Healthcare organizations strive to embrace new technologies, business practices, risk models, and services to accommodate the growing strain on the industry caused by several factors, such as the pandemic. Clinics serving large communities are turning their heads toward healthcare software providers looking for help to develop more affordable but high-quality solutions.
The objectives are relatable to any organization – cut operational costs, fortify cybersecurity, improve flexibility and scalability, and enhance data access management practices. That is where cloud computing in healthcare comes into the picture, helping clinics achieve those goals. But proper implementation of this technology requires unparalleled healthcare cloud data expertise. So how does the cloud address the healthcare industry’s challenges with a combination of the right software solutions and strong expertise? Read the article to find out.
What is Cloud Computing and What are Its Perks?
First of all, cloud computing is a relatively recent development closely intertwined with the advancement of the Internet. The term usually refers to the delivery of computing services or assets through the web: data storage, software, analytical tools, intelligence, servers, etc.
Cloud-based IT infrastructures have proven to be a reliable, more flexible, and cheaper alternative to on-premise ones. The advancements in such domains as cloud computing automation in healthcare also help cut redundant manual labor associated with provisioning and managing cloud environments. Cloud computing offers many vital benefits to businesses:
- High speed of deployment
- Automatic software updates and easy maintenance
- Efficiency and cost reduction
- Security of data and assets
- Scalability and flexibility
- Unlimited data storage capacity
- Back-ups and quick disaster recovery
- Fast access to data and team collaboration
These benefits are becoming more apparent to organizations across industries, and healthcare is no exception. But what are the real-life applications of cloud computing in healthcare?
Real-life Applications of Cloud Solutions for Healthcare
According to recent studies, the cloud computing market in healthcare is expected to grow to USD 71,730 million by 2027 compared to USD 33,390 million in 2022 at an annual growth rate of about 14.12%. The same study also reports the Electronic Health Record (EHR) segment will hold the largest market share, with the COVID-19 pandemic being the most substantial contributing factor.
EHR is just one of the cloud applications in the healthcare industry. That is because the technology can offer many solutions that might improve the quality of care for individual patients and boost the development of the industry as a whole. Let us have a look at some of the most common uses of cloud computing in healthcare.
EHR, PHR, EMR
EHR, Personal Health Record (PHR), and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) are data sets that can be accessed and managed by multiple healthcare organizations or providers, patients, or a single hospital respectively. Cloud computing helps to secure that data and establish customized access protocols, so the right people access the right data.
Cloud technology can also be used for communication and information, which allows for complex infrastructures that facilitate interactions between clinical staff and patients.
Patients often engage in help groups that unite people who suffer from similar diseases as a part of their self-care routine. That way, people can find some solace, gain or share their knowledge, and communicate with other people. The SaaS medical management system allows clinics to host and manage online groups, chats, forums, and even conferences.
Clinics utilize cloud-powered Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manage their daily operations. An improved accounting, resource planning, and inventory management can cut the clinic’s costs and enhance healthcare organizations’ overall quality of services.
Healthcare organizations can also apply cloud technology for more efficient drug testing and discovery, population health management, medical education platforms, healthcare information systems, and more. With such a wide range of uses, it might seem like the cloud is a panacea that can solve nearly any healthcare problem these days. But how exactly does the cloud solve the significant challenges of the industry?
The 4 Ways Cloud Computing Solves the Challenges of Healthcare System
We have discussed the general benefits of cloud computing and the applications of this technology within clinical environments. But what key factors make cloud adoption vital specifically for the healthcare industry? There are four ways in which the cloud reshapes the industry we would like to point out.
Cut Costs on Infrastructure Setup and Maintenance
Medical organizations use, store, and process immense amounts of data collected from an increasing number of sources daily. Keeping all of that data on physical storage requires constant investment in new data infrastructure and its maintenance, which does not come cheap. Cloud storages are much cheaper, can be scaled up and down, and they do not require a considerable upfront investment.
High data infrastructure cost is undesirable for any organization. An ever-increasing amount of data will only heighten the demand for robust and scalable data storage spaces. The traditional server rooms (physical storage) will hardly cut it, especially considering the cost of maintaining such a space.
Most cloud service providers like Azure or AWS use a pay-as-you-go cooperation model, which cuts the upfront cost of investing in the cloud infrastructure. Apart from not paying for the physical storage and server room space maintenance, you do not have to waste a single dollar on things you do not need.
Each cloud infrastructure is unique. So, if you are trying to build a SaaS medical management system, you may need a specific set of cloud services. With the help of a reliable cloud development partner, you can select the services you need, set up a cloud infrastructure that corresponds to your business needs, and pay just for that and nothing more. The cost-saving opportunities here are the following:
Increase Productivity Through Accessibility of Data
Clinics are complex organizations, and patient treatment is a challenging process that often requires cooperation between different healthcare professionals. An efficient data transition from one person to another might be the key to delivering proper care. Conveying relevant patient data between doctors and nurses and insufficient data practices can hinder other clinical staff.
Having data in the cloud allows you to facilitate a smooth data transition between stakeholders and ensure much more efficient cooperation between them. With a smooth data flow, you can quickly transfer the patients between different stages of treatment and hospital administration. From consultation to treatment, payments, and insurance information, all of that can be stored in the cloud and accessed by the responsible clinical staff in seconds.
From the patient’s point of view, cloud computing can improve access to healthcare services through telehealth services. Also, a SaaS medical management system can help patients connect with their doctors throughout post-hospitalization care.
Since data and document sharing have become much simpler and more convenient, cloud computing ultimately improves medical team collaboration and increases the overall efficiency of the clinics. Apart from that, patients can now access their doctors from the comfort of their homes. The increased efficiency of cooperation between the clinical staff and the patients improves their engagement, making the treatment more convenient.
Secure Healthcare Cloud Computing Architecture
Modern healthcare technologies rely on big data analytics, health-related information, and patient engagement. On the one hand, you get such benefits as more accessible, efficient, and personalized care. On the other hand, you have increased security and compliance risks.
Patient data is private and sensitive, and keeping that data secure becomes much more complicated when dealing with an increasing number of stakeholders and unreliable storage. In addition, if you have many connected devices, you face a problem with IoT security, which can also be vulnerable to external threats.
Any software dealing with patient data must comply with relevant security standards like HIPAA. That calls for the respective level of quality put into the architecture. Cloud can offer much higher security standards for data storage than on-premise systems. It offers superior data security when put in the hands of skilled developers with profound healthcare cloud data expertise. It also becomes easier to configure the architecture in such a way as to make it compliant with regional and international security standards.
Scale Your Infrastructure Fast and Easy
Healthcare is a dynamic industry influenced by global and regional events and technological innovation. Clinical IT systems need to be flexible enough to meet the ever-changing requirements of the industry as well as the increasing patient demands. Recent global events, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, have shown how vulnerable clinics are to the overwhelming changes and a rapid increase in patient flow.
With a drastic and rapidly increasing number of patients, healthcare organizations had to adapt their IT systems to the new challenges. With good healthcare cloud data expertise, clinics can quickly adjust to changing demands by scaling up and down according to ongoing trends. Can on-premise IT infrastructure be scaled too? It can, but it would take much longer and high costs if needed.
When the influx of patients increases rapidly, you cannot afford to lose precious time buying and setting up new data storage units on-premise. You need speed and affordability, and cloud computing gives you precisely that. Storing and processing the increasing amounts of patient data in the cloud enables clinics to operate more efficiently.
Cloud computing opens some possibilities to businesses across industries. Manufacturing, fintech, retail, you name it, all of these industries rely heavily on adopting new technology, fast acquisition and use of data, and reliable and secure data management. Healthcare is one industry that benefits from utilizing the cloud the most. There are numerous applications of cloud computing in healthcare, and it solves numerous critical challenges in the industry.
With a timely adoption of the cloud and a partner offering solid healthcare cloud data expertise, you can cut the cost of your IT infrastructure, scale it fast, make it secure, and increase the organization’s efficiency.