Physicians and surgeons in a research center scan through massive amounts of data, sometimes as large as 100 terabytes to come to grips with studies done on cancer.
Such analysis for all practical purposes is possible only on a cloud platform.One medical researcher was apt when he said, “By using a cloud service we can store large files securely with considerable accessibility”.
The above statement forcefully illustrates why healthcare industry’s adoption of cloud is growing aggressively.
Here are three compelling reasons why the above medical research group preferred cloud.
- A cloud platform is secure. It preserves the confidentiality of patient information.
- It is scalable, enabling researchers to work upon, as the data volume grows
- It is collaborative allowing researchers to work with other interested entities.
The days are gone when medical professionals restricted cloud computing use to just email, storage and exchange of patient information.
Now they are embracing the cloud for big data analysis.
A medical researcher pointed out, “We are strongly moving into an era of virtual care or telemedicine, a field that will be the primary platform for patient care by 2020”.
Here is some elementary explanation about what virtual care is – for those who are not familiar with this term.
An example of virtual care is, when a sensor is placed under a patient’s mattress or within a chair sans cables and leads. The sensor monitor’s the vital signs without the doctors having to touch the patient.
This approach is less intrusive, performs continuous monitoring, and provides uninterrupted data in real time to clinicians alerting them of any adverse development in the nick of time.
You can well imagine the amount of data that has to be stored when this approach becomes pervasive in medical care.
In course of time healthcare professionals will use patient empowerment tools, or applications to help them monitor / treat their conditions. Examples are nutrition and glucose monitoring gadgets.
Such gadgets share data wirelessly and hold the promise of managing several conditions effectively.
It is for good reason medical professionals are leveraging cloud to address their needs.
Cloud based applications are superb tools to scale up or down as the demand modifies, and extremely flexible and accessible as well. Collaboration is another area where cloud is helping a lot. Large corporates can partner with smaller companies on business strategies in a secure, agile and a low cost environment. The use of cloud computing is set to explode in the healthcare sector.
There is no going back. There are obvious compulsions on the medical care industry to be collaborative and patient focused.
But the path is strewn with challenges. One of the areas of concern was securing PHI or protected health information.This is passé. Now healthcare organizations increasingly trust the cloud platforms for leveraging solutions.
This is an era where outcomes of any strategy matters most.“We have to evaluate all options, include the cloud to the fullest before we jump in”, says a senior professional in a medical research institute. One of the underlying benefits of cloud computing is the ability to scale up and down as needed.
But to take advantage of such capability, you need the services of a cloud providers who can provide a full array of cloud solutions. The other mandatory requirement is they must also work with the right network provider.
The network provider ideally must operate and maintain a global communications network that has the ability to deliver to the client bespoke solutions. There is no denying that still a lot needs to be done to bring about improvement at the healthcare front.
Many healthcare players are still lagging behind in leveraging the cloud to the fullest. The focus is still confined to payment and reimbursement, back office automation and computerization of medical records.
Here are some areas in medical care where cloud computing can bring about significant change.
Expanding technology across the whole country
The metros in India have medical facilities comparable to the best in the world. But the picture in rural hospitals is somewhat dismal. Rural medical facilities lack even in basic infrastructure leaving alone high technology. This in effect means doctors and nurses in rural hospitals are not familiar with technology. In this area, a lot can be done. Both the government and the private sector can make unceasing efforts to push healthcare technology adoption. Cloud computing can help a lot by making various applications like Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) affordable and easily accessible.
There are other challenges as well.
Most medical facilities have legacy systems that are outdated and inefficient. There could also be shortage of funds to modernize IT infrastructure. Even the people involved could be resistant to change. It is imperative therefore to educate the stakeholders on the benefits of cloud technology. A transformational transition in healthcare industry is the call of the present.