Ramesh Desai
Senior Manager, Information Technology, Sagar Hospitals

Healthcare requires continuous and systematic innovation to remain cost effective, efficient and time-bound to provide high-quality services. Cloud Computing is providing a great assistance in making healthcare fast and cost effective by implying technology innovation, says Ramesh Desai, Senior Manager, Information Technology, Sagar Hospitals, in an exclusive conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

What is cloud computing and what are its benefits?

Cloud computing is a new way of delivering computing resources and services. Many managers and experts believe that it can improve health care services, benefit healthcare research, and change the face of health information technology.

Cloud computing refers to an on-demand, self-service Internet infrastructure that enables the user to access computing resources anytime from anywhere It is a new model of delivering computing resources, not a new technology. However, compared with conventional computing, this model provides three new advantages: massive computing resources available on demand, elimination of an up-front commitment by users, and payment for use on a short-term basis as needed.

Tell us about various models of cloud computing

From a service point of view, cloud computing includes 3 models: software, platform, and infrastructure.

(1) Software as a service (SaaS): The applications (eg, EHRs) are hosted by a cloud service provider and made available to customers over a network typically the Internet.

(2) Platform as a service (PaaS): The development tools (eg, operation systems) are hosted in the cloud and accessed through a browser. With PaaS, developers can build Web applications without installing any tools on their computer, and then deploy those applications without any specialized administrative skills.

(3) Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): The cloud user outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers, and networking components. The provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running, and maintaining it. The user typically pays on a per-use basis.

What is the relevance of cloud computing in the healthcare system?

Healthcare requires continuous and systematic innovation to remain cost effective, efficient, and timely, and to provide highquality services. Cloud computing can reduce electronic health record (EHR) startup expenses, such as hardware, software, networking, personnel, and licensing fees, and therefore will encourage its adoption. Research shows that the biomedical informatics community, especially consortiums that share data and applications, can take advantage of the new computing paradigm. As indicated in some of the papers , data-handling problems, complexity, and expensive or unavailable computational solutions to research problems are major issues in biomedical research data management and analysis. Several informatics innovations have demonstrated that cloud computing has the potential to overcome these difficulties.

What precautions should be taken into account before adopting cloud computing into healthcare system?

Despite its several benefits, cloud computing applications also involve several management, technology, security, and legal issues that are required to be addressed. Before adopting it ,one need to discuss the concept of cloud computing, its current applications in healthcare, the challenges and opportunities, and how to implement strategic planning when the organization has decided to move to the new model of service.

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