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Healthcare in the Cloud August 6, 2015

Technologies in the healthcare IT industry are converging with time and are far out pacing the legacy systems used by hospitals and healthcare providers. Cloud technology offers a replacement for these legacy systems  with easier and faster access to this data as defined by the way it is stored (i.e. public, private or hybrid). Cloud computing brings significant benefits to the healthcare sector.

Cloud computing will “enable healthcare related businesses to adapt their business models; develop new capabilities quickly and cost-effectively; and connect, collaborate and share information with more flexibly.” [1]

With a need for mobile healthcare expansion, cloud computing helps ensure seamless, personalized healthcare anywhere in the world, through ubiquitous and secure data sharing. Cloud computing supports the worldwide move towards Electronic Health Records (EHRs) by opening up the prospect of patients’ digitized health information (medical histories, scan images, blood types, allergies,  etc.) flowing freely across the world, accessible via secure authentication to people authorized by the patient.

Cloud computing caters to the following key technology requirements of the healthcare industry:

  • Enables on-demand access to computing and large storage facilities which are not provided in traditional IT environments.
  • Supports big data sets for EHR, radiology images and genomic data offloading, a burdensome task, from hospital IT departments.
  • Facilitates the sharing of EHRs among authorized physicians and hospitals in various geographic areas, providing more timely access to life-saving information and reducing the need for duplicate testing.
  • Improves the ability to analyze and track information (with the proper information governance) so that data on treatments, costs, performance, and effectiveness studies can be analyzed and acted upon. [2]

Even with all of the great advantages, there are still security and privacy challenges to the adoption of cloud computing within the healthcare industry. Data maintained in a cloud may contain personal, private or confidential information, such as healthcare-related information that requires the proper safeguards to prevent disclosure, compromise or misuse. Globally, concerns related to data jurisdiction, security, privacy and compliance are impacting adoption by healthcare organizations. [3]

Despite these concerns, the healthcare industry’s migration to the cloud is inevitable—driven by an irresistible blend of competitive realities and patient demand.

Contributed by: Alicia Brown

References:

[1] Accenture:  https://www.accenture.com/tw-en/~/media/Accenture/Conversion-Assets/DotCom/Documents/Global/PDF/Technology_2/Accenture-New-Era-Healthcare-Industry-Cloud-Computing-Changes-Game.pdf

[2] Cloud Standards Consumer Council: http://www.cloud-council.org/cscchealthcare110512.pdf

[3] http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/tip/Must-knows-about-cloud-computing-in-healthcar

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