Cloud computing technologies are on the rise in the healthcare industry. Although their adoption is held back by regulatory initiatives and security concerns, the cloud computing market in healthcare is expected to grow to $5.4 billion by 2017. This is the conclusion of the “Healthcare Cloud Computing (Clinical, EMR, SaaS, Private, Public, Hybrid) Market - Global Trends, Challenges, Opportunities & Forecasts (2012 – 2017) published by research firm MarketsandMarkets.
The health care environment is changing faster than ever before due to the demand of delivering higher quality medical services for less money, and increased competitively between health care services providers. Hospitals, research clinics, private health care institutions and doctors are looking for solutions to increase daily activities, efficiency and decrease their spending.
Cloud computing technologies, if implemented and used appropriately, have a response to all these requirements. Thus, cloud computing provides to the health care environment the opportunity to improve services for patients, to easily share information, to improve operational efficiency, and to streamline costs.
What advantages does cloud computing offer for the health care industry?
1. Collaboration. In many cases specific information may be needed in two places, by different health services providers at the same time. Through cloud technologies, the information is synchronized and shared in real time.
2. Speed. Cloud-based tools can upgrade and improve their features faster, less expensively and with minimal or no service interruption. Plus, cloud services enables faster access to important information for health services providers and their patients.
3. Mobility. Each mobile app is backed up by a cloud infrastructure. By storing data and computing power in the cloud, health care services providers enable their staff to have access to information anywhere and anytime.
4. Security and privacy. Cloud services providers are required to comply with many privacy standards such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Today there are several managed cloud providers offering HIPAA compliance.
5. Decreased costs. There is no need for the health care institution and doctors to invest in hardware infrastructure and maintenance because these concerns are already taken care of by the cloud computing providers.
Although cloud computing offers significant advantages to the health care industry, it is still perceived by some as unsafe.. The most common concerns are those that make any other business, from any industry, be reluctant to adopting cloud technologies: security and confidentiality of patient information, interoperability and compliance with government regulations. These can all be overcome by doing your due diligence and selecting the right partners.
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