North and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific-Japan (APJ).

This year’s Healthcare ECI report revealed that the use of hybrid multi-cloud models in healthcare is forecast to double over the next one to three years. IT decision-makers at healthcare organisations are facing new pressures to modernise IT infrastructures to effectively harness the power of AI, mitigate security risks, and be more sustainable.

These entities handle large amounts of personal health information (PHI) that can be complex to manage with the need to remain compliant with regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

As organisations in all industries continue to grapple with the complexities of moving applications and data across environments, hybrid multi-cloud solutions provide key benefits to healthcare organizations including helping them simplify operations, deliver better patient outcomes, and improve clinician productivity. 

The study found that the adoption of the hybrid multi-cloud operating model in healthcare organisations has increased by 10 percentage points compared to last year, jumping from 6% to 16%. While deployment trailed other industries last year, healthcare is now on par with all industries (15%).

“Healthcare organisations have traditionally lagged behind in technology adoption, yet we’ve seen an impressive increase in modernisation in the last year alone – driven by AI and the need for data portability,” said Scott Ragsdale, Nutanix senior director of sales for the US healthcare market. 

“Across industries, 80% of (healthcare firms) are planning to invest in IT modernisation, with 85% planning to increase their investments specifically to support AI,” said Ragsdale. “Healthcare organisations are no different, focusing on future-proofing IT infrastructure today to prepare for the needs of tomorrow – including AI and sustainability.”

This year’s report also found that nearly three-fourths (73%) of ECI respondents in healthcare organizations reported using multiple IT models this year, compared to 53% last year. Last year, healthcare was behind the average across industries by seven percentage points and now outpaces it by 13 points.

Also, ECI respondents in the healthcare sector identified AI and the flexibility to move workloads back and forth across private and public cloud infrastructure as the most important factor driving purchasing decisions at 17% each followed in importance by the performance potential of the infrastructure (14%) and how well it lends itself to successful data sovereignty and privacy management (14%).

Further, 98% in healthcare and 95% across industries said that they moved one or more applications in the past 12 months, driving the need in their organisations for simple and flexible inter-cloud workload and application portability. This is largely being fueled by shifting security-related requirements according to respondents.

Respondents shared that support for AI tied as the top IT infrastructure purchase criterion among healthcare organisations. In addition, implementing AI strategies came in second when healthcare respondents ranked what they considered the biggest priority for their organizations’ CIOs, CTOs, and leadership (17%). 

In healthcare, 84% of organisations said they were increasing investments in AI strategy in the coming year. The same group, however, largely considered running AI to be a challenge (82%).

When asked to name their number one data management challenge today, an equal percentage of healthcare ECI respondents identified complying with data storage/usage guidelines and linking data across disparate environments (20%) as the top factor. 

Other data security issues, including combating ransomware and ensuring data privacy, were each cited by the next greatest number of respondents (17%).