The healthcare segment is witnessing a healthy growth fueled by an aging population and increased focus on wellness by consumers. The current estimation is 11-17% increase in demand for healthcare resources between 2014 and 2025. Healthcare organizations are meeting this demand by focusing on IT-enabled patient care. Cloud computing seems to in a position of strength to meet and exceed these demands with several organizations migrating their existing applications to the cloud.
While there are several advantages of cloud computing, some healthcare specific trends favoring the cloud are:
- Cloud-based IT solutions for value-based consumerism which rewards healthcare professionals and organizations on the basis of outcome and cost-effectiveness.
- Regulatory compliance requirements that have paved the way for cloud-based electronic healthcare record (EHRs).
- Digitization that has placed the overall control in the hands of consumers, requiring IT modernization with cloud computing at the center. This information-centric approach has ensured seamless collaboration, cooperation and information sharing.
- Healthcare delivery transformation which has helped healthcare to transcend distance, time and local practices. This ensures seamless collaboration in real-time which only cloud-enabled IT can provide.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
- For healthcare providers any innovation should result in business benefits and cost savings can never be undervalued in importance. Cloud computing provides cost flexibility with the potential to reduce costs on an ongoing basis. Capital expenditure allocated to infrastructure can be avoided and this itself becomes a huge cost saving along with cost savings resulting from pay-as-you-use models.
- Benefits, when not related to cost, are often tied to operational efficiency. The cloud offers scalability and the ability to adjust to demand. It offers seamless communication and collaboration advantages which lead to optimized operational efficiency.
- Cloud service providers ensure that their customers benefit from the superior security and their data remains well protected. Cloud service providers offer sophisticated controls including data encryption and access control, avoiding the need to store information on local devices.
- Healthcare functionality is enhanced greatly by cloud services which offer the potential for broad interoperability and integration. Cloud-based services help healthcare systems to remain connected enabling remote access to applications and data.
- Along with functionality enhancement, cloud computing offers new capabilities to implement better ways of working with patients, improve patient care and on a macro level better healthcare management. Cloud services can support healthcare providers’ staff cognitive capabilities to mitigate medical mistakes and minimize errors in judgement.
In the recent past, several healthcare organizations, ranging from small private clinics to large hospitals, solution providers to insurance companies have begun adopting cloud computing. These organizations are reaping the advantages of cloud computing by automating and orchestrating their virtual assets. They are better equipped to mitigate disasters and are reaping the benefits of real-time intelligence. Over and above all this, IoT augmented patient care, cognitive assistance to medical professionals and economies of scale are pushing more and more organizations to opt for the cloud. These benefits extend beyond cost and service level drivers to improved responsiveness with internal business partners and decreased administrative overhead.