Sep 12 2019

5 Things Made Possible in Healthcare Thanks to the Cloud

From streamlining workflows to cost savings, cloud computing is changing the game for clinicians and patients.

From availability and accessibility of data to its virtually endless scalability, the cloud offers an array of benefits for the healthcare industry.

And despite initial concerns regarding security and data privacy, the adoption of cloud in healthcare is largely flourishing, with proper safeguards in place to ensure integrity of patient data. According to Global Market Insights, the worldwide healthcare cloud computing market is poised to surpass $55 billion by 2025 — roughly a $48 billion increase from 2018.

Healthcare organizations have directly benefited from cloud adoption thanks to the many capabilities it offers. Here are five ways they’re putting the cloud to good use:

1. Effective Data Security

There’s no question that healthcare organizations need enhanced security measures that meet compliance standards and protect sensitive patient data. As hackers increasingly target medical records, Nutanix reports that the industry is moving toward hybrid cloud solutions — which offer the benefits of both private and public cloud — to attain “optimum flexibility and the ability to move applications between private and public clouds.”

“As a healthcare organization, we’re responsible for managing critical clinical and IT applications such as EHR and PACS as well as making sure we have an infrastructure that is secure and scalable to support changing needs such as hybrid cloud-based disaster recovery,” Dave Lehr, CIO of Anne Arundel Medical Center, shares in a Nutanix press release. “We knew that the right hyperconverged infrastructure would allow us to manage these workloads on a single, cost-effective solution.”

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Hybrid cloud strategies offer healthcare organizations agility and control.

2. Decreased Data Storage Costs

Hosting on-premises data centers not only requires an upfront investment in hardware but comes with ongoing costs of maintaining the servers, physical spaces and cooling solutions.

“Cloud solutions are very beneficial from the standpoint that as you migrate data, you don't need to maintain your own datasets which can be costly and expensive,” Forward Health Group CTO Jeff Thomas tells HITInfrastructure. “[M]aintaining datasets on-site can also be expensive in that it takes up real estate which can sometimes be used for something else.”

By managing the orchestration, structure and maintenance of cloud data storage services, cloud computing solution vendors can help reduce healthcare organizations’ data storage costs and allow them to focus their efforts on caring for their patients.

3. Improved Collaboration

A rapid adoption of collaboration tools has the potential to make a positive impact on healthcare teams and leadership. The cloud-based software behind these tools — such as enterprise messaging and video communications — helps improve the clinician workflow for improved patient care, no matter how far away a provider may be located. 

“Moving to the cloud for our communications was the best decision we’ve made, as we’re now connected with our patients and colleagues whether we are in the office, at home or traveling overseas,” Dr. Ravi Patel, the founder of the Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center, said in a RingCentral press release.


4. Integrated and Efficient Patient Care

The implementation of cloud storage for electronic health records has helped streamline collaborative patient care, making it easier for clinicians to access patient information. 

Web-based software also makes it possible for physicians, staff and patients to utilize mobile health applications and access patient portals to receive important health information, such as lab results, from any location.

“With EHRs, every provider can have the same accurate and up-to-date information about a patient,” the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology states on its website. “Better care coordination can lead to better quality of care and improved patient outcomes.”

DISCOVER: How the cloud will transform health IT.

5. Enhanced Medical Research

Similar to how cloud computing enables healthcare organizations to capitalize on their data, digitizing healthcare information through cloud-based data storage can also benefit medical researchers. 

UCLA Health is employing Microsoft Azure cloud services to do just that. The academic medical center is exploiting its healthcare data for precision medicine and to further medical research.

“By connecting health data and systems in the cloud in an interoperable way, we’re excited we can help advance healthcare data for more efficient and personalized care,” Peter Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft Healthcare, tells HITInfrastructure.

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