The entire healthcare industry is sensitive and complex as it’s so vast, and at the same time, too many processes are involved. The complexity level of a healthcare sector often faces two major challenges – difficulty in making a self-sufficient ecosystem and high operational costs. Fortunately, different technologies play different roles in overcoming such challenges. Cloud computing is one of them.
This advanced form of technology is significantly transforming the entire healthcare domain at several levels with new features such as collaboration, efficiency, reachability, scalability, security, and more. Moreover, healthcare cloud computing makes medical record transfer faster and easier, automates all backend operations & also facilitates telehealth application maintenance. Utilizing cloud-based solutions boosts not only the efficiency of the healthcare sector but also decreases operational costs.
According to research, the worldwide market of healthcare cloud technology is predicted to hit 40 billion USD by 2023. Cloud computing in health care is an example where the business outcomes of a healthcare institute & patient outcomes are deeply aligned. Continue reading to know everything about cloud healthcare.
What is cloud computing?
Before diving into cloud computing in healthcare, you need to know what cloud computing is. As the name implies, the term “cloud computing” means on-demand access to multiple computing resources – applications, servers (virtual and physical servers), development tools, data storage, networking capabilities, etc – managed by a cloud services provider at a data center. Cloud computing usually enables users to utilize applications and infrastructure through the internet, without maintaining and installing them on-premises. Cloud based computing services offer easy document storage that you can smoothly access at any time from any device.
With the advancement of today’s technology, cloud service providers have built several solutions tailored to multiple industries. From automotive and healthcare to retail, marketing, education, insurance, and other sectors are adopting cloud technology to get immense benefits.
Today’s organizations are frequently adopting cloud technology for a vast range of applications, such as big data analytics, disaster recovery, data backup, email, virtual desktops, customer-facing web applications, software development & testing. For instance, Netflix uses cloud computing technology for running its video streaming services & other business operations.
What is cloud computing in healthcare industry?
Cloud computing service in the healthcare industry offers a collaborative, connected, and accessible environment for clinicians and patients. Healthcare sectors use the cloud for storing, maintaining, and connecting personal health information and consumer data such as contact preferences.
According to statistics, the market of healthcare cloud computing is predicted to reach approx. $65 billion by 2025. As of 2022, worldwide spending on the cloud reached up to $482 billion. Technically, cloud computing in the healthcare sector describes the process of remote server implementation accessed through the internet to execute and manage healthcare-related data.
In short, cloud solutions for healthcare provides a very flexible service that allows hospitals and healthcare professionals to leverage a remotely accessible server network where they can easily store a high volume of data securely. A cloud-based system addresses the below requirements in the healthcare sector:
- On-demand availability to computing with large storage resources that aren’t feasible in conventional healthcare systems.
- Support huge datasets for radiology images, EHR & genomic data off-loading.
- Give support of Electronic health records (EHR) to authorized physicians, healthcare institutions, and hospitals in several geographic locations
- Improvement in data analysis & monitoring of treatment, diagnosis, and performance
The cloud services healthcare minimizes operational spending while delivering efficient workflows and better-personalized care that result in smooth healthcare services. Apart from that, patients also receive prompt responses from professional healthcare service providers & seamlessly access their healthcare information with excellent tracking systems.
Types of cloud computing in healthcare
Healthcare cloud computing technology is mainly divided into two major categories – cloud computing services & cloud computing ecosystems.
Cloud Computing Services: There are 3 models of cloud computing services – IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
- IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) includes storage resources and physical processing provided by a third-party cloud service provider over the internet. It contains building blocks for the cloud & it provides access to data storage space and networking features.
- PaaS: In the Platform as a Service or PaaS model, a third-party service provider offers hardware and software tools like a compiler, debugger & source code editor. PaaS is used for making and testing online HealthTech apps.
- SaaS: Software as a Service model offers ready-to-use cloud software like clinical data systems. In SaaS, healthcare companies get that access to cloud-based software, but it is hosted and managed by a third-party cloud provider.
Cloud computing ecosystem: It has three major types – public cloud, private cloud & hybrid cloud in healthcare
- Public cloud: A public cloud refers to an IT model where on-demand computing infrastructure is controlled by a service provider and provided through the public Internet.
- Private cloud: Private cloud is an environment in which every software and hardware and resource is dedicated to a single customer.
- Hybrid cloud in healthcare: The cloud environment combines on-premises infrastructure with private & public cloud services.
Challenges faced by healthcare industries
The global healthcare scenario presents a very contrasting landscape. Though healthcare is a sensitive industry – connected to us physically, emotionally, & financially; the new-age technology and economy in healthcare sectors need proper attention to find out the challenges they are facing today. Here are major pain points experienced by the healthcare sector.
1. Flaws in data transfer:
The healthcare institutions and hospitals that work as a chain experience data transfer problems across several locations. Since the data volume is enormous, it takes a huge time, which can be very risky for any healthcare organization for dealing with an emergency. Cloud computing removes flaws in data transfer by allowing centralized data storage systems. This means data can be simultaneously accessed from several places from the central data center.
2. Slow speed:
Healthcare service providers that deal with outdated data management often face speed issues. This is because the system is unable to process a large amount of data within a specific time limit. This makes the system very slow and may result in unexpected data loss. Fortunately, cloud computing technology solves this problem through its speed & high data accuracy. They consistently process all data at a very high speed without downtime.
3. Uncertainty of medical records:
Dealing with unrecognized data received from several sources is one of the significant concerns for hospitals or healthcare organizations. It’s crucial to categorize and segregate data for fast access. Due to insufficient facilities, healthcare providers never access the appropriate data in time. Healthcare cloud systems help with data storage & maintenance to fix such issues more conveniently.
4. Inventory issues
For every medical facility, it’s crucial to keep all their inventories up-to-date. However, there is a huge possibility to skip the tracking or monitoring of a particular product inventory. In the multi-specialty hospitals and healthcare sectors, this may result in the lack of essential medicines and medical equipment at the moment of medical emergencies. Adopting cloud computing in the medical field never helps to eliminate such issues as data can be handled more accurately.
Applications of cloud computing in healthcare
Cloud computing services provide multiple benefits in many ways. Cloud allows users to utilize software, infrastructure, and platforms offered by cloud service providers. Here are some cloud computing applications in healthcare:
Cloud-based solutions are extensively used in E-health. It refers to electronically delivering healthcare solutions through the internet. Cloud computing allows medical experts to collaborate & put their effort into complex cases like teleradiology, telesurgery, etc. E-health offers an appropriate clinical treatment facility to patients who reside anywhere across the world.
Cloud computing technology is used in telemedicine as an Information & Communications Technology or ICT infrastructure for seamless doctor-to-patient and doctor-to-doctor interaction. Telemedicine also helps with:
- Sharing the medical data of a patient across any geographical location in real-time
- Reducing unwanted visits to medical institutions or hospitals that save time & traveling cost
3. Drug discovery
Cloud solutions play a big role in drug recovery as it requires massive computing resources to find out several compounds from different chemical structures. IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service is ideal to simplify the entire process. For instance, the joint venture of Microsoft Research, Molplex, and Newcastle University works with Iaas cloud for drug discovery.
4. Healthcare information systems
The healthcare sectors use cloud-based information systems to deliver excellent patient care, tackle human resources, billing & finance, and better-querying services. Cloud services in healthcare can also be used to build, test & deploy these information systems. Apart from that, it helps with collaborative and fast development and better system integration with cross-platform compatibility.
5. Personal health records
Another major application of cloud technology in healthcare is personal health records or PHR. With cloud-based PHR programs, users can access & manage the health record database easily & also share data. These programs also have highly advanced features that allow users to control shared data. Apart from that, some PHR programs use protocols and they are compatible with desktop and mobile applications.
From reducing unwanted expenses to delivering high scalability and conveniences, implementing cloud technology is shaping the future of the entire healthcare industry in many ways. It creates a positive impact at every stage of the medical field. For more information on the cloud solution for healthcare, stay connected with Sphinx Solutions.
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