In pursuit of practice effectiveness and cost efficiency, the healthcare industry is reaching for the cloud. Cloud computing is the concept of using off-site, third-party servers to store, analyze and share information seamlessly via the internet. By adopting this model, computing will not be a long-term investment but a consumable service, bringing down the setup and operation cost and channelize better handling of sensitive patient information.
Cloud computing has penetrated every industry and healthcare providers are now realizing its potential. Hospitals, both big and small recognize the need or have already invested in cloud computing. In this era of information explosion, healthcare professionals face a stupendous amount of data every day. As technology continues to drive the pace of progress, the industry becomes more information-driven, and the data gathered will only keep increasing. Traditional on site may not have the flexibility that healthcare industry is currently looking for.
To the transforming healthcare industry and its evolving needs cloud computing offer the following advantages
1. Data Security
With the proliferation of Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) and other such technology, the sensitivity of patient information has attracted the attention of hackers to hospitals. This poses an ever-present threat to hospital servers and is a common worry to hospital executives that they would accept. All major cloud computing service providers are experts in managing a large amount of data and employ more security features than any hospital can afford on its own. Cloud computing providers have dedicated staffs and resources who are always on the lookout for possible security concerns and devise to prevent any breach and ensure 24/7 security.
Cloud computing is extremely scalable, its capacity can be increased or decreased whenever the need arises and it can be done quickly and with ease. In case of traditional on-site servers, scaling up or down is a tedious and time-consuming task, often involving long process and delays. In case of cloud, the need can be communicated to the cloud provider and functionality can be made available much faster. This flexibility helps hospitals to be cost-effective and at the same time meet any need that may arise.
3. Pay for services consumed
Cloud computing charges are calculated on services consumed, healthcare service provider do not have to invest a substantial amount of money to set servers on-premises and spent on a monthly basis for its maintenance. Cloud servers are the lot less expensive as there is no capital investment required. For cloud, the healthcare providers need to only pay a service fee on the basis of usage, this is uncluttered and makes it easy for hospitals to calculate and forecast expenses.
Telemedicine is the use of information technology to remotely administer, diagnosis and treatment. Cloud computing can positively accelerate the deployment of Telemedicine and also reduce the cost of deployment. Telemedicine supports home care patients and also patients in rural areas when needed.
5. Peer Collaboration and Research
Cloud computing gives provider’s access to all information as and when needed. Primary care physicians can collaborate with experts in times of need, doctors can guide nurses or caregivers to administer procedure on patients in an emergency.
Providers can share data and gather information on diseases and efficiency of treatment like cancer and diabetes.
With its universal availability and secure access, the providers can share patient data to researchers without the fear of breach of data integrity. With more collective data to investigate, researchers will be able to study the nature of diseases and its causes which affect many in our society.
Cloud computing eliminates the need to build and maintain complex and expensive servers leaving hospitals the time and capital to invest in the good work.
Cloud computing can help bring patients and doctors together to ensure care at the right place at the right time. Promoting collaboration and aiding research cloud computing can become an active resource in the search for the cure for a disease. It can bring better treatment to patients in the inaccessible region and improve the average quality of healthcare. Cloud computing may very well be the silver bullet the healthcare industry been looking for.