Cloud-based services are steadily becoming more widely adopted by healthcare organizations. The past year alone has seen a surge of interest regarding the potential of cloud computing with many players set to start moving healthcare-related applications across to cloud platforms in the coming months.
The accelerating migration to cloud computing represents a change for the way the healthcare industry sources its information technology (IT). But will this shift affect other areas of healthcare? According to Accenture, the answer to that question is “yes.”
Healthcare is moving to a digital platform, becoming more patient-centered and data-driven. Large international players such as Microsoft, Qualcomm Life, Philips, Verizon and AT&T have launched cloud-based vertical solutions aimed at the healthcare sector, and the global trend is that cloud solutions are supporting greater sharing and accessibility of health data.
Medical imaging is one of the most prolific uses of cloud in healthcare. By using a cloud solution for storing and sharing large data files involved in medical imaging saves hospitals, physicians and other organizations in health care costs while boosting speed and efficiency.
Widening access to health care means companies need greater agility to adapt to change at high speed and low cost, and cloud computing can solve this. The demand to reach, engage and manage millions of individual end-customers calls for more powerful systems. At the same time, this flood of patient data needs to be securely shared with healthcare providers.
Electronic Medical Record Integration
With recent changes to HIPAA and an increased demand for more control over health data, the adoption of electronic medical record systems has emerged as a top priority within the industry. The largest driver for EMR adoption, however, remains to be government incentive schemes aimed at the deployment of healthcare IT.
To meet the growing demand, EMR applications and technologies such as secure text messaging are increasingly moving to SaaS delivery models.
Regulation is pushing the industry towards storage, collaboration and sharing in the cloud.
Security within the Cloud
With the move towards electronic medical records, the cloud opens up the prospect of patient health information flowing throughout the world. Security concerns such as the risk of unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information can be addressed by the right combination of currently available cloud provider security capabilities and third-party security products and services.
Cloud computing can help secure data shared between different parties through encryption and tokenization of data at rest, in transit and in process. Healthcare providers will need to define the security responsibilities between the tenant and cloud vendors.
Entering a New Era
As healthcare companies consider the opportunities and risks surrounding cloud computing, they can be sure their competitors are now evaluating cloud solutions, and quite possibly, adopting them.
The healthcare industry’s migration to cloud is inevitable; it’s only a matter of time before all healthcare organizations embrace cloud computing.