Cloud services are progressively altering the manner in which health practitioners and healthcare organizations deliver quality, cost-effective services to their patients.
Just as the global trend in technology shows many institutions moving to the e-platform, the demand for cloud technologies in the healthcare sector is also steadily increasing.
This is because doctors, research clinics as well as private and public healthcare facilities are considering alternatives to traditional patient care and documentation in order to expand the services provided to their patients, improve facilities’ capacities, disseminate relevant information easily and timely, and to reduce operational costs.
The following diagram illustrates the cloud services data flow in the healthcare sector:
Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
The benefits of cloud computing in healthcare are as follows:
Mobility of records
Many physicians believe that it is easier to collaborate and offer patient care as a team. Occasionally, a patient’s medical information is needed by two or more healthcare facilities.
Similarly, scientists at research laboratories may need to compare findings and other research data with each other from remote locations. Medical organizations can combine these technologies and easily share industry data to create even more comprehensive big data pools for industry stakeholders to learn from larger and more complex systems. The cloud platform’s streamlined synchronization of data among users facilitates information sharing and collaboration.
Cloud-based services facilitate faster access to all the vital information regarding an institution’s medical services. Using cloud services to manage patient data in real-time allows healthcare providers to fully utilize the speed of the cloud platform for medical research , referral generation, trend-spotting, and more personalized healthcare.
Furthermore, in the same manner that cloud computing makes it possible for doctors to treat their patients in a better way and more quickly, the cloud makes it possible via storing and sharing data to speed-up the research process.
Security and privacy
In the healthcare sector, cloud computing services mainly comprise the storage of medical records online. Accordingly, data encryption and secure backup of this highly sensitive, personalized data is a key focus of the cloud service providers.
Reduction of costs
The need to minimize costs in healthcare industry is a significant driver for the adoption of cloud computing. When medical practitioners migrate to a cloud-based system, there is no need for them to invest in costly hardware infrastructure and recurring maintenance because these issues are already taken care of by the cloud computing providers.
The cloud makes it possible to not only hold more information but also to do it at a lower cost.
Challenges of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
The challenges of cloud computing in healthcare are as follows :
Before healthcare practitioners and medical practitioners can realize the benefits of cloud computing, the following issues must be addressed:
Considering all the sensitive data held by the healthcare organizations, cloud computing security concerns are genuine. Despite the potential benefits of cloud computing in e-health services, security problems have become more complex in the cloud models and require additional investments to implement data management in policies.
Vendor stability and compatibility
Another big concern is whether particular technologies and cloud service providers will still be around in the future.
If a cloud provider becomes insolvent down the road, critical data may be lost leading to catastrophe. Cloud clients must makes sure cloud services are compatible with their organization’s existing IT infrastructure and assess a particular vendor’s cloud platform to see if the data can be easily migrated to another cloud provider if circumstances call for it.
As more organizations migrate to the cloud, there is high demand for IT professionals with cloud computing skills. Accordingly, the costs of hiring and maintaining cloud system experts may prove to be costly even though it may be less exorbitant than contracting outside help.