The health care field does not always adopt the latest technologies as quickly as the enterprise space, given the sensitive nature of patient data. Organizations in this field must be sure this information is safeguarded at all times to avoid experiencing breaches that may lead to severe compliance fines from stiff industry regulations.
Cloud computing has very much followed this slow adoption model, but it appears health providers are warming up to the idea of implementing cloud environments. Healthcare Global's Stephanie Ocano recently detailed the benefits of the technology when introduced into this market.
Medical imaging in particular stands to take full advantage of cloud services. Ocano noted organizations can leverage the cloud to store and share large files among physicians, ultimately improving data access speed and efficiency.
"Widening access to health care means companies need greater agility to adapt to change at high speed and low cost, and cloud computing can solve this. The demand to reach, engage and manage millions of individual end-customers calls for more powerful systems. At the same time, this flood of patient data needs to be securely shared with healthcare providers," Ocano explained.
Cloud is crucial for electronic medical records migration
The health care field is currently experiencing a monumental shift from paper recordkeeping to electronic medical documents. This transition may be large in scope, but the cloud could be just what the industry needs to make the switch. Ocano believes EMR applications and secure text messaging will become more SaaS-based entities moving forward.
But what about security? Organizations that have yet to make the leap to the cloud often cite this concern as the primary reason behind their unwillingness to adopt the technology. However, this fear may be somewhat overblown, given that vendors offer proper safeguards to keep content safe.
Ocano indicated service providers include encryption services and tokenization solutions to secure any information shared between groups. Before adopting a cloud environment, health organizations should make sure the vendor and themselves understand the security responsibilities of the partnership.
Use of cloud in health care just getting started
Cloud computing may be a widespread solution across various industries but this is not the case with the health market. This suggests many organizations will be first-time adopters in the near future, so they will need to have a clear plan in place to make the most informed decisions regarding the use of the technology. Relying on paper records is simply not supportive of today's fast-paced operations in which employees need access to data anywhere at any time.
A Porter Research survey discovered a majority of health operations still rely on paper despite the fact that the cloud is available. What is not surprising, however, is that the technology is still expected to greatly influence the industry.
Cynthia Porter, president of Porter Research, asserted the findings of gaming-changing solutions in the health field were "eye-popping."
"For instance, how revealing was it that 58 percent of the nation's leading healthcare execs place a high importance in cloud-based technologies even though the industry is still greater than 70 percent paper-based?" Porter asked.
Health providers interested in adopting the cloud can benefit greatly from using migration tools such as RISC Networks CloudScape to identify any issues that may occur before launching a service. The solution includes a benchmark to gauge the workloads and server performance to help users achieve a successful implementation from the start. What's more is that the suite makes it easy for organizations to compare the very best cloud environments on the market to make the most informed decision possible.