The healthcare industry is shifting toward an information-centric care delivery model, enabled in part by open standards that support cooperation, collaborative workflows and information sharing. Cloud computing provides an IT infrastructure that allows hospitals, medical practices, insurance companies, research facilities and other organizational entities in the healthcare ecosystem to leverage improved computing capabilities at lower initial capital outlays than previously required by purchase or long-term licensing. Additionally, cloud environments lower the barriers for innovation and modernization of IT systems and applications.
Finally, cloud computing offers an IT platform that is collaborative to facilitate information sharing, knowledge management and predictive analytics across the healthcare ecosystem, enabling cross-industry services.
Despite of a common belief that certain boundaries and security issues of the cloud would hinder the shift, the healthcare industry is taking an initiative to move to these cloud based platforms. Today many doctors and hospitals are moving towards these clouds in order to provide better healthcare services to their patients.
The below five trends made to introduce cloud technologies into health care industry:
- Replacing or augmenting traditional healthcare mechanisms with digital options.
- Increasing investment in technologies that accelerate the digitization of the healthcare industry.
- Shifting the roles played by incumbent healthcare actors.
- Employing data integration and/or comparative analysis.
- Accelerating the accrual of medical knowledge and practice improvement.
- Employing new business models for lower cost, better efficiency and higher effectiveness.
Now will see the advantages and disadvantages of cloud’s presence in health care.
BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING IN HEALTHCARE:
There are immense benefits and advantages upon implementation of cloud computing in healthcare industry some of which may include:
Mobility of Records:
In some cases a person’s health information can be required by two or more health institutions in that case by implementation of cloud technologies a person’s health information can be easily synchronized and shared at the same time. Hence this improves physician’s ability to provide a better health care to the patients. Thus by implementation of cloud technologies a patients information is readily available.
By using cloud based technologies and services always enable faster and accurate access to all the important information for the healthcare services providers and the history of their patients. Cloud technology supports the development of new applications more quickly than ever before using robust services from a marketplace of APIs. As a result, the organization can gain on-demand access to IT infrastructure resources—including servers and storage networking—and get feedback faster so the business can adjust accordingly. Healthcare organizations can respond more readily to the needs of the business, and the needs of the patients they serve, as well as their partners, suppliers and employees.
Security and Privacy:
Cloud computing is mainly used for storage of medical records online. Whether managed internally in the data center or hosted externally via a service provider, it’s important to know that such an infrastructure could provide enhanced privacy and security over deploying a public cloud strategy.
Regardless of what cloud service platform you choose or which provider delivers the best service, the delivery of computing and service must permit sharing of proprietary data resources to help physicians and healthcare providers to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Both the cloud platform and cloud provider must also ensure all of your digital medical data remains secure and private.
Regulation & Compliance:
Healthcare entities must stay informed of where and how electronic protected health information (ePHI) is moved, handled, or stored by their CSP.
For example, if a CSP moves data to another country, it may be subject to international laws and therefore non-compliant with government regulations.
Healthcare entities must be aware of country-specific regulations associated with connected medical devices that require.
Implementation of certain operational and control aspects of securing ePHI is done by the CSP; however, ultimate responsibility for compliance always resides with the healthcare entity.
There are numerous standards that apply to different aspects of healthcare solutions; it is useful for customers to understand the available standards and to understand whether cloud services adhere to relevant standards for the capabilities provided.
As part of the migration to use cloud services, healthcare entities must work with their CSP to ensure compatible business and operational processes, transparency, and smooth integration with existing enterprise systems.
Change management is also important. The CSP’s ability to perform system and software upgrades in a timely manner is critical
Disaster recovery is critical. Healthcare entities need to ensure that their cloud service agreements provide sufficient treatment of disaster recovery issues, procedures and processes.
PIT FALLS OF CLOUD COMPUTING IN HEALTHCARE:
Even though implementation of cloud computing in healthcare industry can have several benefits yet there are some fears also in the implantation of this latest technology in a complex field like healthcare. Security of the patient data is still the biggest concern in this area. Below are the few disadvantages of using cloud solutions.
- Comes with limited customization
- May have latency or lag time accessing while information across the web
- Patient data can be compromised if mixed with other clients
- Backups and security are at the mercy of the vendor
- If considered for long time usage, they may prove to be more expensive
- Host controls all your data
- Practice won’t be able to work without the internet
- Not a good options for rural practices with limited internet connectivity or options
- A medical practice may lose data if the vendor closes business operations
- Bandwidth may be limited by practice’s internet connection
As technology is advancing rapidly, one can say for sure that most of the disadvantages listed above may disappear over a period of some time. Nonetheless, it is always better to have an expert opinion before you finally put your money on the table for buying the cloud software solutions.
Cloud computing is changing our lives in many ways at a very quick pace. Day by day utilization of cloud computing technologies is increasing in every part of the world. There are several reasons as discussed above for the utilization of cloud technologies in healthcare industry. The cloud computing solutions in healthcare can help the physicians to stay in touch with their patients and examine their health condition effectively at a low cost.
Every section in the society can access this healthcare by implementation of this technology. It is always remembered that cloud computing is still a developing technology, which implies that in the future years the services it offers will be greater than our expectations or just beyond our imagination.
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