The migration to the cloud has been increasing steadily since the previous decade. Every industry that adopted cloud computing has reported a significant boost in efficiency, revenues, and sustainability. The same holds for healthcare. Cloud computing in healthcare has been a game-changer for the entire industry. Hospitals with data stored on-premises often grapple with a lack of relevant IT expertise in managing the databases of various departments. As a result, some data siloes lead to inefficient electronic data exchange and slower administrative operations. These problems were exacerbated during the pandemic, which overwhelmed healthcare providers and highlighted the need for cloud healthcare solutions.
Challenges in Healthcare that The Cloud Can Solve
The problems mentioned above often directly impact the quality of care that the hospital can deliver. But a healthcare cloud-based SaaS solution can lead to implementing a suite of integrated healthcare solutions. Healthcare cloud solutions aggregate all the siloed organizational data and make access to it seamless. In doing so, they overcome a major hurdle posed by data stored on-premises. Let’s look at some examples where a healthcare cloud can solve pertinent problems –
1. Data Security
This is perhaps one of the most important benefits of cloud computing in healthcare. Cyberattacks have increased in frequency, as patient data has become a desired target. A significant majority of cyberattacks are successful due to human negligence. But data stored on HIPAA compliant solutions for cloud healthcare is less prone to human error and is backed up easily. In case of data loss, secure cloud backups can be used to ensure continuity of operations without costly restorations. Moreover, it also eliminates the need to have a dedicated IT team on-premises to manage the database.
2. Data Management
Health data has been growing at a staggering rate every year. This growth is because of IoT-powered wearables that collect a person’s vitals in real-time. As patient data grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for hospitals to store and manage it on-premises.
On the other hand, cloud computing applications in healthcare can engender superior medical records management practices. By streamlining the entire workflow of access, updating, retrieving information, providers and non-clinical staff have an easier time managing patient data. Also, organizations need not spend money on hardware to achieve scale. Moreover, artificial intelligence or machine learning-driven healthcare analytics solutions can accurately assess health information and predict outcomes. By analyzing a people’s medical history and prescriptions, persons at higher risk can be identified sooner, leading to better healthcare management.
Problems in healthcare interoperability among different systems make it difficult for providers to retrieve patient data, which might endanger a patient’s well-being during emergencies. But a cloud medical software would go a long way in bringing down barriers to interoperability.
Additionally, it is easier to integrate third-party medical applications into Healthcare cloud computing applications for electronic health records. In other words, providers can use a practice management platform, along with a patient engagement system, and still access medical histories with a few clicks while also looking over appointment schedules and accounts.
This is a major win for providers that are made possible by incorporating cloud computing and healthcare into existing workflows.
Benefits of Cloud Solutions For Healthcare
Let’s talk about the benefits derived from cloud computing and healthcare –
1. Patient-Facing Solutions
While it’s easy to talk about the benefits of cloud computing systems for hospitals, there are numerous advantages for patients. Cloud-hosted telehealth platforms enable patients to connect with physicians remotely and avoid missing consultations in case of travel restrictions.
Although telehealth had arrived many years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic increased its usage exponentially. Doctors could see patients virtually and still pull up health records to make informed medical decisions from their homes or traveling.
Additionally, wearable medical technology gathers health data in real-time and stores it in a secure healthcare cloud. Doctors can access this information to check if there might be any emergencies lurking around the corner. In other words, a blend of healthcare and cloud computing has ushered in a new era of remote patient monitoring and proactive clinical intervention. The ability to gather real-time patient data outside clinical environments enables impactful population health management measures to be implemented.
2. Patient Data Analytics
A compelling but unseen advantage of cloud computing platforms for healthcare is the ability to run analytics seamlessly. In other words, providers can leverage the latest in medical informatics to obtain insights into patient care. Artificial intelligence-driven Healthcare automation enables health data to be analyzed for identifying early signs of impending disease. In other words, providers can run analytics on medical histories and ongoing treatments of individual patients to get a clearer picture of their health situation. This allows a more customized approach to managing chronic conditions, which have had better success in patient outcomes.
3. Greater Access to Quality Care
It’s no secret that there’s huge inequity in the access to quality care, even in developed countries. The United States is no exception, and the level of care available to distant rural communities is a far cry from what’s there for people in urban locations. However, the alliance of cloud computing and healthcare offers an exciting solution to this problem. It was also made evident by the pandemic. Cloud-based platforms for telehealth and patient engagement, coupled with those for medical imagery, can connect rural communities with specialists countrywide.
A person living in a semi-urban location may not need to travel far to see a specialist. He can get medical testing and imagery done at a local center, the results of which can be accessed through the cloud by a specialist across the country. Subsequently, the results can be interpreted, and the appropriate treatment is prescribed. In other words, quality care is accessible countrywide through cloud computing and healthcare.
The Role of 5G In The Future Of Cloud Computing And Healthcare Services
5G represents the next generation of wireless connectivity. It means that large data sets can be transmitted much faster and more reliable. With medical wearables generating more health data than ever, coupled with the growing popularity of telehealth and RPM, 5G can revolutionize care delivery. Information such as test results, medical exams, and imaging stored on healthcare clouds can be quickly transferred to providers in remote locations.
In other words, healthcare cloud computing could enable specialists from across the country to collaborate on the tough case and achieve better outcomes. The same holds for medical research and drug discovery. If made possible on a global scale, it’s nothing short of a revolution in healthcare.
Cloud computing and healthcare together hold the key to unlocking exciting new trends in medical science. They offer better data security, accessibility, and scalability while still cost-effective. By connecting distant providers with patients and other experts, the cloud has the potential to chip away at the problem of unequal access to care. The future of healthcare looks bright with clouds on the horizon.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.