Despite the fact that the healthcare industry has historically been burdened by outdated systems and tech, and siloed communications, the sector is beginning to embrace cloud technology in earnest. The healthcare cloud computing market is predicted to reach $40 Billion by 2026. Recognizing the need for cloud-based computing in healthcare, big players like Microsoft and Amazon are entering the marketplace and focusing on becoming compliant in order to be able to serve the industry.
In this article we’ll discuss the key benefits of cloud technology, and why it has the potential to transform healthcare and enhance the patient value chain.
The benefits of cloud technology
The rising rates of cloud implementation serve to highlight some of the current problems plaguing the healthcare system. Traditional systems, for example, are fragmented and make communication and file transfer between providers a time-consuming and often onerous task. They’re also costly to implement and maintain, adding to the overhead of a healthcare system that’s already struggling under the weight of ballooning costs.
Cloud technology, by contrast, has many benefits. First and foremost, implementing a cloud system requires far less upfront investment compared to traditional, on-premise and proprietary systems. Cloud technology requires less ongoing maintenance and therefore doesn’t require as many dedicated resources to manage.
Cloud systems are elastic, and are therefore flexible and scalable to the provider’s needs. What’s more, cloud systems operate on a pay-per-use basis, which can result in substantive savings in the long run.
How cloud technology can help transform healthcare systems and patient care
Cloud technology is helping to transform healthcare systems and revolutionize the patient value chain in a variety of ways:
Cloud technology supports sharing
To this point in our history, personal health data has been closely held by individual providers. It’s difficult for patients to access this information when they want it, and it often takes days if not weeks to finally receive records after they’ve been requested. Sharing health records from one provider to another is also a taxing process and often incurs a cost to the patient. None of this represents a particularly patient-friendly process, and siloed records place a burden on providers as well.
Cloud technology supports the sharing of information between providers, which is key to effective and holistic patient care. Increasingly, patients are demanding free and easy access to their own information. Cloud technology helps meet this demand, and it can also ease the strain on legacy systems which are being flooded by an ever-increasing amount of patient data
Cloud-based communications systems power telehealth
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a stark demonstration of how essential telehealth solutions are to a functioning healthcare system. As cities and states mandate social distancing, the risks posed by a crowded waiting room are more evident than ever. Telehealth systems can help keep patients safely at home while still enabling physicians and nurses to diagnose and treat them.
Cloud technology is the engine that will power the essential telehealth systems that we need to effectively care for patients during a pandemic. Even beyond the pandemic, telehealth can help bring care to patients who live in remote areas or have difficulties getting to a physical clinic or doctor’s office.
Connected health devices run on the cloud
Another way healthcare providers are able to treat patients remotely is through the use of connected health devices. With cloud technology in place, these devices can be monitored remotely by physicians, giving them instant access to accurate patient data that informs treatment plans.
The cloud enhances public health initiatives
When patient data is aggregated and stored in the cloud, it can be (securely) accessed by public health departments and research teams. This data can be used for things like early detection of public health issues and proactive recommendations designed to build healthier communities.
Cloud technology will bring efficiency to healthcare systems and empower providers to deliver better patient care. Cloud systems support faster, easier information sharing, power telehealth initiatives and connected devices, and make public health issues easier to identify and resolve proactively.