Healthcare is an industry fueled by the desire to manage people’s health and well-being. However, the majority of healthcare institutions have been a prey to the ever-increasing cyber-attacks, and large-scale data breaches.
These institutions are particularly wary of all their sensitive data such as patient health records, personal information, social security numbers and health insurance getting leaked as well as maintaining the privacy of patients.
Healthcare data is one of the sacred responsibilities of healthcare institutions. In such a scenario, hospitals, health systems, and integrated delivery networks are looking to public cloud resources and services to ensure better patient service along with foolproof data security.
According to a report by Hospital Management, many healthcare companies in the United States, Asia and Western Europe are focusing and investing in cloud computing. The interest of these organizations in cloud has collectively increased to 56% in 2022.
Public Cloud Strategies Reshaping Business Approach of Healthcare Institutions
Cloud technology usage is becoming prevalent in almost all industries at a rapid rate and has proven to be beneficial in the healthcare industry too.
With cloud computing solutions in place, we can now compare, contrast and analyze massive amounts of disparate types of data and promote trends that lead to insights on how to better treat people.
This allows for a new level of precision in medicine and treatment options reaching a wider range of patients.
Healthcare providers have started using cloud technology in order to keep their work simple and effective, cut costs and minimize their efforts on maintenance and support of their information systems.
Cloud service providers are offering healthcare organizations with an Internet-based alternative to traditional, costly internal server rooms.
As a popular IT model for hosting services for internal users, public cloud is gaining more traction in the healthcare sector for business continuity, disaster recovery, and payment reform initiatives. All this helps accomplish various targets of healthcare organizations.
According to a report by marketsandmarkets, cloud computing market share in global healthcare is estimated to reach around $89.4 billion by 2027 from $39.4 billion in 2022.
How is Cloud Changing Healthcare Infrastructure?
To store and manage patient medical data, automate their operations and be quick in providing reliable medical services, several health organizations have moved to public cloud.
Here are some of the justifications for the move to the public cloud and why every healthcare institution should follow it.
Data storage cost
Large initial outlays and a lot of physical space are needed to set up an on-premise data center that costs medical institutions a fortune. Hospitals also require a separate IT team to manage, update, and ensure that these gadgets aren’t overheating or getting exposed to radiation while being used in the medical facility.
With the help of public cloud, all of this data can be stored and accessed remotely and the infrastructure (such as data storage systems) can be entirely managed by the cloud provider, allowing hospitals to focus on patient care while reaping huge cost savings.
Data storage has evolved along with healthcare. Patient data was initially kept in files, then moved to local storage, and is currently kept on cloud servers. The data wasn’t secure under the older storage options, and they were prone to mishaps, thefts, and loss.
Cloud storage backs up your data and protects it against cybersecurity threats and ensures reliable and quick recovery from any disaster. It does so by encrypting your data, whether it’s at rest or in transit and monitors the activity on that data incessantly.
Data is also triple replicated and stored on multiple servers located at geographically discrete (and secure) locations.
Also Read: What is Public Cloud
Public cloud storage guarantees improved data availability since it regularly performs multiple data backups at physically separate Tier 3+ and Tier 4 data centers.
You don’t need to be concerned about how your internal storage infrastructure will be affected by local internet outages, power outages, security breaches, or local disasters.
According to the American Medical Association, one third of the misdiagnoses are due to lack of medical images, reports and medical history of the patient.
In the United States, this issue was addressed with the help of public cloud that stored data from over half a million medical diagnosis into one portal and was accessible to all the major healthcare organizations.
Cloud applications, in conjunction with mobile devices, are allowing doctors at rural practices to take X-rays, diagnose and treat patients, and even write prescriptions for them – all from their laptops.
Regular PCs can never match the speed of cloud computing in the long run unless they are upgraded regularly as physical hardware becomes outdated over time. It also takes huge investments to upgrade them regularly.
However, with public cloud, the cloud provider takes care of all the upgrades and updates to keep the systems as fast as possible at any given time.
With the use of public cloud, healthcare organizations can simply scale up or down their resources depending on the research requirement and patient count.
This provides accessibility to everyone by keeping exorbitant costs under control and allows users to adjust the computing power at their disposal when needed. This brings flexibility in daily operations and the easy sharing of information results in a more productive environment.
Cloud Computing is Revolutionizing the Healthcare Front
The cloud has been a major enabling technology which has forced healthcare organizations to adopt a new approach towards innovation, growth and in terms of the following aspects.
Data Privacy and Convenience
The cloud era is a major turning point in healthcare IT. For example, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are a highly beneficial application of cloud technology.
Patients get the privacy and convenience of online access, while medical practitioners enjoy both centralized data storage and streamlined data entry.
The medical community can use cloud-based patient data to make diagnoses more accurate. This leads to personalized treatments and improved outcomes for patients.
Technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning also help detect deadly diseases before they become life-threatening. Wearables with an ECG device can monitor your heart rate patterns and send reports so that doctors can diagnose you faster than ever before.
Medical research and Telemedicine
As cloud computing allows users to share access to computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet, these resources can be dynamically re-sized as per the requirements at any point of time, making cloud computing very useful for medical research.
Since the cloud is accessed using Internet connections, patients really do not have to travel anywhere in order to “be” at a lab or hospital. All they have to do is sit in their own home or office, and let their doctor examine them via video conferencing.
This not only opens up new avenues in medical research, but also saves patients the inconvenience of frequent trips to the hospital or lab, which are sometimes difficult to undertake because of health conditions.
Cancer Drug Development
Cancer research is driven by the desire to eliminate cancer and restore the health of the cancer patient. One of the problems facing cancer drug development and clinical trials of cancer drugs has to do with the huge computational needs involving vast amount of data.
Due to this demanding process and limited funding, conducting research and making new discoveries without affecting their quality is enormously challenging.
The goal of cloud computing in cancer drug discovery and development is to speed up the calculations involved in order to discover patterns and develop drugs, which should contribute to accelerating the elimination of cancer.
Efficiency Driven by Synergy in Data
To date, many healthcare apps and connected devices have only been able to send data to cloud-based apps and databases.
Implementing a real time, cloud-based infrastructure will be crucial for the development of unified healthcare systems that allow any device or application to seamlessly interact with one another.
The cloud allows users to access applications, files and media stored on remote servers, which can often be accessed through any device with an Internet connection.
Cloud computing also offers a solution by making it much easier to make all medical enterprise data accessible, portable and secure for authorized users.
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