bigdata-weatherThe word ‘cloud’ is mainly used as a metaphor for the internet. Hence, cloud computing refers to internet-based computing. The technology mainly relies on sharing computer resources instead of personal devices or local servers to handle applications.

When we speak of the internet we don’t really mean uploading files on ‘yahoo groups’ or ‘Google communities’ in order to share information with a group of people. In essence, cloud computing means humungous data storage space and resources used by small and large enterprises.

As an individual, you may not be aware of, or interested in, the kind of data processing that happens on the other end, but as a large corporation operating in the healthcare industry, it is advisable to have in-depth knowledge about the technical aspect of data storage, especially when it comes to advances in medicine and medgadgets.

HIMSS Analytics’ recent survey of cloud computing adoption in healthcare provider organisations shows that 83% of IT executives report they are using cloud services today, with SaaS-based applications being the most popular (66.9%).

Therefore, cloud computing can impact health institutions in numerous ways.

When considering moving to cloud computing, healthcare organisations must have a clear understanding of the unique benefits and risks associated with cloud computing, and set realistic expectations of their cloud provider.

If you’re one of those corporations that is considering an upgrade to cloud computing but are still unsure of the effects it may have on healthcare processes and your institution as a whole, then you might want to keep on reading.

This article will guide you on the possible impact of cloud computing on the healthcare industry.

1. Quick access to information

Cloud computing offers significant benefits to health institutions that demand quick access to computing and large storage facilities which are not easy to accommodate in traditional settings.

Moreover, healthcare data needs to be shared and accessed over long distances which can further burden the healthcare provider, causing delays in patient diagnosis and treatment.

Cloud caters to all these requirements thus providing  healthcare organisations an incredible opportunity to improve services for their patients, to share information more easily than ever before, and improve operational efficiency as well.

2. Improved clinical research

Many pharmacology vendors are starting to tap the cloud to improve research when it comes to drug development. The ‘explosion of data’ from next generation sequencing as well as the growing importance of biologics in the research process is making cloud-based computing an increasingly important element of research and development in health institutions.

Although currently, pharma firms may not possess the capacity to run large datasets – especially DNA sequencing – as the size of the data can be immensely large for their computers, but commercial cloud vendors have devised pharma-specific clinical research cloud offerings with the aim of lowering the cost associated with the development of new drugs.

3. Safety of patients’ records

Patient’s information is considered to be ‘highly confidential’ in every hospital and clinic. One of the main barriers associated with cloud computing is security from hackers or anyone attempting to gain access to that information illegally.

Data usually preserved in a cloud contains personal, private or confidential information that requires foolproof security to prevent disclosure, compromise or misuse.

Globally, concerns related to data jurisdiction, security, privacy and compliance are impacting cloud computing adoption by healthcare organisations.

However in modern times, many experts have joined hands to make the system really difficult to break into.

Healthcare organisations can be assured that there are increased levels of security and privacy in the cloud.

4. Lesser risks of data loss

Cloud computing applications for healthcare with their constant upgrades are creating an opportunity for increased security of data.

Cloud computing can perform upgrades without any downtime and possible data loss in real time. This matches the proficiency prerequisite of health institutions to run and access their network at any time of the day. Healthcare workers are using some of the best home health software for uploading patient notes, rostering, live new client reports, and more, all in a secure way.

5. Making use of telemedicine

With the wide accessibility of portable advancements and intelligent medical gadgets, telemedicine has developed to incorporate tele-interviews and tele-surgeries, as well as health record exchange, video-conferencing, and home checking.

Cloud computing is an empowering agent for telemedicine which can help with healthcare at hospitals and clinics.

6. Technical Problems

Much the same as any other technology, different issues might arise with the cloud computing framework at work.

Unfortunately, when the cloud breaks down, health centres essentially lose everything, which means hospitals and clinics won’t be able to participate in many of their day-to-day activities.

Hence, it is vital that the organisation have some kind of backup plan set up, so they are able to access the information in case of an emergency.

Since a backup plan is needed, many organisations may conclude that investing in cloud computing may not be worth it, despite any potential benefits to pay for any new equipment or programming.

As the world is quick evolving, at the heart of this change are cloud innovations that are being acknowledged tremendously by the healthcare industry.

Medicinal experts now can share and advance data among others in comparative fields and in different locations.

There is no doubt that considering the potential of cloud computing, it could very much prove to be a game-changer for the industry with its service offerings, operating models, capabilities and end-user services.

With cloud computing, the challenges faced in the healthcare industry in the management of medical information, storing data, retrieving data or accessing it could be diminished to a huge extent or eliminated entirely.

The post is by Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice and she loves to discover and lives in the world around her. Find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell


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