IaaS vs. SaaS vs. PaaS: What’s the difference in healthcare?

Before diving into the difference between Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), let’s start with a definition of the cloud. The cloud stores data across remote servers, allowing software and services to run on the Internet instead of on just one device. The cloud allows data to be hosted, stored, managed and processed in an online network of different servers in order to be accessible on the Internet.

IaaS is the infrastructure for cloud-based technology like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Unlike SaaS and PaaS, IaaS puts more responsibility on the user, who must manage applications, data, runtime, middleware and operating systems. This gives users more control over their infrastructure and allows them to scale and purchase resources as they need them instead of buying outright, meaning cost varies with consumption. IaaS and PaaS are not mutually exclusive. Users can install platforms and therefore build applications on top of IaaS infrastructure. IaaS would be a good fit for health organizations that want to build things from scratch over their infrastructure without making a big investment up front, giving them flexibility to purchase as their needs grow. However, this also requires much more technical staff such as platform engineers, DevOps engineers, data engineers, security engineers and application engineers.

SaaS allows users to run applications from remote locations delivered via the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run applications on individual devices. SaaS applications are typically available on a subscription basis, and include solutions like accounting (Netsuite), CRM (Salesforce) and file sharing (Dropbox). In addition to the benefit of removing the need to install applications on individual infrastructure, all technical problems, storage of data and maintenance of the network are handled by the vendor.

PaaS is a cloud computing model in which a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools like Force.com or Pivotal Cloud Foundry — usually those needed for application development to users over the Internet. A PaaS provider hosts the hardware and software on its own infrastructure. As a result, PaaS frees users from the pain of having to install in-house hardware and software to develop or run a new application.

Platform solutions provide a set of cloud-based components that allow developers to create reusable applications fast and execute them at scale. The resulting insights can be delivered to enterprise-wide endpoints or to external entities via APIs, etc. Platforms have the ability to create a network of multi-organizational data, which is critical for the healthcare industry in improving quality and reducing cost, getting paid faster and digitizing cumbersome processes between payers and providers. When individual health organizations can benefit from the network effects of a healthcare platform, the power of their data is increased by multitudes. Apervita is the first platform build for healthcare.

Contact us to learn more about how Apervita’s PaaS solution is helping leading healthcare organizations improve their business and save millions of dollars.

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