IBM Clinical Development Blog

Cloudy Lingo: 7 Terms Healthcare Professionals Need to Know

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 23, 2015 4:00:00 PM / by Greg Pack

Topics: Data Exporting, Cloud, clinical trials, Apps, Saas, Switching Systems, Audit, Application, ePro, Encryption, Regulations, Investment, clinical research, Data Access, Switching EDC, Data Storage

 In today’s world, vast amounts of information can be accessed on mobile devices, tablets and PCs at the touch of a fingertip. With privacy concerns at an all-time high, these tech advances have taken a bit of time to become accepted in the healthcare industry.

But all of that changed when the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) released “Meaningful Use" incentives, and the US Government released the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), two powerful changes to the traditional workflow in healthcare. These pieces of legislation encourage businesses in the healthcare industry to utilize certain applications and the connectivity of electronic health records.

So, we have come a long way, baby. In just 6 years, most medical management meetings in this country taking place right now are centered on value-based care and interoperability. And, cloud technologies have started to replace clunky legacy systems, offering easier, faster, and more cost-effective access to data.


Are you new to "the cloud?" Here are 7 terms you need to know: 


A SaaS (Software as a Service) platform is an on-demand software delivery model. On-demand means that the software is never installed on a local machine — it’s always accessed over the Internet, or “the cloud.” “Apps,” or, applications, are run via a web browser. 

Public Cloud

In “public cloud” storage, enterprises and small businesses offload data and backup needs to a third-party cloud storage service provider, freeing them from the expensive costs of having to purchase, manage and maintain on-site storage hardware and software resources.

Private Cloud

While public cloud is external, “private cloud” is an inte

rnal storage cloud. Storage services are managed inside the data center and as a result almost always carry higher capital and maintenance costs than public cloud storage services.That's because they need to provide the data center space, network connectivity, power and cooling.

Hybrid Cloud

With hybrid cloud storage, businesses are able to mix and match cloud storage resources between local in-house data center infrastructure and scalable, on-demand off-site infrastructure. The off-site cloud provider typically fully manages the cloud storage.

The advantages of hybrid cloud are reliability, scalability, easy on-demand setup and potential cost savings of public cloud storage with the security and full control of private cloud storage.


An Electronic Data Capture system, or EDC, is a system created to report, upload, organize and store various clinical trial data from patients and trial sites their treatments and outcomes in electronic form as opposed to paper.

Cloud Envy

Used to describe vendors who jump on the cloud computing bandwagon by rebranding their existing services.

"Moving to Cloud"

When an organization is moving away from a traditional “Fixed Capital Asset Model” (buy the dedicated hardware and depreciate it over a period of time) to the operational expense (OPEX) model (use a shared cloud infrastructure and pay as you use it) they are referred to as "Moving to Cloud." 

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Greg Pack
Written by Greg Pack