Impact of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry
In the past few years, the trend towards adopting cloud computing in the healthcare sector has seen a major rise. The COVID-19 pandemic has further triggered this trend because the need for social distancing has urged physicians and medical sectors to re-design the interaction approach between patients and doctors, set up telehealth setups, and similar others. As per the research, the worldwide cloud adoption in the healthcare sector is projected to rise by $25.54 billion in 2020-2024. Besides that, the trend towards telehealth has also surged significantly with the pandemic. Overall, cloud computing is setting up solid roots in the healthcare sector. This article will shed light on the impacts and benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare sector.
Cloud Computing & Healthcare Industry Transformation
Adopting cloud computing has benefits both for healthcare providers and patients. It doesn’t just let healthcare providers reduce the storage cost, but also enables them to provide premium quality personalized services. Following are the six key points presenting the benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare sector.
- Significant Cost Reduction
One of the major benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare sector is computing cost reduction. Cloud provides on-demand continuous accessibility of computer resources, such as cloud data storage, computing power, etc. The healthcare provider does not have to spend on purchasing hardware, servers, and similar other computing products. Along with that, a healthcare provider is going to pay only for the resources it is using with no up-front charges. Therefore, it significantly reduces the cost.
In addition to just usage-based charges, cloud computing also provides an excellent scalability environment. When hospitals are generating a tremendous amount of data, such as patients’ records, medical inspection data, healthcare apps data, and similar others, the scale of cloud storage and computing can be enhanced quickly with manageable costs.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Healthcare is one of those sectors where AI is meant to bring wonders. In the present times, when healthcare professionals are our frontline soldiers against COVID-19 and with the growing complexity of medical data, AI and ML can facilitate greatly in quick decision making and enhanced medical services. Most of the cloud services today are deploying AI and ML in their infrastructures, which is helping healthcare providers to easily incorporate AI into their main healthcare operations and smoothly manage the unprecedented amount of data.
- Data Loss Prevention
For many decades, the healthcare sector has used paper-based storage systems to store medical records. Later, it started to digitalize in the form of digital copy typed on the computer and stored on an on-premises local database. But both these types of data storage are vulnerable to data loss. For example, imagine a situation of natural disaster, hardware malfunction, software failure, virus attack, and similar others.
In all such cases, data loss is inevitable. But it is totally the opposite story with cloud computing. Cloud computing means no need for on-premises local storage, as all the data is stored remotely on the off-site provider’s server. In addition, most of the cloud providers replicate the data to make backup copies and save them at two different locations. This way, there are almost zero chances of any kind of data loss that could occur. So, the healthcare sector can get uninterrupted 24/7 access to data.
- Big Data Analytics
Cloud means freedom of data storage space. It is capable to store all kinds of patient records, medical procedures, and all other statistics. In addition, healthcare providers can also utilize such big data for enhanced analytics. For example, research from the University of Florida developed health-focused heat maps that presented those areas in Alachua County, Florida where there were more chances of certain health issues. The researchers developed heat maps by combining big data and Google Maps. Such heat maps enabled the authorities to provide better healthcare to those areas and allocate resources accordingly. This research was possible because of the adoption of cloud computing in healthcare. So, when healthcare providers start adopting cloud computing rigorously, then more sophisticated big data analytics will bring revolution in the medical world.
This is a digital era where collaborating with one another has become quite easy, such as virtual team meetings, file sharing, etc. The same is needed in the healthcare sector where physicians, nursing staff, and departments can collaborate with one another easily. With cloud computing, it becomes much easier to share specific records, results, and other medical data. In addition, cloud services also facilitate secure data sharing where only authorized personnel can access the data. Therefore, cloud computing in the healthcare sector is a boost towards a collaborative environment.
There are many benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare sector, but one major benefit is the possibility of telehealth. With cloud storage, data is accessible remotely, while patients also get access to all their medical care, tests, and results in an organized way. This addresses many problems of the present time, such as post-hospitalization care, telemedicine, virtual care, etc. It helps doctors to access all the past patient’s medical records instantly, while patients are able to share their medical history with multiple doctors easily. Besides that, the recent market analysis by Frost & Sullivan has also mentioned that the adoption of telehealth has been fast-tracked for around two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no doubt that cloud computing has a lot to offer to the healthcare sector. Cloud computing promises digital advancements that healthcare providers need in the present era. But healthcare providers must ensure that they choose the right cloud service provider. An ideal cloud service provider follows all the data security and privacy regulations and provides premium services, excellent customer support, cost-friendly rates, and many more. In a nutshell, cloud computing in the healthcare sector is a must today, but make sure to pick the right one to harness the complete benefits of cloud computing.