Opportunities and scope that cloud technology brings to the healthcare sector

ASHISH KOUL

When Covid 19 hit, the health care sector came under tremendous pressure with a massive inflow of patients to take care of with a disease that was unknown and spreading rampantly. The healthcare sector was pushed to its limits and the unpreparedness came into the limelight, making hospitals and governments across the world realise they need better technology that can cope with any extremity, adapt faster, and reduce impacts. Cloud Technology was the way forward to see how technology can be used to improve operations in the healthcare sector. Let’s explore the impact and scope of technology or cloud technology to be precise, in detail.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare sector, especially since the rising demands due to the pandemic, has been managing a large amount of data. This is where Cloud Technology has been and can be a huge aid in making the process of collecting, storing, and analysing data to further improve healthcare operations, efficient. By decentralising the system, cloud-based solutions allow healthcare firms to pay only for the resources they use.

Below are some of the cloud computing solutions currently available for the health care system:

Population health management

Cloud computing services help healthcare firms track and map diseases and inform the masses about where the risk is at a much lower cost and higher speed. The Covid-19 pandemic has been an example, which has helped track huge amounts of data in a small time, understand the disease spread and mortality rates, medicine/vaccination efficacy, and much more.

Care management support

Tools like IBM Watson Care Manager, Diabetes Care, and McKesson are being increasingly adopted by healthcare organizations for management solutions. These tools provide support to individuals by delivering products and services or automating care management workflows.

Patient connectivity

With a pandemic-like situation, patient connectivity became one of the most important needs. Cloud-based services help connect patients with a medical service provider. Tools integrated help monitor patient vitals and update the same in real-time to the doctors and nurses as well as keep the caregivers informed about their loved one’s health regularly. This helps ease the burden of communication and makes it seamless.

Medical practitioner assistance

Advanced analytics, NLU, and Machine learning have increased the scope of assistance that can be provided to patients and help medical practitioners search for a vast amount of data and thus create better treatment plans in a shorter period using cloud computing solutions. Patients can also use these services to collaborate with their doctors and understand their medical issues better. The data collected can also be shared between healthcare organisations thereby creating a central repository where every detail about a patient’s health is captured.

Benefits of cloud computing for healthcare

Evidently, cloud computing has a lot to offer the health care sector. But what exactly are the benefits of switching to technology from traditional methods? Let’s have a look.

Security and compliance

One of the previous concerns related to the cloud was ensuring the security and privacy of patients’ data. However, continuous development in cloud technology and improvement in regulations has lessened the risks. The security is further strengthened via techniques like data encryption, backups, recovery, and permission-based data availability, which ensures patient data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Healthcare firms are choosing ePHI – Electronic Protected Health Information, which paves way for a more stringent control on how data is handled, stored, or moved by their cloud-service provider.

Scalability

The population is constantly increasing. So is the data. And when it comes to storing this excessively large amount of data, the traditional method doesn’t seem compatible enough. Hence, with the growing data, the probability of complete reliability on cloud solutions is the way to move forward to handle the large chunks of data. Scale-up as the situation demands, for example during pandemic when a large inflow of patients was there, vs when the inflow reduces it can be scaled down as per the needs of the healthcare organization.

Apart from this, Cloud offers other benefits like the integration of new software to track patients’ health and data, providing portability of managing data remotely, and sharing data across the world as per the need.

Challenges in incorporating technology

As with any other innovation, along with the various opportunities it presents like scalability, protection of patient data, lower cost of IT infrastructure, etc., cloud computing comes with its own set of risks. Hence, it needs proper evaluation before it can be fully adopted into the health care sector.

Some of the challenges that lead to the cloud facing resistance from its’ customers include lack of trust by professionals and users, limited resources, the unpredictability of performance and the risk of privacy breaches that may arise due to hacker attacks, network breaks, or separation failure.

Another major concern when it comes to implementing the cloud is the lack of skills and resources. What we need is an investment in this area to train people with the right skills, give them the insights needed, and provide them with resources that will enable health organizations to successfully adopt cloud technology.

The future of cloud computing in healthcare

As the use of technology expands in healthcare, there’s a rise in BP monitors, wearable devices, health trackers, pacemakers, etc. When integrated with applications and infrastructure, these devices can send data to healthcare professionals globally.

By moving beyond traditional methods of operating, and focusing on cloud solutions, health organisations can provide the highest quality of care. What they need going forward is a proper understanding of the value that these technologies can bring to the healthcare industry and a way to impart that to customers through trustworthy sources of information. A little trust and lots of research and evaluation is what is required now.

“The purpose of a well-functioning healthcare system is to provide excellent care to its patients at the lowest cost possible. This is what value-based healthcare is all about,” said Johan Sjoberg, a medical physicist at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Thanks to cloud computing, we can expect healthcare to meet this definition real soon!

If you are looking for Cloud Service Provider to assist your healthcare firm, Rapyder Cloud Expert can help you provide the necessary support.

Views expressed by Ashish Koul, National Sales Head, Rapyder Cloud Solutions.

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