How is cloud computing changing the healthcare industry?
Cloud computing is shaping our everyday lives and changing the healthcare industry. Microsoft, one of the industry leaders, defines cloud computing as, “the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (‘the cloud’) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.” We use cloud computing each day and increasingly more within the healthcare industry.
What are some benefits of using cloud computing in healthcare?
Cloud computing has many benefits in healthcare, not only for providers and hospitals but for patients as well. It can lower costs, increase productivity and speed, allow for telemedicine appointments, and gives patients control over their data.
Cloud computing lowers costs. With cloud computing, there is no server equipment to maintain. This eliminates the need for server maintenance expertise, time, and money. Cloud computing also offers no up-front cost associated with data storage. You only pay for the storage you use, saving hospitals and healthcare providers a great deal of money. Not only does cloud computing save you money, but it allows hospitals to scale. In healthcare, there are several pieces of patient data being submitted through electronic medical records systems, wearable health trackers, apps, and more. With cloud computing, all of this data can be stored in one place allowing providers to scale without spending heaps of money.
It increases productivity and speed. Instead of spending time on hardware setup, software maintenance, and other time-consuming activities required for on-site data centers, cloud computing houses the data for you. This allows healthcare organizations to focus on other important goals, like patient care. Cloud computing also provides organizations with faster self-service. Most of the time resources can be provisioned in just a few minutes. With cloud computing, Healthcare organizations no longer have to worry about and plan for capacity issues on their servers.
Cloud computing allows for telemedicine appointments. A huge benefit of using cloud computing is remote access to data, allowing for more accessibility to healthcare. Providers can see patients virtually for preventative care, treatment, and recovery, greatly improving patient outcomes.
It gives patients ownership over the data in their medical charts. Patient data is housed on the cloud server, so patients have easier access to it. This allows them to more easily participate in their care, make informed decisions, and be more engaged. Cloud computing is also a useful tool for patient education.
What are some concerns with cloud computing in healthcare?
While cloud computing has so many benefits, there are some barriers to adopting it in healthcare settings. There are security and compliance concerns, particularly with HIPAA, as well as concerns for potential downtimes in the system.
Security and compliance concerns with cloud computing. Hospitals and healthcare providers have to comply with several regulations, the most well-known one being HIPAA. Compliance extends to all data in medical records, including data that is hosted on the cloud. There is a potential security risk with housing data on the cloud. However, there are ways to mitigate the risk. Healthcare organizations can use data encryption and security keys to protect confidentially, HIPAA-protected data. Having a contingency plan for potential data breaches is also a way to help mitigate risk.
Preparing for potential downtimes. Even though cloud computing offers reliability, there can be occasional downtimes. Healthcare systems can plan for this ahead of time and be prepared for any potential failures or downtimes by having a contingency plan in place. This is the best practice when utilizing cloud-hosted data.
While there are several benefits to using cloud computing in the healthcare industry like improving access to healthcare for patients through telemedicine appointments, lower costs, and increased speed and productivity, there are some drawbacks. Security and data breach concerns paired with HIPAA and other regulatory compliance can be intimidating when determining whether or not your healthcare organization should switch to cloud computing. However, at FOGO solutions, we have everything you need to ensure a secure and smooth transition to cloud computing. We offer everything from the cybersecurity needed to ensure patient safety to the data storage and cloud itself. Our cybersecurity includes everything from employee training, email and internet filtering, to firewalls and antivirus software, and more. Our dependable cloud computing offers the latest technology while being cost-effective and secure. We offer the resiliency and scalability that your healthcare organization needs to be competitive. We take care of everything so that you can concentrate on things like providing high-quality patient care.