How Does Cloud Computing Benefit the Healthcare Industry?

Smit Shah -
Illustration: © IoT For All

Healthcare providers across the globe have come to realize the true potential of cloud-based healthcare solutions. As per BCC research, it is expected that the Compound Annual Growth Rate of cloud computing services and solutions will maintain a course of 15% increase till the year 2025. By the year 2025, the size of the cloud-powered healthcare market will be $55 BN. More than 83% of the healthcare industry today is implementing cloud for their business operations by replacing their old data systems.

Cloud runs essential applications to keep the hospital operations running without a glitch, analyses patterns from unstructured data to help doctors better diagnose, and enables patients to remotely view their test reports and prescriptions from the data securely stored in the cloud. Cloud offers operational, functional, and economic benefits for everyone involved – patients, doctors, and healthcare organizations.

Let’s see how cloud computing in the healthcare industry is revolutionizing patient care, data security, diagnosis, and more.

Centralized Medical Record Access

Not so long ago, at hospitals, almost all the patients had separate files or medical records for their various doctors’ visits. That was quite difficult for doctors and staff to maintain and manage the paperwork. That is now replaced and made simple via cloud migration. Nowadays, all the files or reports are located at one centralized location accessible via a web portal at healthcare centers.

Organizations can use the AWS S3 service from AWS or Blob storage from Azure to store and retrieve medical record files. Also, the system can set periodical backup by using managed services such as Glacier provided by AWS. Patients do not have to keep track of physical files, and doctors can collaborate very smoothly. With the help of a reliable and secure cloud platform, information can be accessed anywhere at any time. This will help doctors diagnose patients quickly based on swift access to medical records saved over cloud storage like AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage, or even in AWS dedicated hosting solutions and Azure virtual machines.

Medical Record Security Complying with Healthcare Standards

In comparison to physical records, cloud-powered healthcare solutions are much more secured & effective. The data stored over the cloud is accessible only to the relevant healthcare providers as and when required. This helps to avoid any unwanted circumstances which can accrue because of an information leak.

For instance, well-known cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and GCP also enable covered entities and their business associates subject to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to use the secure cloud provider environment to process, maintain and store protected health information. This ensures that patient data is secured and is not misused.

Effective Patient Engagement Enhancing Patient Care

A cloud-based healthcare solution can help in enhancing patient care. With just a few clicks, the patient can easily schedule his appointment with the doctor. Auto-reminders can be sent successfully to both the doctor and the patient, with the cloud platform’s help via AWS simple notification services like SMS or Email. Patient follow-up can also be executed with such services.

Timely interaction with doctors after surgery, a reminder for medicine usage, upcoming facility information, and many more Applications can be taken care of by the cloud platform. Patient vitals can also be monitored remotely by doctors with the help of cloud-connected medical infusion pumps.

Healthcare Analytics for Better Decision Making

To perform clinical and medical device data analytics, healthcare organizations leverage machine learning models based on cloud data and other advanced solutions that result in accurate and insightful discovery, visualization, and diagnosis. The volume and variety of structured, unstructured, and streaming data in healthcare and life sciences require highly-scalable platforms for storing and analyzing data and running predictive models that support real-time decision-making.

To illustrate, AWS CloudWatch Synthetics supports the monitoring of end-devices (it can be any vital monitoring device) every minute, 24×7, and alerts you when your application endpoints don’t behave as expected. CloudWatch Synthetics supports monitoring of REST APIs, URLs, and website content, checking for unauthorized changes from phishing, code injection, and cross-site scripting.

Improved Scalability Under Any Situation

Besides being efficient and reliable, cloud-based healthcare solutions are also scalable, which provides flexibility to scale up/down infrastructure to accommodate new data in no time as per the requirements. The best example of it being the current pandemic in the country due to COVID. It has put the healthcare systems in a very tough situation. A cloud solution can be the best option for such kinds of unforeseen circumstances. AWS auto-scaling and load balancing services are highly recommended and used by many hospitals in the current situation.

Cost-Effective Solution with Custom Payment Models

With the help of cloud infrastructure, an organization can get rid of costly on-premise computer networking. This significantly reduces the overall costs of IT staff and other related on-premise infrastructure monitoring and management solutions. At the same time, you also do not have to worry about updating or adopting new changes as it can be done very smoothly with the help of cloud service providers in no time.

Cloud platform providers like AWS and Azure offer a pay-as-you-go approach for over 160 cloud services.  With such models, one pays only for the individual services you need, for as long as you use them, and without requiring long-term contracts or complex licensing. Their pricing calculator tool also helps to know the services cost well in advance.

The above mentioned are some of the ways how the cloud can transform the healthcare sector. It also helps reduce IT costs, improve data backup, protection from data loss, medical device integration, and much more.

Healthcare solution providers with hands-on experience in the cloud can help in designing medical-grade FDA/HIPAA compliant cloud, connected medical diagnostic device development, cloud data analytics, connected drug delivery systems, cloud-connected applications for health and fitness tracking, and transforming digital health systems with cloud enablement.

Cloud computing helps secure patient data and ensure regulatory compliance while allowing healthcare providers to continue delivering technologically advanced patient care and experiences.

Author
Smit Shah - Technical Project Manager, VOLANSYS Technologies

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Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...