Healthcare companies have started coming to the realization that their businesses have as much to do with managing information as they do with delivering care to patients. Indeed, the IT challenges inherent in healthcare are immense. Factors affecting information technology management in healthcare range from explosive growth in data volume, from digital X-rays and so forth, to the need for integration with multiple systems and entities and laws that govern patient privacy. In this context, it’s not surprising that healthcare companies are increasingly moving at least some of their IT assets to the cloud. Here are 10 reasons this has become a popular option:
1) The cloud is more secure than on-premises options
This might have seemed like an outrageous claim a decade ago, but times have really changed. The cloud providers, along with cloud-hosted applications, generally have stronger security countermeasures in place than individual healthcare companies could ever set up.
2) It’s easier to operate telemedicine in the cloud
Cloud data storage simplifies remote access to and sharing of healthcare data. This is a key requirement for effective telemedicine. The cloud also gives healthcare companies more options for economical telemedicine. There are no on-premises resources required for what can be an unpredictable IT workload.
3) Collaboration becomes easier
The business of healthcare involves a constant choreography of business processes between hospitals, pharmacies, insurance companies and many other entities. The cloud offers a relatively simple and low-cost platform for setting up and managing the kind of collaboration required for an efficient healthcare operation.
4) AI is typically built-in
Healthcare companies that want to add Artificial Intelligence (AI) to their capabilities will find that the cloud often has such functionality ready to go. Examples include clinical decision support systems that are cloud-hosted and available on demand. This is almost always a faster and more economical way to adopt this kind of leading-edge technology.
5) The cloud scales easily
Cloud computing offers unlimited scale on a virtually instant basis. For healthcare businesses that add new locations or expand operations, the cloud’s ability to scale up on demand saves a great deal of time and effort in the process.
6) Data storage is easier and more flexible
Healthcare providers handle electronic medical records and digital medical imaging from MRIs and the like. As data volumes grow, the cloud provides a welcome way to add storage and compute capacity as needed—or wind it down if it’s no longer required. The cloud also simplifies the “tiering” of storage, where lower priority data is stored on lower cost and lower-performing infrastructure.
7) The cloud helps save money
While the cloud is not necessarily inexpensive, it can deliver some significant financial benefits and cost savings. It gets a healthcare company out of the burdensome cycle of capital expense (CapEx) for new hardware and software licenses. The cloud removes most, if not all of the investment required for data center facilities. The scale-up/scale-down nature off the cloud also enables flexibility in spending. The business can spend for capacity when it’s needed and turn of the spending when it’s no longer necessary
8) It’s easy to inter-operate
Healthcare technology is highly inter-connected. Records systems have to integrate with pharmacy management solutions, billing systems, appointment scheduling applications and so on. Patient data may reside in multiple repositories, as well, which also need to connect with these other systems. Cloud-based solutions are generally easier to integrate than on-premises.
9) There is better access to powerful data analytics
Cloud-based analytics tools make the ordinarily difficult process of establishing analytics a lot simpler and faster. When combined with cloud-based databases, the entire analytics workload becomes more flexible and easier to manage.
10) There are more opportunities for patient interaction and data ownership
The cloud democratizes data, giving patients more control over their health information and healthcare. There is also the possibility of increasing interaction with patients through portals and mobile apps.
To learn more about cloud computing’s potential in the healthcare industry, contact us for a free consultation.