Cloud computing has experienced immense popularity in the healthcare industry. In the past few years, the implementation of cloud technology within the healthcare industry has been increasing at a frantic pace. The global market for cloud technologies in the healthcare industry is expected to grow in the future and the COVID-19 pandemic has only strengthened this trend.
While most industries are being impacted due to the ongoing pandemic, not all industries are being impacted in a negative way, with some segments even experiencing promising growth. The healthcare and technology sectors seemingly fall under this category, sparking incredible promise for the future of the global healthcare and cloud computing market.
Social distancing has become the new normal and as a result, healthcare professionals have had to redefine the way they conduct doctor-patient interactions, and niche technologies like telehealth are developing at an exponential rate.
This new normal, coupled with changes in patient expectations and new payment models, has led to the transformation of technology as a crucial aspect in improving patient care, increasing efficiency and reducing waste, without compromising on patient safety.
Let’s look at a few key aspects of cloud computing and understand how it supports the efforts to improve patient care while reducing costs.
1 – Collaboration
Healthcare institutions are shifting towards value-based care payment methods. As a result, it requires collaboration between doctors, departments and even institutions. Medical personnel can share and access data between each other through a centralized cloud computing server, increasing cooperation for better treatment and diagnosis.
2 – Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
In healthcare, the use of AI can, at times, be intimidating. But with the tight schedule of medical professionals – especially now due to the pandemic – and due to the complexity and reliance on data, AI and machine learning applications have become a crucial solution to support and enhance clinical decisions as well as facilitating a faster time-to-treatment.
As cloud platforms are ideal for integrating AI and ML applications, cloud computing can support the transition of artificial intelligence into mainstream healthcare operations and enable users to manage massive volumes of data.
3 – Data Storage
Healthcare providers need to be able to handle electronic medical records, patient portals, mobile apps, and big data analytics. That adds up to a lot of data to handle and process, and most in-house equipment is not able to store it.
Cloud computing enables healthcare institutions to store all that data without incurring the extra costs of purchasing and maintaining physical servers.
4 – Scalability
Different from conventional self-hosted models, cloud computing provides healthcare professionals with the flexibility to increase or decrease their data storage on demand, depending on the patient’s inflow or outflow.
This allows healthcare institutions to adapt their technology to seasons when they experience the most traffic like flu seasons, where the number of patients increases. Cloud computing allows healthcare institutions to scale the technological capacity without wasting money or time and with the latest hardware and software updates.
5 – Cost
Like every other industry, healthcare institutions also operate on tight budgets. This means that they have to focus their efforts on providing care and medication to patients rather than focusing solely on innovation.
As cloud computing functions under a subscription-based model, healthcare providers can save costs related to purchasing expensive systems and equipment. Additionally, by adopting a cloud server, healthcare institutions can also significantly decrease expenses by using the resources provided by cloud computing providers.
6 – Security
One of the key concerns when discussing cloud computing is the question of security. How secure is it to store all applications and patient data on a third-party server? Especially when institutions have to follow regulatory frameworks for the protection of personal data, for secure data portability and safeguarding sensitive information.
But when it is well managed, cloud computing servers help to increase the security of healthcare providers. When we consider on-premises solutions, if there is an equipment failure, medical institutions might end up losing all their applications and data. A potential breach is something that healthcare institutions cannot afford to take a chance on.
Cloud computing doesn’t just provide users access to information remotely, as it includes automation of backups and also offers disaster recovery options but in the case of a breach healthcare providers do not lose any data and can significantly reduce the downtime for their staff in the event of a breach or loss of data.
Nowadays, cloud computing providers offer security, risk management as well as monitoring services to protect their users from unauthorized access and breaches. It all depends on the type of cloud service and what they provide.