Importance of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Cloud computing technologies are on the surge within the healthcare industry. Over the last few years, the acquisition of cloud technology has experienced a great upswing. Recent research has shown that the global market for cloud technologies in the healthcare industry is anticipated to reach USD 25.54 billion 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.

Before implementing the cloud, the healthcare domain struggled with operational expenses, infrastructure costs, and hassle-free communication. The use of the cloud, provides an opportunity to the health care environment to improve services for patients, to easily share information, improve operational efficiency, and streamline costs. It makes medical record-sharing easier and safer, automates backend operations, and even facilitates the creation, and maintenance of telehealth apps.

This makes the collaboration between doctors and patients much easier. In the past, doctors might have a separate file for medical records of each patient they visit. Through cloud technology, this information is synchronized and distributed across offices in real-time.

A recent study by BCC Research states that the universal healthcare cloud computing market is predicted to hit $35 billion by 2022, with an annualized rate of growth of 11.6%. Today, almost 83% of the healthcare industry uses the cloud for its business operations.

Impacts of COVID-19 in Healthcare Cloud Computing:

The COVID-19 outbreak has swallowed many lives and businesses on an unrivaled scale. However, if there is one sector that has come out stronger from this event, it would be the cloud computing industry. While many organizations are finding it difficult to run smoothly, the companies that had a cloud infrastructure in place have been operating seamlessly. Cloud computing assists in hassle-free data storage and backup because of its scalability, and also enables one to scale back during hectic days. Moreover, the social distancing measures have mandated patients with mild symptoms to opt for remote consultation.

Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak, most of the hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed with patients. The healthcare industry generates vast amounts of data and the need for sharing patient data across the healthcare system is higher than ever. During this pandemic period, many healthcare providers have opted to provide consultation to patients through video conferencing and phone calls instead of direct visits. This directly results in the growth of the healthcare cloud computing market.

Healthcare analytics is a component of digital healthcare that grasps the data from hospitals, other facilities as well as patient records and diagnoses reports. According to marketing research, the healthcare analytics market in India is predicted to rise to a net worth of INR 47.04 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 20.49% between 2020 and 2025.

The global outbreak of COVID-19, with all its downfalls, has definitely created a positive impact on the healthcare sector, willing those that are stuck with traditional technologies to move ahead. With the healthcare industry showing positive signs, the worldwide healthcare cloud computing market is predicted to grow significantly during the next few years. The introduction of blockchain in cloud computing resolves the inherent cybersecurity issues. However, the implementation of blockchain in the healthcare IT framework will help in attaining greater data security and managing the billing process. Also, blockchain-enabled systems minimize violations during data interchange and offer greater proprietorship to patients with respect to their personal data and health information. As a result, with the growing awareness of the benefits provided by blockchain technology, vendors in the healthcare industry are collaborating with cloud computing companies to develop blockchain-based healthcare management systems.

Cloud-based infrastructure has played a major part in helping clinical researchers and health professionals around the globe to discover a vaccine for coronavirus and it supports experts by getting them the information needed to create a potent antigen. For example, IBM Corporation is taking actions to increase the accessibility of cloud-based AI research assets to clinical experts and researchers involved in the COVID-19 research and treatment.

Oracle has contributed to the coronavirus antibody advancement, playing a crucial role in building cloud infrastructure for clinical preliminaries and helping them utilize the Oracle Clinical Trials Systems to assemble information on COVID-19 medication testing.

Healthcare systems and clinical analysts are utilizing cloud-based data centers for testing medicines and possible antibodies for COVID-19 and it offers a solution to provide several advantages during the COVID-19 vaccine research. During this pandemic, both health professionals and patients are at equal risk of undertaking the infection in medical centers.

Cloud computing in healthcare is cost-effective and quick to deploy along with several other advantages which can prove to be of massive use, especially in times of a pandemic. Hence, we can confidently conclude that cloud-based services offer tremendous support and uplift the health infrastructure by making data more accessible and interoperable.

Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare:

Collaboration: Nowadays healthcare organizations move towards value-based care payment methods, so the coordination between doctors, divisions, and even institutions is essential. Before implementing cloud, obtaining full copies of patient records was a tedious and slow process. But with a reliable cloud infrastructure, all of the record data is centralized, enabling instant access to information anywhere, anytime. Medical providers can transmit the information through a cloud computing server, boosting cooperation, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Data Storage: Cloud computing enables Healthcare organizations to deal with electronic medical records, patient portals, mobile apps, and big data analytics while avoiding additional costs of preserving physical servers.

Scalability: Unlike self-hosted models, cloud infrastructure provides the flexibility to increase or decrease their data storage depending on the patient inflow. This way, healthcare institutions can adjust their infrastructure cost depending on fluctuations and remove unnecessary expenses, which in most cases sums to a huge amount.

Decreased Data Storage and Management Costs: While implementing cloud, doctors, caregivers, and other healthcare providers can access the detailed information of patients from different sources easily, thereby eliminating the need for huge networks and complex security protocols. By hosting their healthcare ERP in the cloud, 88% of healthcare organizations have noticed a 20% drop in infrastructure expenses. Cloud can hold vast amounts of information at a very minimal cost. Since it works on the pay-as-you-go and subscription model, providers only have to pay for those services that they avail.

Enhancing Patient security and Managing Patient care: Nowadays, the adoption of cloud computing in healthcare sectors is increasing rapidly. Major organizations like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have realized that not many hospitals will be able to continue to work with on-premises data centers. So they are certifying their data centers for HIPAA and safe harbor compliance controls. When the data centers are HIPAA certified, we don’t have to manage infrastructure and don’t need an extensive security program in place to be able to manage it.

Improved Backup Capabilities and Protection from Data Loss: Remote cloud deployments can be used to regularly back up hospital data and systems from malware attacks and data hijacking, protecting vital patient information and records from data loss.

Access to True data interoperability: Today, a growing number of healthcare contributors offer IoT-enabled devices to patients and by connecting those devices to a hospital’s cloud system, patient data is quickly transmitted straight to their doctor. This gives medical providers useful insights and access to real-time health monitoring and it enables better care and quicker diagnoses for patients.

Remote Patient care: With new mobile devices being made to monitor a patient’s condition, and even applications on the smartphone making it possible to keep your doctor up-to-date on your condition or get remote moral and medical support, the cloud is helping patients to get high-quality care without ever stepping into a hospital.

Access to New Telehealth Capabilities: Today many healthcare providers are turning to telehealth to connect patients from the comfort of their homes. By migrating existing applications to the cloud, a patient could easily access telehealth services, schedule a visit, pay for the visit, and access test results seamlessly.

Cloud Computing Market in Healthcare:

In the Healthcare industry, cloud computing is growing fast and estimates put its global market value at nearly $10 billion by 2020 and $45 billion by 2023.

According to statistics from Black book market research, healthcare cloud adoption has quickened at a rate of 74%.

Based on the pricing model, the global healthcare cloud computing market is divided into a pay-as-you-go and spot pricing model. The pay-as-you-go model commanded the largest share of the market in 2019. And this model allows healthcare providers to leverage the latest software solutions while keeping operating costs to a minimum.

In terms of the service model, the market is divided into software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Due to its various advantages such as security, the lower total cost of ownership, and faster deployment time, the Saas model has the largest share of the market as of 2019. As this service is hosted by a service provider, it reduces maintenance costs and increases the use of the resources paid for.

On the basis of the deployment model, the healthcare cloud computing market is segmented into public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. The private cloud deployment model is expected to grab the majority of the market share in 2020. The on-premise private cloud provides high-security options and control over the network.

Cloud data service companies that support Healthcare:

NetApp, a hybrid cloud data services company and it delivers data in real time to make clinical operations faster and more efficient through reduced EHR latency, quicker backup and restoration, and easier adaption of data/workload enlargement.

Medsphere, a healthcare IT services company offers a variety of cloud-based solutions for healthcare institutions. Its EHR platform provides service to multiple sectors containing clinical, financial, accounting, nursing, and others.

ClearData, a cloud computing startup whose primary goal is to shift medical data and applications into the cloud which would enable the users to retrieve it over a private and secure internet connection. Since cloud hosting is HIPAA compliant, shielding patients' data from unauthorized access.

Nintex, eliminates paper documents, simplifies the manual processes, and drags important data out of its silos, as a result, it strengthens the overall patient experience and it provides automation services to healthcare industry professionals.

Medable, a medical-grade platform facilitates direct-to-patient healthcare by supporting clinical applications and storing personal health data for clinical contributors and scientists. This platform can be useful for innovators to expand or create mobile and desktop applications.

Carecloud, practice management, and EHR software help healthcare providers to improve their efficiency and enable them to connect directly with patients to provide better care.

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