The ongoing pandemic has put a massive strain on the healthcare industry to deliver medical aid and care to patients at a rapid pace. The infrastructure of hospitals and health clinics is struggling to bear the burden of the increased number of patients every day. In such a scenario, technology has emerged as the biggest enabler for the healthcare industry by empowering them to give immediate aid to patients through video and audio consultation.
That’s not all, new-age technologies such as cloud and edge computing are letting the healthcare industry share an enormous amount of patients’ data across the system so that urgent care can be made available to the needy at the earliest. As per recent reports, the global market for cloud technologies in the healthcare industry is anticipated to reach 25.54 billion dollars during 2020–2024. Cloud computing is a flexible solution that allows health centers to leverage a network of remotely accessible servers where they can store large volumes of data in a secure way.
Let us look at how cloud computing is empowering the healthcare industry:
Enhanced Collaboration: Cloud computing allows the healthcare industry to store massive amounts of data at a central location. Further, it enables the industry to share this confidential data securely with different stakeholders such as doctors, nurses, and caregivers in real-time. Apart from sharing this data, the cloud also allows these stakeholders to access medical reports and records anytime, and from anywhere. This facilitates remote conferencing, quick updates on healthcare developments, and patients’ conditions.
Access to Big Data Analytics: Major cloud services providers are offering specialized cloud for the healthcare industry to suit industry standards and meet all its requirements. Industry-specific cloud for healthcare is tailor-made to collate and compute all healthcare-related data and further apply Big Data analytics to deliver automation and efficiency on high-value workflows. Since the healthcare industry works with a huge volume of data in terms of patients’ history – not only structured but also unstructured – they need deep data analysis capabilities to turn insights into actions while maintaining stringent guidelines for data protection and security.
Improved Security: Healthcare data needs to stay confidential. The nature of the data held by this industry makes it a lucrative target for cybercriminals. However, the cloud infrastructure maintains an utmost level of security as per the agreed and signed SLAs. Also, the cloud undergoes constant threat detection and penetration testing to identify any security loopholes thereby maintaining highest level of safety and security.
Ease of Interoperability: Interoperability aims at establishing data integrations across the healthcare system, irrespective of the point of origin or storage. As a result of interoperability fueled by cloud adoption, patient data is readily available for distribution and gaining insights to facilitate healthcare planning and delivery.
Cloud computing allows healthcare providers to gain easy access to the patient data collated from numerous sources, share it with the important stakeholders, and give out timely prescriptions and treatment protocols. It also diminishes the distance between the specialists, allowing them to review cases and give their opinion irrespective of the geographical limitations.
Cost Efficient: The most basic advantage of cloud computing is the scalability and flexibility that it offers to its users. Cloud Computing allows users to plan and foresee the discrepancy in the demand cycle and adjust their resources accordingly without incurring any additional expenses. Hence, in the period of surge in demand, an enterprise can scale up computing and network power and when the demand comes back to normal, these resources can be scaled down without any hassle. This flexibility allows enterprises to identify idle resources and optimize their usage, thereby enhancing ROI and bringing in efficiency.
In conclusion, cloud computing still has a long way to go in the healthcare industry. Although it has got the necessary push and wide acceptance due to the outbreak of Covid – 19, it will be interesting to witness how this technology evolves further to solve the complex issues of the industry. The possible integration of cloud computing with other new-age technologies such as AI, RPA, and Big Data Analytics will improve efficiency, and open up multiple avenues for streamlining healthcare delivery.