The post-pandemic situation has impacted the way people consume medical services. Experienced the benefits of remote format, customers expect the care to be fast, convenient, and accessible where needed. As healthcare goes digital, providers start looking for technology solutions to simplify entrance to medical history while affirming solid data reliability. And this is where cloud computing in healthcare comes into play.
This technology makes EHRs sharing easier and automates in-clinics operations. All the corporate data and clients’ records are saved in the cloud repository, so they’re accessible from anywhere. As a result, it’s easy for doctors to discuss results with colleagues and keep better track of patients’ recovery. In addition, the info is safely stored in the centralized set of data centers and won’t get lost in case of a server breakdown.
Look through this post to learn more about healthcare cloud computing, its opportunities for healthcare organizations, challenges to consider, and implementation steps.
The significance of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
It’s pretty challenging to understand how this or that technology can be applied for industry-specific needs without knowing anything about it. Thus, let’s start with the basics, namely cloud computing meaning, before proceeding to the details.
Cloud computing submits scalable tech capabilities that are given as a service over the web to multiple users. This technology allows healthcare providers to exchange shared resources (e.g., medical records, emails, lab results, faxes), minimizing inner infrastructure costs and resulting in greater operational efficiency. Traditional IT entails large data centers and servers that are power-hungry, require purchasing hardware, 24/7 supervision, as well as strict compliance with environmental standards.
Healthcare organizations may have tons of these data points executing identical tasks. In contrast, cloud computing for healthcare can be considered an eco-friendly option making it possible to avoid duplicated efforts and utilize the computing power more profitably. This technology is also known for its scalability, implying you can enlarge storage and processing capacity on demand.
Cloud Computing In Healthcare: Use Cases
Many businesses, such as banking, supply chain, and real estate, already make use of cloud computing solutions. Here are some examples of how the healthcare domain can benefit from the cloud.
- Emails: Healthcare facilities deal with a significant number of emails that should be processed. Purchasing hardware for on-premise email servers is a costly and time-restraint solution. Implementing cloud computing enables fast letter processing from multiple devices. Besides, medical staff can send essential info to the patients on the go.
- Cloud-based EMR/EHR software: Doctors can utilize the software on any Internet-connected device. All the info is kept in the cloud, allowing physicians to keep working on users’ medical records wherever needed (even in offline mode). Moreover, the healthcare industry is a tidbit for hackers, so it’s risky to accumulate all the data in a local warehouse. No one is immune from concerns such as server failure or data breaches due to cyber attacks. Cloud computing in healthcare lays the ground for solid medical information security.
- Inventory management software: Healthcare storage managers have the ability to order, purchase and save in their warehouses the necessary healthcare equipment and tools according to the needs of the clinic’s operation.
- Faxes: Despite the growing adoption of telehealth solutions, some clinics still rely on fax technology, as it’s a solid and secure communication tool. Migrating fax-connected functions to the private cloud means you can access critical data on the way and in a bit of time.
How Healthcare Businesses Can Gain From Cloud Computing
Simplified data accessibility to patients
Cloud solutions enable medical records accessibility in a few clicks. Instead of finding time to visit clinics or waiting in a long line, patients can easily view their treatment plan or lab results; it allows them to make more informed health-related decisions. Moreover, storing the data in the cloud reduces its chances of being lost. The reasons for data loss range from loss of access to data deletion and info modifications. Cloud solutions imply automation of backups and disaster recovery options; these features enable preventing information leaks.
Optimized business expenses
Here’s a common problem that organizations across all industries face: how to find a proper balance of costs and quality solutions. Cloud warehouses can store a broad range of data (derived from multiple apps, patient portals, and wearable devices) for an affordable price. Cloud technology can significantly lower your in-house infrastructure expenditure and other administrative costs. Such solutions work with a subscription business model, which means you’re only charged for the services/storage used.
Growing in Telemedicine
The accessibility of cloud computing in healthcare opens significant opportunities for telehealth app development. Cloud-based healthcare solutions allow for secure medical records sharing, easy traceability, enhanced interoperability, and ensure on-the-go patient access to insurance plans. Moreover, some telehealth solutions, for example, remote patient tracking apps, must provide direct-to-cloud connectivity for medical IoT devices to enable patient monitoring remotely.
Pitfalls of Integrating Cloud Computing for Healthcare
As you’ve noticed, there are some significant reasons to implement cloud computing in healthcare. However, advanced solutions are always associated with challenges you should be ready for.
Medical facilities deal with a vast number of sensitive info, including diagnosis, lab results, and financial status. Hence, they experience challenges adhering to enhanced malicious attacks and data leakage. Therefore, before migrating your IT systems to the cloud, provide at least basic security measures to protect personal and business records. Here are some points to consider:
- Legislative compliance
- End-to-end data encryption
- Self-examination every time system is modified
- Personnel education
All healthcare and telemedicine platforms should be deployed under specific regulation laws and standards. They dictate the criteria for gathering and processing personally identifiable user data. Keeping confidential records in the cloud databases, you should also ensure adherence to country-specific legislations, such as HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, HiTeHT, etc.
Being a large-scale distributed system, cloud platforms are prone to unpredictable failure. Therefore, it’s essential to have an action plan in place in case of emergencies to quickly address issues with damaged or unavailable corporate systems to prevent interruptions in the clinic’s workflow. Even if it never takes place, you must be prepared to ensure a flawless employee/client experience.
How to Initiate Cloud Computing in Healthcare
After considering all the advantages and challenges of cloud computing for healthcare, let’s discuss the implementation steps more precisely.
1. Define business needs
Firstly, you need to understand the implementation goals: the implementation goals: and why you want to add cloud technology to your business processes. For instance, you may want to enhance data security, reduce operational costs, manage compliances, and more. Then, in parallel with these goals, you’ll be able to set up a list of requirements that help you accomplish these objectives. Moreover, knowing your final aims increase the chances of getting a solution matching your unique corporate needs. This way, your tech partner won’t spend time trying to understand what you want; they will work on project realization.
2. Decide what should be migrating to the cloud first
There may be little chance to transfer everything into the cloud. Successful cloud technology implementation depends on evaluating your current business processes and deciding what operations require the improvements first. Start with identifying blockages that slow down your back office processes and restrain the quality of medical services. For example, it can be outmoded EHR software that hinders under raised loads.
3. Plan your budget
Although cloud migration gains many benefits to medical facilities, everything ultimately turns to money. Therefore, it’s critical to properly plan your project development budget to succeed. This way, you’ll understand whether your company is ready for such spending or not. The main costs will account for payments to a chosen software development company. When looking for an implementer, pay attention to their expertise and what tech stack they work with; thus, you’ll be ensured that you get a relevant project at the output.
4. Find a reliable tech partner
This stage implies selecting a dedicated team that helps you incorporate cloud technology into your business workflow. When looking for a provider, you can hire freelancers, recruit in-house specialists, or cooperate with near/offshore vendors. The final choice will reckon on your budget and personal preferences. For example, dealing with independent contractors is risky due to the features of working with confidential medical data. The only benefit of in-house experts is physical proximity to the team, which implies faster and more straightforward communication. Finally, outsourcing tasks to an IT outsourcing agency combines security, reliability, and an excellent price-quality ratio.
Cloud computing is actively progressive in popularity, so this trend cannot be overlooked. How fast healthcare organizations integrate this technology depends on the business’s profitability in the long run.
Yuliya Melnik is a technical writer at Cleveroad, a web, and mobile app development company. She is passionate about innovative technologies that make the world a better place and loves creating content that evokes vivid emotions.