Today cloud computing is a topic of conversation in every industry, but few industries can benefit from it as much as healthcare. It’s becoming more and more evident that cloud computing is a crucial component to the modernization of healthcare information technology (HIT). Cloud computing supports many of the technology requirements of the healthcare industry, including; supporting big data sets for EHRs (electronic heath records), sharing records between different authorized physicians and hospitals, and access to real-time analytics based on stored data which is used to provide better patient care. The challenges of implementing cloud computing arise when dealing with privacy, security, and availability requirements that are imperative in a healthcare setting.
Healthcare is a highly regulated industry; therefore, every technology decision must be considered carefully to avoid the risk of not meeting regulations and requirements. When choosing cloud computing your cloud vendor must conform to all government and industry regulations. Major challenges healthcare companies face with cloud computing are:
- Conforming to HIPAA guidelines—Patient privacy must be protected, data must be secure, and good authentication must be in place.
- Service Reliability—Mission critical apps must meet high performance, availability, and reliability standards; in the healthcare industry this could be a matter of life-or-death.
- Integration and Interoperability—In order to achieve coordinated patient care there must be a reliable exchange of information among healthcare providers and facilities.
If you choose to adopt a cloud computing model you will encounter challenges, but these challenges are not insurmountable and many realize they are worth the benefits cloud computing has to offer.
Cost reduction and service flexibility are among the primary benefits of implementing cloud computing in the healthcare industry. Capital costs are much lower with cloud computing as a result of less investment in infrastructure equipment and less space required storing it. The flexibility comes with services that can be accessed from anywhere at any time and added and removed on-demand. Other benefits include improvements in patient care. Cloud computing is the key to better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. EHRs and EMRs (electronic medical records) are vital to the integrated care approach and having access to this data regardless of location is integral.
Often there are worries over the security of cloud computing, but web-based private clouds are more secure than most local client/server scenarios. There are instances for private, hybrid and public cloud models in the healthcare industry and it is important to do due diligence to make the right decisions from the start. Strict regulations make it of the utmost importance to ensure security and compliance. It is also important to have a great disaster recovery plan in place. At AAI we have professionals who are experts in cloud computing and the healthcare industry. We will help you achieve success with your cloud computing initiatives in the healthcare industry.