For an industry that has historically lagged behind in adopting new technologies, healthcare is surprisingly leading in cloud adoption. With a huge number of legacy systems and large volumes of highly sensitive and personal data, it is understandable why the industry has traditionally been slow to embrace change. However, this approach has completely changed with the rise of cloud technology. According to the West Monroe Partners Report, a remarkable 35% of healthcare organisations held the majority of their infrastructure and data in the cloud – becoming one of the leading industries to do so. What makes the cloud such a good match for the healthcare industry and what is the impact of cloud computing on the healthcare industry?
This article details the reasons healthcare is leading in cloud adoption and how the cloud is transforming healthcare as we know it.
What Makes Cloud Computing So Ideal for the Healthcare Industry?
Governments and healthcare institutions all over the world have faced countless challenges in trying to digitise health service. With the rising demand for healthcare services due to an ageing population and innovation of more efficient infection detection technologies, personnel shortfall and rising expectations for digitised services, current healthcare models are under immense strain. Additionally, there is a cultural push for efficiency across all industries, healthcare included. When you consider the process of version control for a healthcare system or institution managing millions of electronic patient records, the need to integrate healthcare and social information while connecting countless hospitals, clinics, trusts, insurers and practitioners, the challenge is clear for all to see.
However, in the challenges that healthcare is facing is where the cloud excels. In the past, healthcare systems had to be centralised. This meant that institutions had to acquire, manage and maintain all the necessary hardware, software and all relevant IT personnel whether these resources were used at full capacity or not. While you would think this would make for a fail-proof and secure system, apparently not – as evidenced by the WannaCry attack on the NHS.
Cloud computing is changing how doctors, nurses, clinics and hospitals deliver cost-effective and quality services to increasing numbers of patients. This is driven by need and push to improve the quality of patient care and experience, the economic imperative to cut costs and have integrated, secure and efficient systems. Through the decentralised system supported by cloud computing, healthcare systems and institutions can efficiently process, deliver and analyse data in collaborative fashion at a fraction of the cost of the previous system.
How the Cloud is Transforming Healthcare
Here are the ways in which the cloud is impacting healthcare
Cloud computing allows for on-demand availability of computer resources such as computing power, data and storage hence negating the need to purchase and maintain in-house hardware and servers. An institution pays only for what they need and use resulting in massive cost savings. This also improves scalability which gives institutions the ability to perform capacitive overhauls whenever they need to while also keeping costs in check.
Cloud computing facilitates and supports data integration regardless of origin or storage thereby making data patient data readily available throughout the healthcare system whenever needed. This diminishes the distance between specialists and allows them to review cases regardless of location while also providing insight to improve healthcare delivery and planning. Interoperability across various healthcare sectors such as pharmaceuticals, insurers and payment avenues increases efficiency and improves patient’s experience.
High Powered Analytics
Data in any industry is a huge asset, both structured and unstructured. The application of artificial intelligence algorithms and Big Data analytics on patient data collected from various sources can power up medical research including formulating personalised care plans. It also means that entire medical histories of patients are readily available to physicians when prescribing treatments so that nothing is missed.
Cloud computing gives patients’ access and ownership to their data allowing them to participate in decisions that affect their health as well as enhance patient engagement and education. While there are concerns about cloud storage of patient data, reliability is higher including data recovery if need be.
Cloud storage of patient records allows for remote accessibility which is one of the leading benefits of using the cloud in healthcare. This is particularly helpful for post-hospitalization care plans, telemedicine, and virtual medication follow up. Telemedicine apps improve access to healthcare services, convenience in service delivery and the overall patient experience.
Understandably, there are concerns regarding the security of patient data and the system itself, compliance with health data related security norms and system downtimes. However, cloud technology is rapidly evolving to increase security through encryption and provide redundancy to caution against downtimes.
Although cloud computing still has a long way to go in healthcare, its adoption has definitely had a powerful positive impact on the industry including cost savings, increased interoperability and improved service delivery. If you would like to learn more about how cloud computing can improve healthcare institutions, contact AdEPT today – the leading business and IT solutions firms in the UK.