Technology has brought a massive constructive change in the healthcare industry accelerating innovations in this domain. Patient care is evolving, and healthcare providers are adopting tech-centric business processes to operate. EMR, EHR, virtual health, and telehealth have become fundamental to delivering and providing health. Digital solutions have empowered healthcare seekers and improved the access to hospital/patient data and medical records for healthcare professionals.
Cloud computing is on-demand access to resources like data storage, physical and virtual servers, and software applications, without active management/maintenance by the user. The adoption of cloud computing solutions ensures that healthcare operations are scalable, more convenient, and cost-effective.
The 3 effective ways that cloud solutions can benefit healthcare service providers are via: -
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – The cloud can offer on-demand services to healthcare organizations, provide quick access to business applications, and fulfill customer relationship management (CRM).
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - It can provide medical facilities with on-demand computing and ample storage
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) - It can enhance a more secure environment for the implementation of cloud applications and web-based services
The cloud allows for more than merely the interchange of medical data between different devices when it comes to sharing healthcare information. It enriches the connectivity between medical facilities and cloud users for the exchange of patient health data online. IT services simplify data sharing over the cloud and thereby make the processes efficient and patient-centric.
The top 6 benefits of cloud computing for healthcare
Security and privacy of patient data are of paramount importance in healthcare services. Organizations need to comply with regulatory frameworks & safeguard the sensitive information of patients.
If the equipment fails, as in the case of on-premises solutions, medical institutions may lose all their data and applications. A potential breach that healthcare institutions can ill-afford to risk. Well-managed cloud servers provide enhanced security and privacy to healthcare providers.
Cloud computing not only allows its users to access the information remotely but includes automation of backups and disaster recovery options. Further, in case of a breach, healthcare providers do not lose any data and can minimize the operation downtime. Thus, Cloud service providers offer security, risk management, and monitoring of services to protect their users from unauthorized access and breaches.
Healthcare providers can benefit immensely from cloud computing as an investment for servers and the hardware equipment is negligible. Further, it allows for scaling up when the demand is high, without upfront investment. In addition, the subscription model offered by various cloud platforms makes it a most cost-effective advantage.
A dynamic environment like healthcare services requires scalability as per the service demands. Cloud computing gives healthcare providers the flexibility to increase or decrease their data storage, their computing power, and monitoring of resources depending on the usage of data.
4. Data storage
Healthcare providers handle data generated from various patient portals, mobile apps, big data analytics, and EMRs.
That is a lot of data to manage and analyse, and the standard in-house equipment is ill-equipped for the storage of large data sets. However, the cloud platforms allow the storage of large data sets without the use of any conventional physical servers. This avoids the extra costs of maintaining physical servers.
Cloud Computing also digitally stores multiple data replicas/ copies on multiple servers and at multiple geo-locations. This reduces the risk of data loss during exceptional failure circumstances but ensures easy and secure extraction in real-time. This provision gives more reliability of operation to the cloud users.
5. Data-driven insight
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) support the healthcare industry to dispense faster clinical decisions, resulting in a reduced treatment period.
Integration of cloud platforms with AI/ML-based algorithms can boost the analysis of the massive amount of data stored in the cloud. It will also help smoothen the process of accessing and processing the data, resulting in much-valued added personalized health plans for patients.
Due to the recent global pandemic, collaboration among and between medical practitioners, medical stores, patients, diagnostic departments, and R&D institutions or laboratories, became a crucial necessity. Cloud platforms enable these stakeholders to efficiently share and securely transfer the data to each other and effectively collaborate for improved patient care.
Challenges in Cloud Computing
Cloud service providers often face challenges during the storage, maintenance, and transfer of the data. Failure to ensure security can result in higher costs, major data loss, and privacy risks to patient’s health information.
Service providers must adhere to and comply with the rules mentioned by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Such as:
- These rules require the necessary protection of individual patient health data
- Cloud service providers must consider limits and conditions set for uses and disclosures of the patient data.
- Cloud service providers require administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the integrity, security, and confidentiality of the patient data
- Cloud service providers must monitor, identify, and notify the user immediately in case there is a breach/ impermissible use or disclosure of the patient data.
- In case of any violation of Privacy, Security, and Breach rules set by HIPPA, the cloud service provider needs to face a strict audit and investigation against the complaints raised culminating in the need to pay high civil money penalties.
Stakeholders also must possess the correct knowledge of data storage and authentication. Additionally, they should consider the implementation of a suitable cloud platform.
Cloud services usage in the healthcare industry is to:
- Increase revenue growth by personalised patient experiences
- Improve clinical productivity through data transparency
- Manage the operations and provide care beyond the hospital
- Easy and on-demand access to be always updated about patient’s status
The pandemic demonstrated how technology could cause healthcare services to become more efficient and predictive and connect people by engaging patient and clinician flexibility over seeking and giving care remotely. Thus, cloud computing in healthcare has become a critical necessity for facilitating patient care through collaboration and interoperability.
Decos has extensive experience in developing cloud-based custom solutions for healthcare enterprises, including medical device manufacturers and organizations involved in clinical trials. We support your organization or institute from its initial stages of creating and building a cloud strategy right up to harnessing the power of custom cloud solutions for the collection, management, processing, and storage of electronic records. Decos ensures that your critical data are secure yet easily accessible, interpretable, and actionable.
This article was provided to you by Decos, a cutting-edge technology services partner ready to meet your software needs in the medical domain. If you have a question on one of our projects or would like advice on your project or a POC, just contact Devesh at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to get in touch with you!