One other very interesting aspect of the Colorado cloud is that Summer describes it as a vendor-neutral archive, or VNA. "It doesn't matter what [EMR] system a hospital may use," he says. "The VNA will be neutral in terms of drawing down the images and using [them]. So we've eliminated any of what often become proprietary impediments."
The key to making VNA happen is getting all the participants at the table. That means all the public, private, urban, rural, and academic hospitals; the physician practices; and payers as well.
Meanwhile, the state provides bandwidth to all at a fraction of the cost it might have been, had this service been provided through private bandwidth service providers. That might be anathema to a provider that wants to sell lots of extra services on top of bandwidth, but it also helps preserve the neutrality of the shared cloud infrastructure.
As healthcare leaders sort through the opportunities and pitfalls of the cloud, it will be more important than ever for them to share their experiences. The dialogue is just beginning.