Healthcare is one of the industries moving quickly towards cloud computing. The predictions say that the market will reach more than $11 billion by 2022. The vision in which AI solutions like Alexa will be involved in communication with patients is closer to the reality then we think!
Cloud Computing provides almost infinite computing power and data storage with many additional microservices like relational databases, virtual networks, backup solutions or tools supporting AI and business intelligence.
Having the data in the Cloud means secure and organized records, which are easily accessible by the operators.
Cloud Computing offers reliability, redundancy and high flexibility with the possibility of scaling the resources.
It is easy to track users’ behavior and analyze big data, providing deep insight and protecting the records.
What is it all about?
To simplify, Cloud can be described as a server room you cannot touch which you can manage only remotely. The data storage is a functionality that covers only up to 10% of the Cloud’s potential usage. The remaining 90% is about other services like relational database service, network (virtual networks, VPN), backup or GPU (graphical processor). This solution gives enormous possibilities now to everyone which means you don’t need to be a big company to use Cloud services to store, program and manage the servers over the Internet.
All of that in an incredibly accessible way, with possibilities to use scalability and flexibility as well as repeatability. But the functionalities of the Cloud go much beyond that – business intelligence with big data analysis, voice, video and text recognition services or Artificial Intelligence are steps further to provide more advanced solutions. In every industry Cloud improves the services quality and cost-effectiveness – it is no different in the healthcare, which though remains a challenging area, especially in terms of digital transformation, because of the number of legacy systems and sensitive personal information.
1. All data in one “place”
Imagine millions of patient records closed in one room – seems risky and almost impossible, but with the Cloud Computing it is a reality. All the data in well–designed cloud environment, even if majority of it is protected and sensitive, are stored and managed in consistent “place” which means nothing can get lost or become forgotten. All the records are clean and up-to-date.
Still, this solution can rise the common concern and questions about the data security. What every Cloud provider do to secure the data is to set policies and procedures to assure that the right people get the timely access to accurate data. All to make sure that the records won’t be used in a wrong way.
In Healthcare industry there are lots of examples where Cloud solutions was successfully used. The ability to deliver multiple services over one unified network provides work agility. The advantage lays also in the possibility to access it without having any requirements towards user’s hardware and software which makes the process smooth and efficient and at the same time brings significant cost savings. This benefit both medical staff, which work becomes much easier, and patients who get better services and can feel the improvement in their journey.
2. Flexibility as you grow
As mentioned above – the economic benefits can be huge, and it is mainly caused by Cloud flexibility and amount of additional microservices available. What does it mean in practice? You pay for the usage, on demand, and you can scale the resources.
In addition, Cloud solutions lower the cost of staff resources, therefore there is no need anymore for additional healthcare providers who have IT skills, especially within SaaS solutions, in which huge responsibility is on the Cloud provider’s side. The flexibility lays also in real-time, remote access to applications and data which can be also of a huge help in medical training.
Cloud solutions are a core component in scaling medical education, enabling course directors to share the same curriculum with all of their students and take advantage of standardized international courses. Proficiency-based performance assessments are also tracked using VirtaMed simulators, giving course directors a real-time quantitative view of their students’ progress via the cloud. Using machine learning algorithms, this data can be analyzed to optimize learning pathways for individual students. There is a need to have equipment up and running in high-pressure hospital environments. With cloud technology, suppliers such a VirtaMed can remotely monitor their systems and take measures to ensure uptime, maintain equipment reliability and deploy updates in a more agile way. – underlines Benjamin Grauer, Product Owner at VirtaMed, Cybercom’s partner.
3. Better insight into the user behavior
As previously underlined, Cloud is not only a repository, a drive for all the data – but it opens a bunch of new opportunities like getting a picture of how people use the systems, who is accessing the files and why. This helps to monitor constantly the data security as it shows unknown visitors or strange behaviors. Nearly one-third* of cyberattacks on medical records in the last year have the source within the organization and its employees. Using Cloud based solutions it can be easily trackable and stopped by blocking the user’s access to the files in the contrary of the traditional solutions like in-house unprotected servers or file cabinets.
Analytic possibilities of the Cloud can improve the patients’ situation since usage of intelligent business process management can decrease the medical mistakes, give a vast knowledge which may result in better diagnosis and treatment planning. Potentially with Cloud solutions doctors can get the access to huge amount of high-quality information, so that could be easy to find unusual diseases in patients, getting at the same time information about all the cures for the disease and knowledge of other similar cases in the world. Cloud-connected systems can enable also medical devices to store, collect and share data for patients. Wearable technology is one of the solutions that are supported this way.
Cloud enables Empatica to collect and analyze data from wearable technology almost in real-time. This means users can keep track of their rest and physical activity, and review daily insights, at any given moment. Moreover, since an Embrace user and their caregivers are also connected through the cloud, this real-time data transfer means when the user is in need of help, cloud helps first response be as fast as possible.” – underlines Maurizio Garbarino, co-founder and Chief Software Architect of medical wearables company – Empatica.
Efficiency through technology
Healthcare industry stands before huge challenge – less resources both in staff and finance and more expectations towards digitized services. How to deliver quality, cost-effective solutions? Cloud Computing is the answer, within its possibilities rendering the processes more efficient, decentralized and focused on improvement of patient’s experience. This technology must be ensured within organizational transformation, digitalization which needs to be supported by external experts. Finding a proper IT partner to introduce Cloud into healthcare organization will provide efficient and secure solutions.
About the Author: Wojtek Kubiak
IT-related for over 90 years, responsible for the IT department at Cybercom for over 10 years. In the past 4 years a consultant in the security department responsible for infrastructure audits and pentests.
Wojtek started his adventure with Cloud in 2014 and his first projects were connected with the migration of both customer solutions and Cybercom to the cloud.
For several years, he has been managing the Cloud department, which deals with customer support and advises AWS and Azure public clouds.
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