What You Need To Know About Healthcare Cloud Computing
In the past several years there has been a radical transformation of the healthcare industry in response to advances in technology as well as government regulations. This transformation was hastened by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. Under this legislation, providers are increasingly being reimbursed under the value-based care model rather than the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) model. In addition, providers are required to document and store records electronically rather than on paper.
Traditionally, healthcare providers and facilities developed their own in-house network infrastructure to meet the technological requirements dictated by the Affordable Care Act. However, due to the high costs of building a physical network infrastructure and some constraints imposed by a physical network, an increasing number of healthcare providers are turning to cloud computing. The global healthcare cloud computing market is growing rapidly with no indication of slowing anytime soon. This market is currently at $19 billion and is expected to reach $44 billion by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.2%.
Benefits of healthcare cloud computing
Some of the ways that cloud computing benefits healthcare providers compared to traditional network infrastructures include:
- Cost: Physical network infrastructures are expensive to build and maintain. Building a network infrastructure can significantly increase a healthcare facility’s capital expenditure. There are costs associated with obtaining a location for the infrastructure, acquiring the necessary hardware as well as software, and hiring skilled personnel to operate and maintain the infrastructure. These additional costs can result in an erosion of profits for a healthcare facility. With cloud computing, these costs are assumed by a third party vendor; the vendor provides and supports the virtual infrastructure. Healthcare facilities simply pay the vendor for the resources used thereby saving a significant amount of money.
- Scalability: One area where cloud computing has a major advantage over traditional networks is scalability. With cloud computing, healthcare facilities are able to easily scale up or down their application use and data storage as needed. There is no concern that they might meet their data storage capacity and run out of space. This is especially important when developing a disaster strategy as frequent data backups may need to be necessary.
- Collaboration: As a result of the shift to the value-based care financial reimbursement model, greater collaboration is required by healthcare providers involved in the care of their patients. This collaboration requires the exchange of data among the providers so that they have the relevant medical information to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. With cloud computing, data exchange is simplified as all relevant providers have access to the information in the cloud. This is in contrast to traditional networks where the medical information may be siloed and not readily available to all providers.
- Analytics: Analytics are usually performed to assess healthcare trends and research into the effectiveness of treatment modalities as well as develop innovative treatment solutions. Effective analytics and research require access to all relevant medical information. Data stored in the cloud provides a central repository that can be accessed by researchers and data analysts to perform their research.
- Improved patient care: Healthcare providers make medical diagnosis and offer treatment options to their patients based on the information available to them. With more medical information, providers can make more appropriate diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Cloud computing provides the ability to gather information from multiple data sources. In addition to the electronic medical record, data can also be retrieved from smartphones, smartwatches, and other medical devices. Having this data stored in the cloud makes it easy for providers to access them when treating their patients, thereby improving their care.
At Otava, we understand the cloud needs of healthcare facilities. We have experts available to work with you in developing a unique cloud solution for your healthcare facility. Contact us today for more information about our services.