Cloud computing in healthcare is not a new discovery. Healthcare industry has been proactive in using technology and innovation for better results and implementation. MarketsAndMarkets predicts that by 2025, the cloud computing market in the medical field will reach $65 billion with an average CAGR of 18% as it has witnessed rapid growth and advancement.
The healthcare industry has seen significant advancements in technology over the past decade. With the rise of electronic medical records (EMRs), telemedicine, and other digital tools, healthcare providers are better equipped to provide patients with high-quality care. One of the most crucial technological advancements in healthcare is cloud computing. By leveraging the cloud, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and enhance collaboration between care teams. In this blog, you will explore the key benefits of cloud computing in healthcare.
But before that, let’s understand what cloud computing is and how it is used in the healthcare industry.
What is Cloud Computing- Its Uses in Healthcare
The concept of cloud computing is based on sharing resources, such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics, on providing faster and more cost-effective access to technology. Cloud computing providers typically offer services on a pay-as-you-go model, meaning users only pay for the resources they use.
In the healthcare industry, cloud computing can be used in many different ways to improve the delivery of patient care, streamline operations, and enhance collaboration between healthcare providers.
Some common uses of cloud computing in healthcare include:
- Electronic Medical Records (EMRs): Cloud-based EMRs enable healthcare providers to access patient records from any location at any time. This can improve the speed and accuracy of patient care by providing up-to-date information to clinicians when needed. Additionally, cloud-based EMRs can help to eliminate the need for paper records, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
- Data Storage and Backup: Cloud computing can also be used to store and back up healthcare data. This can help ensure that patient records are always available, even in a disaster or other disruption. Additionally, cloud-based data storage can provide a scalable and cost-effective alternative to traditional on-premises storage solutions.
- Telemedicine: Cloud-based platforms enable healthcare providers to deliver virtual patient care regardless of location. This can be particularly beneficial in rural areas or for patients who have mobility issues or cannot leave their homes. Additionally, telemedicine can reduce costs by eliminating the need for in-person visits.
- Medical Imaging: Cloud computing can also be used for medical imaging. By storing medical images in the cloud, healthcare providers can easily share images with other providers or access them from any location. Additionally, cloud-based medical imaging can reduce costs by eliminating the need for on-premises imaging infrastructure.
- Collaboration: Cloud computing can also enhance collaboration between healthcare providers. By using cloud-based collaboration tools, care teams can share patient information and collaborate on treatment plans in real-time. This helps to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs by ensuring that all members of the care team are on the same page.
Benefits of using cloud computing in healthcare
- Improved Access to Patient Data:
Cloud computing helps with better access to patient data by allowing healthcare providers to store patient records in a centralized location, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that clinicians can access patient data in real time, enabling more informed decisions about patient care.
Additionally, cloud-based electronic medical records (EMRs) provide clinicians with a complete view of a patient’s medical history, including test results, medications, and treatment plans. This comprehensive view of a patient’s health information helps to identify potential health risks or issues and develop a more personalized treatment plan for the patient.
For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) implemented a cloud-based EMR system that allowed for real-time access to patient data, resulting in a 30% reduction in readmissions and a 14% reduction in emergency room visits.
- Improved Security:
Enhanced security is a key benefit of using cloud computing in healthcare. Cloud providers typically have multiple layers of security, including firewalls, intrusion detection, and encryption, to protect against unauthorized access and cyber threats.
Using cloud-based solutions, healthcare providers can ensure that patient data is stored securely and complies with industry standards. This is important as healthcare providers are legally responsible for safeguarding patient data and can face penalties for data breaches or non-compliance with regulations.
One of the best examples of cloud computing for security in healthcare is the case of Intermountain Healthcare, a large health system in Utah. Intermountain Healthcare has implemented a cloud-based solution to store and secure patient data, including health records and imaging studies. This cloud-based solution offers multiple layers of security, including encryption and intrusion detection, to ensure that patient data is protected against unauthorized access and cyber threats.
Cost-effectiveness is a major benefit of cloud computing in healthcare. Healthcare providers can significantly reduce the costs associated with traditional on-premises IT infrastructure by adopting cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing cuts down the need for expensive hardware, software, and IT staff, which can result in significant cost savings.
An example of cost savings achieved through cloud computing in healthcare is the Texas Hospital Association (THA) case. THA implemented a cloud-based disaster recovery system, which resulted in a 30% reduction in costs compared to traditional IT infrastructure. In addition, the cloud-based solution eliminated the need for expensive hardware and IT staff, which allowed THA to save a significant amount of money on IT infrastructure costs.
By adopting cloud-based solutions, healthcare providers can achieve cost savings while maintaining the security, accessibility, and efficiency of their IT systems
Scalability is a crucial benefit of utilizing cloud computing in healthcare. With cloud-based solutions, healthcare providers can quickly add or remove resources to meet demand without significant capital expenditures. Healthcare providers can scale their IT infrastructure up or down as needed to ensure they have the resources required to provide quality care to their patients.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)implemented a cloud-based data analytics platform that allowed them to scale their data infrastructure as needed. This enabled the hospital to store, process, and analyze large volumes of data from electronic health records and other sources.
With the cloud-based solution, CHOP could quickly add or remove resources as needed, resulting in better patient outcomes and improved efficiency.
Collaboration is another significant advantage of cloud computing in healthcare. Cloud-based collaboration tools allow healthcare providers to share patient information and collaborate on treatment plans in real-time. This can improve communication and coordination between care teams, resulting in improved patient outcomes.
An example of how cloud computing has improved collaboration in healthcare is the case of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). They used a cloud-based collaboration platform that allowed physicians and nurses to collaborate on patient care plans.
The platform provided a secure, cloud-based workspace where care teams could share patient information, exchange ideas, and collaborate on treatment plans. Using the cloud-based platform allowed VHA to improve communication and coordination between care teams, resulting in improved patient outcomes and reduced costs.
- Remote Monitoring:
With the help of connected devices and cloud-based solutions, healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely, detect potential health issues early, and intervene quickly, if necessary. This can result in improved patient outcomes and reduced costs associated with hospitalization and emergency care.
For example, The Mayo Clinic implemented a cloud-based remote monitoring system for patients with heart disease. The system consisted of a wireless monitoring device connected to the cloud-based platform. The monitoring device collected vital signs and other health data from the patients and transmitted it to the cloud-based platform.
The platform then analyzed the data and alerted healthcare providers if any issues were detected. As a result of the remote monitoring system, the Mayo Clinic achieved a 47% reduction in hospital readmissions and a 33% reduction in costs. By using the cloud-based remote monitoring system, healthcare providers could detect potential health issues early and intervene quickly, resulting in improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
- Disaster Recovery:
Cloud computing provides a reliable and secure backup of critical healthcare data in the event of a disaster, such as a natural disaster or a cyberattack. For example, cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions can enable healthcare organizations to recover quickly from a data loss event.
- Increased Mobility:
Cloud computing enables healthcare providers to access critical data and applications from any location using any device with an internet connection. For example, a clinician can use a mobile device to access patient data and diagnostic tools while on the go, resulting in more efficient and effective patient care.
Future potential of cloud computing in healthcare
Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry in several ways, including:
Market growth: The global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to grow from $23.4 billion in 2020 to $80.5 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.3% (Source: MarketsandMarkets).
Data storage: By 2025, healthcare data is projected to grow at a rate of 36% per year, reaching 2,314 exabytes (1 exabyte = 1 billion gigabytes) (Source: Dell Technologies).
Data security: 90% of healthcare organizations reported experiencing a data breach in the past two years, with the average cost of a breach estimated at $7.13 million (Source: IBM).
Patient engagement: 59% of patients reported that they would switch healthcare providers for better access to their medical records (Source: Salesforce).
Efficiency gains: Cloud-based electronic health records (EHRs) can save physicians up to 30 minutes per day, allowing them to see more patients and improve care (Source: Black Book Research).
Machine learning: Cloud-based machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of healthcare data to identify trends and patterns, helping to improve diagnosis and treatment (Source: Google Cloud).
Also check: IoT in Healthcare
By leveraging the benefits of cloud computing, healthcare organizations can improve patient care, reduce costs, and achieve better outcomes. However, it is important that the resources are reliable and match the security standard. advansappz is one of the leading names in the industry, helping with advanced cloud services to various industries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cloud computing in healthcare refers to the use of cloud-based infrastructure and services to store, manage, and process healthcare data and applications. It involves leveraging remote servers and networks to store and access data, enabling healthcare organizations to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and enhance patient care.
Cloud computing offers several applications and benefits in the healthcare industry, including:
Electronic Health Records (EHR): Cloud-based EHR systems allow healthcare providers to store and access patient medical records securely. This centralizes patient data, facilitates information sharing, and enhances care coordination among different healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine and Remote Care: Cloud computing enables the delivery of telemedicine services, allowing healthcare providers to remotely diagnose, monitor, and treat patients. Cloud-based platforms facilitate real-time communication and data sharing between patients and healthcare professionals.
Medical Imaging and Diagnostics: Cloud-based solutions enable the storage, sharing, and analysis of medical images, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. This allows healthcare providers to access images from different locations, collaborate with specialists, and expedite diagnoses.
Data Analytics and AI: Cloud computing provides the computational power and storage capacity required for analyzing large healthcare datasets. Healthcare organizations can leverage cloud-based analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to gain insights, improve clinical decision-making, and identify patterns for population health management.
Healthcare IoT: The Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as wearables and remote monitoring devices, generate vast amounts of healthcare data. Cloud computing enables the storage, analysis, and integration of IoT-generated data, supporting remote patient monitoring and preventive care.
Genomic Research and Precision Medicine: Cloud computing plays a crucial role in managing and analyzing genomic data, which is essential for advancing personalized medicine. Researchers and clinicians can securely store and share genomic data, accelerating research and enabling targeted therapies.
Collaboration and Interoperability: Cloud platforms facilitate data sharing and collaboration among healthcare providers, institutions, and systems. This interoperability enhances care coordination, reduces duplicative efforts, and promotes seamless exchange of patient information.
Scalability and Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing allows healthcare organizations to scale their IT infrastructure and services based on demand. It eliminates the need for on-site servers, reducing capital expenditure and providing cost-effective solutions.
Data Security and Compliance: Reputable cloud providers offer robust security measures and compliance frameworks to protect healthcare data. Cloud-based systems adhere to industry standards, such as HIPAA, to ensure data privacy and regulatory compliance.
One example of cloud computing in healthcare is the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems. EHRs store and manage patients’ medical records in a cloud-based environment, allowing healthcare providers to access and update patient information securely from anywhere with an internet connection.
Cloud-based EHR systems offer several benefits, such as:
Centralized Data Storage: Patient records, including medical history, test results, medications, and treatment plans, are stored in a centralized cloud-based system. This enables authorized healthcare professionals to access and update patient information in real-time, promoting care coordination and reducing the risk of data duplication or loss.
Accessibility and Mobility: Cloud-based EHRs provide healthcare providers with the flexibility to access patient data using various devices, including computers, tablets, or smartphones. This mobility allows physicians to review patient records and make informed decisions even outside of the traditional hospital setting, improving efficiency and patient care.
Collaboration and Interoperability: Cloud computing enables seamless data sharing and collaboration among healthcare professionals and different healthcare organizations. Authorized users can securely exchange patient information, share diagnostic reports, and collaborate on treatment plans, leading to better care coordination and improved patient outcomes.
Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud-based EHR systems can easily scale up or down based on the needs of healthcare organizations. This scalability ensures that hospitals and clinics can efficiently manage varying workloads, accommodate increasing patient volumes, and adapt to changing technological requirements.
Security and Data Protection: Reputable cloud providers implement robust security measures to protect patient data, including encryption, access controls, and regular backups. Cloud-based EHR systems often comply with healthcare data privacy and security regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ensuring patient information remains confidential and secure.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Cloud-based EHRs offer built-in data backup and disaster recovery capabilities. In the event of system failures, natural disasters, or other emergencies, hospitals can quickly recover patient data and resume operations, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuity of care.
Cloud computing offers several benefits for hospitals and the healthcare industry as a whole. Some of the key advantages include:
Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing reduces the need for hospitals to invest in and maintain their own physical infrastructure. Instead, they can pay for the resources they use on a flexible, pay-as-you-go basis. This cost-effective model can help healthcare organizations optimize their IT spending.
Scalability: Hospitals often experience fluctuations in demand for IT resources. Cloud computing allows them to easily scale up or down their computing resources based on the current needs. This scalability ensures that hospitals can handle varying workloads efficiently.
Data Storage and Management: Cloud providers offer secure and compliant data storage solutions. Hospitals can securely store patient records, medical images, and other healthcare data in the cloud. This enables easy access to critical information, even from remote locations, fostering collaboration among healthcare professionals.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery: Cloud computing ensures automatic data backups and disaster recovery options, safeguarding against data loss due to system failures or disasters. Hospitals can quickly recover their critical data in case of emergencies.
Interoperability and Integration: Cloud platforms facilitate seamless integration with other healthcare systems, making it easier to share data across different departments or institutions. This interoperability can lead to better care coordination and improved patient outcomes.
Enhanced Security: Reputable cloud providers invest heavily in robust security measures and compliance standards. This can provide a higher level of data security and privacy protection than what many hospitals can achieve on their own.
Advanced Analytics and AI: Cloud computing enables hospitals to harness the power of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) for medical research, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Cloud-based AI solutions can analyze large datasets and provide valuable insights to healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine and Remote Care: Cloud computing facilitates the adoption of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring solutions. Healthcare providers can interact with patients virtually, extending medical services to underserved areas and increasing accessibility to healthcare.
Faster Innovation and Updates: Cloud providers continually update and enhance their services, giving hospitals access to the latest technologies and innovations without the need for manual updates.
Regulatory Compliance: Reputable cloud providers offer HIPAA-compliant solutions, helping hospitals adhere to data privacy and security regulations required in the healthcare industry.
Hospitals and healthcare organizations typically use a combination of private, public, and hybrid clouds, depending on their specific needs and requirements. Each type of cloud offers distinct benefits and considerations.
Private Cloud: Private clouds are dedicated to a single organization and are hosted either on-premises or by a third-party provider. Hospitals may opt for private clouds to have more control over their data and infrastructure, addressing concerns regarding security and compliance. Private clouds offer enhanced customization, scalability, and privacy, making them suitable for organizations with sensitive healthcare data and stringent regulatory requirements.
Public Cloud: Public clouds are shared resources provided by third-party cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Public clouds offer scalability, cost efficiency, and a wide range of services. Hospitals can leverage public clouds for non-sensitive applications, such as email services, collaboration tools, or non-patient-specific data storage and processing.
Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid clouds combine elements of both private and public clouds, allowing hospitals to benefit from the advantages of both models. This approach enables healthcare organizations to keep sensitive and critical data on a private cloud while leveraging the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public clouds for less sensitive workloads. Hybrid clouds provide flexibility, enabling hospitals to utilize public cloud resources for certain applications or services while maintaining control over critical data.
The future of cloud computing in healthcare holds great potential for transformative advancements. Here are some key aspects that highlight the future trajectory of cloud computing in the healthcare industry:
Interoperability and Data Exchange: Cloud computing will continue to play a vital role in enabling seamless data exchange and interoperability among various healthcare systems, providers, and stakeholders. This will facilitate comprehensive patient care by allowing the integration and sharing of electronic health records (EHRs), medical images, and other healthcare data across different platforms.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): The integration of cloud computing with AI and ML technologies will drive advancements in healthcare analytics, predictive modeling, and decision support systems. Cloud-based AI and ML solutions will enable the analysis of vast amounts of healthcare data, supporting personalized medicine, early disease detection, and improved treatment outcomes.
Internet of Medical Things (IoMT): The proliferation of connected medical devices and wearables will generate substantial amounts of data. Cloud computing will provide the infrastructure and capabilities necessary for securely storing, analyzing, and leveraging IoMT-generated data, enhancing remote patient monitoring, preventive care, and population health management.
Telemedicine and Virtual Care: Cloud computing will continue to be instrumental in supporting telemedicine and virtual care services. The scalability, accessibility, and real-time data exchange facilitated by cloud platforms will enable healthcare providers to deliver remote consultations, monitor patients remotely, and ensure continuous care delivery.
Precision Medicine and Genomic Research: Cloud computing will remain crucial for managing and analyzing genomic data, supporting precision medicine initiatives. Cloud-based platforms will offer the computational power and storage capacity needed for large-scale genomic sequencing, data sharing, and analysis, leading to advancements in personalized treatments and therapies.
Data Security and Privacy: As healthcare data becomes increasingly digitized and accessible through the cloud, ensuring robust security measures and maintaining patient privacy will be paramount. Cloud providers will continue to enhance data security features, encryption techniques, and compliance frameworks, addressing concerns related to data breaches and regulatory requirements.
Edge Computing: The integration of cloud computing with edge computing technologies will enable faster processing and analysis of healthcare data at the network edge. This will be particularly beneficial for real-time applications, remote monitoring, and time-sensitive medical interventions.
Collaboration and Research: Cloud computing will foster collaboration among researchers, clinicians, and healthcare organizations by enabling secure data sharing, joint analysis, and collaborative research initiatives. Cloud-based platforms will facilitate the sharing of anonymized data sets, promoting scientific discoveries, and accelerating medical breakthroughs.