Can the cloud benefit the healthcare industry?

Can the cloud benefit the healthcare industry?
Technology researcher interested in cloud computing, social media and Internet marketing; currently working as a web content developer for Encrypted File Storage.

Medical experts and researchers have been talking about the cloud in the healthcare industry for some time. When it comes to its application in this field, the information technology seems to be on a very poor level.

The majority of medical services still practice a complicated paper-based administration. Considering how many medical records, application forms and walking-orders a hospital has to issue in a single day, another solution for the whole process is highly necessary.

Enhancement of productivity and collaboration

Even the largest hospitals all over the world still sacrifice their time, space and efficacy using the outdated technology.

While the number of patients remains the same the hospital archives are filling up. In order to keep up with at least the basic advancements in IT industry, hospitals must regularly invest in equipment for servers, applications, and maintenance.

Cloud computing might be a solution for restructuring medical papyrology in a more efficient way. 

IT requirements of any contemporary organisation extends beyond the email applications. Data storage and backup, sharing and management are just some of the features of cloud services.

Remote access to files means a simpler and more efficient collaboration and a greater information transparency. This is convenient for physicians and other hospital workers as it facilitates not only internal communication, but also a correspondence with the people outside the organisation – patients, donors, professionals from afar.

Cost-benefits of the cloud in healthcare

If the improved efficacy is the main advantage of cloud services, than the second one is definitely the costs.

Cloud services are regarded as a great way to cut the costs related to information technology as storing data on remote servers decreases the costs of hardware maintenance and management.  

Most providers offer pay-as-you-go models where they charge only for the services used. This is a great way for a hospital to transfer all the IT responsibilities to external management teams.

Privacy issue

However, the fact that hospitals still hesitate to fully adopt these systems is due to a single issue – privacy. For organisations such as hospitals, patient privacy is a major concern.

In the US, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) the organisation is legally responsible for preventing any kind of personal information to leak outside the patient’s documents. Generally, privacy is the most sensitive issue surrounding the whole concept of cloud.

This doesn’t mean that users should stop moving to the cloud, but that they should be careful about choosing management tools and service providers. 

Solution?

The speed of development of cloud services is ever growing. Cloud providers are trying to grab their cloud share by constantly improving the cloud experience and offering a greater variety of services.

Most industries have already incorporated cloud solutions, while healthcare is still trying to improve or reuse the existing equipment.

The process of adopting cloud technology in healthcare is very slow due to the issues that are more sensitive than usually. Still, the services are getting better and IT  tools grow in variety, so it is reasonable to expect that security issues could be solved too.

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