Analysing cloud computing and the healthcare industry

Cloud computing has touched many industries and is increasingly being adopted in many ways, from easily accessible data storage to business application solutions and reduction in hardware investment. The healthcare industry is no exception: here we outline some of the ways in which cloud computing can be of benefit in the future.

1. The secure storage of patient records

Doctors and medical staff are bound by oaths, especially with regards to patient confidentiality. Having secure cloud storage is therefore paramount.

The first generation of cloud computing had security issues, however now that these have been ironed out, the cloud is more secure than ever. In the US, hospitals must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

2. Reducing the cost of data storage

Utilising the cloud can save the healthcare service a lot of money. Subscriptions can equate to approximately a 90% saving on hardware investments, especially when you consider hardware can quickly become obsolete, and you need to hire technical staff to operate or repair it.

Cloud computing can also be tailored to the needs of the client making spending more efficient.

3. Granting information access to authorised personnel

One of the main points of the cloud is to be able to share information out and make it accessible. In the case of patient records, it needs to be shared out with relevant people at the same time as being secure.

With the cloud, patients can log into systems to manage prescriptions or appointments and so on. Alternatively, if a patient is critically ill or involved in an accident, doctors can remotely access records or provide data input. This can accelerate the diagnosis and treatment processes considerably, thus potentially saving lives.

4. Reducing data loss risk

A cloud system implemented in the health service would also be updated regularly to ensure security is as tight as possible. If for instance a hacker was trying to access files, the system would detect the breach and increase security.

As the system is on the cloud, such security updates occur without slowing or any downtime. Ideal for a service which needs to be ready at all times.

5. Data accessibility and mobility

Hospitals have traditionally used intranet systems to share data, all of which needs a desktop computer and normally an Ethernet connection.

Cloud hosting
and storage solutions could however make data a lot more mobile and accessible. Various devices could be used to view patient records including tablets, mobile phones and computers without the need for special server permission settings.

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