Novant Health migrates its Epic EHR system to the cloud

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In what’s being billed as one of the biggest yet cloud migrations of an Epic electronic health record deployment, Novant Health has moved its mission-critical applications to Virtustream’s cloud hosting servers.

WHY IT MATTERS
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based, not-for-profit health system serving four states migrated its Epic environment to Virtustream’s cloud servers as a way to streamline efficiencies and more easily comply with EHR, security and value-based care requirements.

Novant first rolled out the Epic system in 2011, and it’s deployed at its hospitals, physician practices, outpatient clinics and other provider sites – more than 640 of them across the Southeast.

As the health system expanded, it realized its legacy IT infrastructure wouldn’t be optimal for its technology plans going forward. So it looked for new ways to ensure, among other goals, a more predictable cost model and improved agility for clinical and operational innovation.

By moving its Epic environment to Virtustream’s cloud servers, Novant can make future enhancements to its system without having to re-architect its system every time new changes were necessary, the vendor said, noting that Novant and the xStreamCare Services team were able to complete the cloud migration just six months after co-designing its technical architecture.

THE LARGER TREND
More and more major health systems are deciding that the cloud is right for them, attracted to its agility and resilience, and having been convinced that the security of remote hosting has sufficiently evolved in recent years.

UC San Diego switched over to an Epic-hosted cloud EHR two summers ago, for example, citing the improved operational efficiencies it enabled – allowing it to invest more resources in patient care – as well as the ability to share the EHR with partners such as UC Irvine Health.

Still, just this week we showed that even as health systems are more intrigued by cloud hosting, many are still slow to take the leap, either wary of lingering security concerns or hampered by tight budgets.

Healthcare IT News’ guide to cloud migration best practices earlier this year offered four perspectives on the tactical and strategic thinking that should go into a major project such as this.

“The majority of organizations we speak with are doing more in the cloud or considering moving more to the cloud,” explained Ryan Oliver, a research director at KLAS. “Cost and security are usually the first considerations mentioned, but it’s important to maintain a disciplined approach to decisions that also includes considerations for scalability, integrations, governance, operational readiness to manage multiple cloud vendors, impact on staff and total cost of ownership.”

ON THE RECORD
“Novant Health turned to Virtustream as our trusted cloud partner for its deep expertise when it comes to managing business-critical data like our electronic health records,” James Kluttz, chief technology officer of Novant Health, said in a statement.

A cloud-hosted environment for Epic will help the health system “meet all of our business, security, technical and cost requirements,” he added, noting Novant’s plans to expand its use of the cloud platform going forward.

“With more predictable IT costs in place for Novant Health, and a faster, more agile cloud solution supporting its mission-critical IT needs, they can now focus on what matters most to them – delivering the best healthcare possible to the many communities they serve,” added Virtustream’s President and CEO Rory Read.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.





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