Featured article by Tom Ricardo
A shift to cloud technology is becoming the norm for healthcare organizations in today’s burgeoning digital market. While some healthcare systems might be reluctant to undergo this transformation, it’s critical to realize the patient benefits. Not only can cloud-based solutions improve patient care, but the advantages provided to your organization are also significant.
It’s important to do your research before making any decisions. Oxford is here to help you.
What Is Cloud Computing in Healthcare?
In the healthcare industry, cloud computing stores, manages, and processes healthcare data that can be accessed online. In other words, the information isn’t stored on-site or hosted via a personal computer. Instead, the cloud offers flexibility to leverage a network of remotely accessible servers to maintain large amounts of data securely.
There are various types of cloud storage available to healthcare providers. And, with the introduction of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Mandate, healthcare organizations across the United States have begun adopting cloud-based healthcare solutions to prevent unauthorized access to patient records and better conform to HIPAA security requirements.
Looking at the Numbers: Is Healthcare Cloud Computing Growing?
Galen Data reported on BCC research, showing that the global healthcare cloud computing market was anticipated to reach $35 billion in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.6%. Other reputable sources compute the CAGR to be closer to 23.18%, but the overall projected monetary numbers remain mostly the same, with Healthcare IT News putting the market expectation at $33.49 billion between 2021 and 2025.
However, many organizations have yet to transform despite the significant stats supporting cloud computing operations in healthcare. In fact, according to Galen Data, results from a 2018 survey found that 69% of participants worked at hospitals without solid plans to move existing data centers to the cloud.
Still, while the transition has been slow to start, the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process, and more have begun making changes that offer increased convenience and quality and decreased costs over time. Health IT Outcomes reported results showing that 35% of healthcare organizations house over 50% of data or infrastructure in the cloud, meaning healthcare is ahead of the curve in cloud adoption compared to other industries.
More recent numbers collected by 129 healthcare decision-makers post-pandemic and reported by Healthcare IT News in August 2022 show:
- 62% of healthcare organizations had more patient interactions
- 76% had more virtual agent interactions due to cloud technology
- 71% moved to cloud contact centers
- 24% planned to move to cloud contact centers in the next two years
The Many Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
Cloud computing has extraordinary and supportive benefits for patients and physicians. A few advantages of utilizing a cloud system are lower costs, greater safety and confidentiality, and better patient treatment through cooperation and compatibility.
Cloud-based healthcare solutions help with the following aspects of the healthcare industry:
- Improved analysis and monitoring of medical data for diagnosing and treating illnesses
- Large amounts of storage for EHRs and radiology images
- Ability to supply instantaneous access to computing services
- Allowing only sanctioned doctors, hospitals, and physicians worldwide to share EHRs, granting fast access to data vital for saving lives and cutting down on duplicate efforts
- Enhanced data analysis
- More accurate tracking of patients’ healthcare data
Cloud computing in healthcare cuts administrative labor, including updating records. It also facilitates remote patient tracking and monitoring and produces new and beneficial insights for healthcare management.
Per Healthcare IT News, “…[moving to the cloud is] the only way to stay relevant and competitive in today’s healthcare market.” Healthcare organizations that were already operating in the cloud or able to digitally transform their operations during the pandemic “were able to easily pivot and continue to deliver services with minimal disruption,” meaning cloud operations offer agility during times of crisis when fast alternatives are needed the most.
7 Most Significant Impacts of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
The benefits of cloud computing in healthcare are clear, but you may wonder what those benefits look like in practice and how best to use it within your health system or organization. There are many ways in which cloud computing can significantly impact your daily operations and processes:
E-Health and Telemedicine
Cloud computing used for e-health involves providing healthcare electronically. This enables doctors to collaborate on complicated medical conditions, such as telesurgery or teleradiology. Such technology allows patients to receive proper clinical care regardless of location, with cloud computing acting as an ICT platform for improved communication between medical professionals and patients.
Cloud solutions for healthcare and telemedicine also help with the following:
- Sharing patients’ medical data in real-time across different geographical locations
- Minimizing unnecessary visits to hospitals, thereby saving time and money
Healthcare Information Systems
The healthcare industry uses cloud-based management information systems to do the following:
- Provide improved patient care
- Deliver better querying services, billing, finance, and human resources
- Develop, test, and deploy these systems
- Enhance speed, collaborative development, integration of the system with other healthcare systems, and cross-platform compatibility
Personal Health Records
Cloud-based programs for Personal Health Records (PHR) allow users to easily access, manage and share data. These programs provide advanced sharing capabilities and control over distributed data. Additionally, they may use protocols like SOAP to enable further mobility or more extensive usage.
Before cloud computing in healthcare, EHRs required experienced programmers and IT professionals to develop customized solutions to fit organizational needs. With the introduction of cloud-based healthcare solutions, providers can now choose from completely customizable options with built-in care plans to better serve patients, practices, and hospitals. Customization of cloud-based for cloud-based solutions is quick, easy, and available for many accessible interfaces and templates used in healthcare.
High Data Storage Capacity
Hospitals and healthcare practices generate digital data daily, including medical files, prescriptions, and lab results. Keeping these records on-site requires buying extra storage capacity to accommodate the growing number of records that must be preserved.
Cloud storage offers unlimited space to keep and efficiently manage large volumes of data. Adding storage is extremely quick and seamless. You will no longer need to purchase storage for your data center, which can become a significant, continuous cost.
Cloud computing in healthcare has a major effect on cost reduction. Expenses can skyrocket when healthcare facilities deal with medical billing systems and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) on-prem. Adopting cloud-based solutions enables healthcare providers to reduce expenditures significantly.
All medical institutions must upgrade records to ensure that storage capacity is available. In addition, they must utilize this space and ensure data security. Though, one benefit is that healthcare providers don’t have to purchase and maintain expensive equipment and systems with cloud technology. Instead, they can solely use the resources of cloud computing. Thereby, healthcare companies can reduce costs by reducing their on-prem footprint.
Cloud computing is based on subscription models. All cloud providers charge you only for the resources you use. Additionally, using cloud computing in healthcare doesn’t necessitate large in-house IT teams, reducing costs for the data center that houses the IT infrastructure requirements.
Cloud computing also provides IT infrastructure needs, with benefits such as improved staff productivity and reduced system downtime.
Cloud computing plays a significant role in drug discovery. Drug discovery necessitates a lot of computing power to uncover different molecules from many chemical arrangements. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers this.
Leveraging the Cloud to Improve Patient Care
Overall, as healthcare is customer-based, healthcare cloud computing companies improve patient engagement and allow them to access their medical information, prescriptions, and test results anywhere. This 24/7 access to personal health data enables patients to better understand their current and past medical conditions. In addition, key features such as quick data sharing via the cloud eliminate unnecessary testing and prevent over-prescription because doctors can instantly access patients’ medical histories.
According to Forbes, the proof of improved patient outcomes with the cloud is already apparent. For example, in May 2022, Forbes Technology Council reported that Intermountain Healthcare’s telehealth program led to a 36.5% reduction in mortality in one year. These results show the importance of leveraging the cloud in healthcare for enhanced patient care.
Partner With Oxford for Healthcare Cloud Solutions
Transitioning to the cloud is often not easy, but if you partner with the right company to help you implement cloud-based solutions, you’ll find that the process is much smoother with little to no disruptions to your day-to-day operations. Oxford Global Resources is a leader in the staffing and consulting industry, having the knowledge and experience to match the right talent to your needs. Our vetted consultants have the expertise to carry out your digital transformation.
At Oxford, we believe in the vast benefits of cloud operations, and we want our clients to have the opportunity to experience the full scope of its advantages without any hassle. We will ensure an efficient transition to keep your hospital running at maximum performance. We will do what we do best so that you can continue to tackle what you do best—improving patient health and saving lives.