Cloud computing is today driving change in the Indian healthcare system. The technology comes with multiple advantages for healthcare establishments including workflow management, ease of storing, managing and processing huge volumes of patient information being churned out on a daily basis, writes Ritika Srivastav of Elets News Network (ENN).

Cloud computing is playing a significant role in the healthcare sector. The internet-based computing technology uses a secure network of remote servers hosted online to store, manage, and process data that can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world.

Why Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing can be an effective way to connect and synchronise the entire healthcare system. Using this, patients, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, laboratories, doctors, pharmacist, medical consultants and counsellors can all be made part of a system to manage work flow.

The application of cloud computing in managing healthcare can not only improve the quality of services, but can also be a boon for patients whostand to benefit due to flexibility and convenience that the system offers.

A section of doctors believes that cloud computing can effectively connect management with healthcare professionals through sharing of data. The benefits of cloud computing extend to the actual management structure and make it easy to follow their working pattern.

Relevance of Cloud Computing for Healthcare

Cloud computing is the key to use resources effectively to manage healthcare services. It can be used to store health information of patients for longer periods and make it available to health professionals as and when required.

The web-based computing technology has been transforming the way healthcare is delivered in India.It is increasingly being adopted by the government, non-governmental organisations and private sector for its transparency and effectiveness.

It is emerging as a tool to collaborate on big healthcare projects where government and NGOs are working together for improving health parametres of citizens. Information technology giants like Microsoft are, therefore, seeking tie-ups with healthcare providers to provide technical training and support to their healthcare staff and promoting public awareness in the field.

There are many developmental programmes happening in India in collaboration with top IT companies. mCURA has implemented first-of-itskind smart OPD in a major hospital of Delhi with 35,000 patient transactions a month using cloud computing, says Madhubala Radhakrishna, Founder and CEO of mCURA.

This collaboration takes the healthcare IT to the next level, as we have provided hardware, technology, platform and trained manpower completely as service with zero upfront cost to hospitals, she adds.

Technology platform includes modules right from appointments, queue management, e-wallet or cash cards with payment gateway and status, medical records management, e-prescription delivery, order management and continuum of care.

The company provides real time status update on queue, patientmedical record view, access, revenue inputs to doctors from their mobile phone anywhere anytime.

Models of Cloud Computing

There are majorly three deployment models of cloud computing. These are public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.

Private Cloud

Private Cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organisation, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally.

Public Cloud

A cloud is called a public cloud when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud services may be free.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.

Benefits of Cloud Computing Cloud computing consists of several features that can be beneficial for healthcare sector. The technology is flexible, software updates are automatic, and it facilitates costfreecapital expenditure, integrated collaboration, ease of work from any place, control of document and security. Besides, cloud computing offers competitive advantage and is environment-friendly.

Top Companies in Cloud Computing Space

Some of the top companies operating in the cloud computing space include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM, Google Cloud Platform,, Adobe and Oracle Cloud, among others.

Karamveer Khanna, General Manager, HSCC (India) Limited, says: When it comes to healthcare, ICT enabled HSCC to get involved in healthcare. Our vision is to make healthcare services hassle free for common people. Our aim is to create a scenario where people dont hesitate to visit government hospitals. We are providing Queue Management System, Hospital Information Management System through which all your data is packed into digital form.

Setting up a technology in a hospital comes with its own set of challenges like technical support and regular updates of the system. These problems are in general with one application. If we are using hundreds of applications, it becomes more complicated. Cloud computing is a better solution to resolve these issues.

One needs to simply plug-in and get started by sharing data centres which is cost effective too. When you are using any application under cloud computing you just need to login, customise and start using it. Thats the power of cloud computing.

Cloud enables people to do transactions from anywhere. It helps manage workflow in a healthcare setup. A large volume of data is generated in any healthcare industry which needsto be processed and managed. Cloud makes this possible.

Understanding Technology of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing applies traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by military and research facilities, to perform tens of trillions of computations per second. In consumer oriented applications such as financial portfolios, to deliver personalised information, provide data storage or power large, immersive online computer games.

At present, the standards for connecting the computer systems and the software needed to make cloud computing work are not fully defined, leaving many companies to define their own cloud computing technologies. Companies like IBM offer Blue Cloud technology on the basis of open standards and open source software which link together computers that are used to deliver Web 2.0 capabilities like mash-ups or mobile commerce.

Smaller establishments often lack time and financial resources to purchase, deploy and maintain infrastructure (software, server and storage) for their day-to-day functions. Cloud computing eliminates the requirement of a costly infrastructure.

In cloud computing, small businesses can access these resources and expand or shrink services as business needs change. The common pay-as-you-go subscription model is designed to let them easily add or remove services.

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