Cloud computing has changed businesses, enterprises and the way companies have adopted technology. But whats next or can be anticipated from the cloud in forthcoming years? How will that affect the healthcare industry, examines Abhimanyu Bhosale for Elets News Network (ENN) and shares new business models being adopted and its impact on healthcare providers.
Few years ago, not many would have imagined this present-day world with mobile phones would be so pervasive, and the internet would become an integral part of our lives.
Newer platforms are leveraging thecapabilities of cloud and mobility to build applications, something viewed impossible earlier. Affordability, scalability and collaboration have always been key drivers for any business.
Now with cloud, we can haveapplications at much affordable cost, making it easier for businesses to migrate that scale much faster and has got more collaborative at work in a more natural way than earlier when it was more fragmented and compartmentalised.
So what lies ahead in this Cloud Era?
There are lots of new business models that were not possible before but are now being readily adopted by companies.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
Though a relatively old concept in the west, it is the one that has made a lot of difference to how we pay for services and softwares. SaaS is a licensing model that makes it affordable for businesses to invest, starting with a small timely subscription and get started with software services without IT overheads. SaaS as a business model has made a huge impact in the tech world, from companies like Google and Microsoft which have pivoted their core services like document editing and e-mail services towards a subscription pricing than a one-time purchase like before.
This is a win-win situation for consumers and businesses, as the consumers always get the latest version of the software, without worrying about compatibility and maintenance. And, the businessesenjoy a steady revenue to enable them fund their growth and innovation. But most importantly, SaaS gives freedom to customers, freedom to uate softwares with trials, freedom from IT infrastructure investment, freedom to scale on demand and pay for on the services one avails.
But using SaaS can also be a doubleedged sword for business with poor quality and bad products/services. Since the businesses only make money in long term, consistently providing quality service becomes a cornerstone of the business model.
We are seeing more and more software companies pivoting to SaaS as a platform. LiveHealth was one of the early adopters of SaaS offerings to its customers and lot of other software solutions have followed to start with SaaS as a core business model.
SaaS products has become an obvious choice for anyone starting his business or someone who wants to upgrade its services or solutions. This will essentially help businesses focus on their core and invest more wisely.
Pay Per Use
Its again a traditional cloud business model, introduced by Amazon Web Services on a large scale to its consumers. Pay Per Use or, PPU is a model again focused to drastically reduce costs and pay only for the time and capacity the service or infrastructure is being used. This gives a more granular approach to pricing for services or computation or storage. Services like PACS, document archival systems, archiving of medical records or files. So, we expect to see more services offering a granular pricing structure for usages and storages where the volumes are intermittent. The PPU model is further divided into computation and storage.
PPU for Computation is designed for on demand computing where a company would require scaling up infrastructure for a particular duration of the time during workingor peak hours. This can be used for application or services which require heavy processing of DICOM images in case of MRI and CT scan, or synchronising multiple applications at the end of day or multiple times during the day where multiple applications on different locations are synced.
Cloud-based applications and services present a plethora of opportunities to the healthcare providers – to scale-up faster, to collaborate seamlessly and to provide more effective patient care, all this while cutting cost.
PPU for Storage is modeled towards services that require heavy storages like PACS or document archival systems where the files are stored in real time for a particular or long term storage. Pricing is adjusted in number of retris based on how frequently one uses the data or the information being stored. This will make businesses store more data at lesser costs.
Overall these models are designed to make services, softwares,computation, and storage more affordable and optimised. It will then help businesses have better mileage. The future of applications with cloud is not only more affordable and mobile but also collaborative.
Collaboration is a natural way to work and connect, and with connected applications working on cloud makes that possible.
A collaborative healthcare ecosystem is where doctors, technical staff and patients are updated in real time about the status of their tests, medical records or any feedback from patients.
Collaboration in business makes it easy for healthcare workers to spend less time communicating update to co-workers. For doctors, its easier to authorise and consult for reports and images as they can see updates and get notified when the tests are done and pending authorisation. Doctors also collaborate more freely by sharing their comments for senior doctors to review.
Cloud is not only transforming the way how healthcare providers have been traditionally managing their IT operations but it has enabled them to explore newer business models. Cloud based applications and services present a plethora of opportunities to the healthcare providers – to scale-up faster, to collaborate seamlessly and to provide more effective patient care, all this while cutting cost. Though the adoption of cloud was slow earlier, the need for affordable solutions to manage the data faster and accurately has encouraged the healthcare industry to adopt it widely. It wouldnt be an exaggeration to say that the future of healthcare appears to be lying in the cloud.