Over time there has been a rather strong shift in the generation, consumption, storage, and sharing of healthcare data. From the old days of conventional storage mediums to the digitalization of healthcare data and the entire industry, the shift has been rather stark.
The emphasis has always been on creating a practice that optimizes data management. Also, helps create a system that is efficient enough to sustain the load that is on the healthcare industry as a whole.
This adoption of cloud computing goes beyond just storing data on cloud architecture. It actually includes the adoption of this technology to make work more efficient, optimize workflows, lower healthcare delivery costs. Moreover, offer personalization in care plans to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Cloud Computing In Healthcare

Cloud computing is getting massive popularity in the current era. It increases the accessibility and performance of many before running programs on local storage. There is no doubt that cloud computing can make hospital and patient management systems more efficient than ever. Global cloud computing in the healthcare market will hit $35 billion by 2022. With an annual growth rate of 11.6% because of its demand

Cloud Computing Advantages:

The biggest advantage of cloud computing to hospital staff, doctors, and patients is the ease of access to data at all times and places. Collaboration and accessibility are the things that are most important in every business. Furthermore, a patient management system equipped with these qualities will provide unmatched healthcare services to patients. 

The widespread use of cloud storage makes it easier for doctors to check the patient’s medical history. Also, deciding on medication based on any current medicines and allergies. A central database will also help the dentist, specialist. Or, any other doctor the patient visits to share data and make informed decisions for the patient. The following are the most important reasons you need to shift your patient data to cloud storage.

Decreased Data Storage Costs:

The cost of using cloud data storage is much less as compared to the file system or local data storage. The most obvious expenditure is the hardware for local storage. Large file decks and cabinets for files or purchasing local computers or implementing an on-site local server is a much bigger overhead on a hospital’s expenses. Cloud storage, is a clean way of storing large amounts of data with minimal to no expenditures.

Ease Of Interoperability:

Interoperability aims at creating data integrations throughout the healthcare system regardless of the point of origin or storage. If this inoperability is in assistance by cloud adoption. The patient data is therefore readily available for distribution while giving insights to facilitate healthcare planning and delivery.
Cloud computing also enables healthcare provides to gain access to patient data that is available from a wide variety of sources. With the respective shareholders and then give out timely prescriptions and treatment protocols. This also does away with any distance that might exist between specialists and helps them to review cases and share opinions without the need of worrying about geographical limitations.
This inoperability also transitions onto the various other healthcare industry segments, i.e. pharmaceuticals, insurance, and payments. This helps create a seamless transfer of data between the different stakeholders. Also, helps to accelerate health care delivery while also introducing efficiency into the process.

Enhanced Information Security:

Other than the critical data like the patient’s ID and social security number. The medical record of the patient is itself something that could be available against him. So, a patient management system needs to keep all the information hidden and secure. Yet, this process is thereby local servers because they are not equipped to secure data against malware attacks. HIPAA-compliant cloud storage providers ensure that the storage systems follow certain rules and principles to protect the patient’s EMRs. It is also cost-effective to use a security system implemented by the cloud.

Access To High Powered Analytics:

Healthcare data, whether it is structured or not, is a huge asset for the industry. Relevant patient data from different sources are available and computing in the cloud. This can be followed by the application of Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms on cloud-stored patient data that can greatly help medical research.
Moreover, with the computing power that the cloud has. You could process amounts of large datasets without much of a problem.
Through the performance of analytics on patient data, one could also pave the way to creating more personalized care plans for patients that are structured on an individual level. It also ensures that all the pertinent patient details are on record and maintained when prescribing future treatments and plants. Through the inclusion of cloud-based data, you would have access to analytics that would help extract relevant and important patient information.

Patient’s Ownership Of Data:

With the incorporation of cloud computing, you would be democratizing data and giving patients control over their own health. This not only boosts patient participation in decisions about their own health but also leads to them making informed decisions by acting as a tool for patient education and engagement.
Patient records and any medical images can be easily archived and retrieved as necessary when storing data on the cloud. Yes, cloud security has its concerns but the reliability is definitely higher and therefore healthcare industries do not mind placing their trust in them.
Data redundancy is also reduced with the system becoming even more optimized due to the removal of any unimportant data. Moreover, since backups are automated and there are no single touchpoints where data is stored, the recovery of data also becomes much simpler.

Easily Scalable Systems:

There is no need to buy extra equipment in case you want to expand your business when using cloud storage. Many branches of a hospital using the same shared storage for medical records of patients help the patient seek consultation anywhere and the doctors to collaborate with others to suggest proper medication. Cloud computation also makes it easy to install new functionality in the systems. Adding an online payment feature into your app and keeping the records up-to-date at all times will give your patient management system a huge boost.

Apply Data Analytics For Easy Medication:

After you have maintained a central database for your patients.  You can apply Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms to the data to further ease your doctors and quicken your services. By making your PMS intelligent, patients can get suitable medication online for common diseases without the involvement of a specialist. It can analyze the symptoms of a patient. Also, recommend a suitable medicine based on records of previous patients and treatments.

Barriers To Adoption Of Cloud Computing In Healthcare

It’d be unfair to say that it is all sunshine and rainbows for the healthcare industry when it comes to cloud computing. Because like everything else, this too has its sets of concerns.

Security Concerns

The most common concern is the possible security risk linking with cloud computing. A risk that is twice when one is dealing with highly sensitive patient data. This data is personal and therefore, needs to be safeguarded against external threats.
To do this, many have begun encrypting their data, using security keys of access, and even using blockchain to secure data present in the cloud.

Compliance To Security Norms

Healthcare data and any related applications need to comply with several data regulation laws such as HITECH and the GDPR. While this isn’t much of an issue, it still requires them to ensure that the cloud-hosted data is compliant with any legal regulations.

System Downtimes

The healthcare industry does not sleep or rest so therefore it can’t afford to have a moment of “downtime”; especially not from the cloud that is handling all of its data.
However, with a reliable medium such as the cloud, occasional downtimes are something you can’t avoid and are a part of reality.
Therefore, there is a need to create contingency plans beforehand and prepare to overcome any potential failures that might take place in case of downtime occurs. Designing for failure is in fact advocated as a best practice while building cloud applications.

Cloud Computing Future

Cloud computing systems are an absolute need of the hour of all hospitals. Healthcare facilities around the globe are changing with the advent of technology. Moreover, cloud storage gives a new outlook on how efficient our medical systems can become.

It has only taken its first few steps into the healthcare sector and it has quite a long way to go. However, with its ability to combine with rapidly evolving technologies such as AI, and Big Data analytics, we’re looking at an industry that is efficiently run and also has the potential for multiple avenues to streamlining healthcare delivery.
This, coupled with the increase in resource availability, and the boost to interoperability while cutting down on costs poses this technology as one that could have potential long-term benefits.

With numerous benefits and the potential for immense growth, cloud computing is here to stay!

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