Cloud Computing in Healthcare: 9 Benefits of Cloud Computing 
Article
Cloud & DevOps Healthcare
Cloud Computing in Healthcare: 9 Benefits of Cloud Computing 
Cloud Computing in Healthcare: 9 Benefits of Cloud Computing 
Article
Cloud & DevOps Healthcare

Cloud Computing in Healthcare: 9 Benefits of Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is making a big splash in healthcare. Already, 70% of health IT professionals say their organizations are using cloud solutions, and another 20% plan to join them within two years. This shows how fast cloud adoption is growing in healthcare. 

The reason behind this shift is clear. Cloud computing can solve problems that are either impossible or too expensive to solve with traditional computing. It offers quick, efficient solutions on a scale we’ve never seen before. Thanks to these advantages, the value of cloud technology in healthcare is expected to hit $89 billion by 2027. 

Continue reading to uncover the main advantages of cloud computing in healthcare. We’ll show how it’s revolutionizing the sector by establishing new benchmarks in efficiency, scalability, and innovation. 

What is Cloud Computing in Healthcare? 

Let’s start from the top, so what is cloud computing? In a word, it’s an on-demand delivery of computing resources, such as data storage, servers, databases, networking capabilities, and applications, over the Internet (“the cloud”) by a cloud services provider. This means, that instead of having to invest in the on-premises equipment, training special staff, and then dealing with maintenance, a healthcare organization can leave it to cloud providers to take care of it.    

For a good reason, the applications are much easier to handle when based on serverless architecture. Paying a third party instead of investing in your own on-premises infrastructure sufficiently lowers the IT costs. At the same time, it allows scalability at a greater price, since the company won’t need to pay for the capacity they are not using and can easily scale up or down, as needed. Another competitive advantage of the cloud – is the speed of innovation (I.e., building prototypes or new product features faster).    

The application of cloud computing in healthcare has been gaining a lot of traction recently. Whether it’s a part of the organization’s strategic vision of adopting digital transformation or a pressing need due to the changing environment. But if applied correctly, the role of cloud computing in the healthcare department can be quite prominent.

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But most importantly, what makes the cloud especially appealing today, is its security. Compared to on-premises, the cloud is considered a more secure option. A new McAfee report reveals that 52% of organizations experience better security in the cloud than on-premises IT environments. Gartner predicts that in the event of a security issue, 95% of them will be the customer’s fault. Thus, making the cloud also the safest choice. 

Cloud Computing as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation 

With all that cloud has to offer, it is no surprise that it’s at the forefront of digital transformation. And the global Covid pandemic has even further accelerated customer demand for cloud services.    

By the end of 2019, many tech experts had already been placing their bets on the cloud to lead the tech trends in the following year. But no one could have predicted back then just how impactful it would become in 2020.    

The agility and scalability that the cloud has to offer came especially in handy when organizations across various industries were faced with the new reality. In the first quarter of 2020, cloud spending reached $29 billion, which is 37% higher than over the same period in the previous year. And, of course, it was nowhere near slowing down, as the unexpected mass demand for virtual work had to be backed by secure, reliable, scalable, and naturally, cost-effective off-premises services. While overall, the IT spending in 2020 was on the decline, business was blooming more than ever for the cloud providers with a 19% projected growth, according to Gartner, among a total decline in other sectors of IT spending.    

Of course, even before the pandemic, the strategic shift to more flexible pay-as-you-go solutions was on the table for many companies, the Covid-19 crisis only further facilitated this shift.    

How Is Cloud Computing Enhancing Healthcare?  

Like with many others, the application of cloud computing in the healthcare industry is driving a positive change in numerous ways. Whether it’s to reduce costs and to be able to focus on mission-critical activities by opting for off-premises infrastructure or to tap into highly flexible and customizable services by leveraging cloud storage and computing capabilities. 

Market-Share-Of-Healthcare-Cloud-Computing

According to a recent report, the market of healthcare cloud computing is projected to grow from $28.1 billion in 2020 to $64.7 billion by 2025, at 18.1% annually during the forecast period. This growth of the cloud in healthcare can be attributed to numerous factors, such as digitalization, technical upgrading, and improving the services and care process. But, of course, like with many other industries in 2020, mass cloud adoption is largely dictated by the Covid-19 crisis and the new reality.    

Such features as seamless data storage and backup, as well as the ability to scale up or down, are especially valuable in these uncertain times. But perhaps one of the most valuable assets of cloud technology is in online medical consultations. Social distancing dictates its rules and patients with mild symptoms or trivial medical issues are advised against visiting hospitals and instead to opt for remote consultations via phone calls or video conferencing. This will also likely increase the medical cloud computing market.  

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But perhaps, not all healthcare providers are equally ready for mass cloud adoption. A new study, “FutureCare: Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, and Social Optimize the EMR”, reveals that while many providers plan to adopt these technologies in the next two years, at the moment about 96% of healthcare organizations admit that their infrastructure is not fully prepared for the evolution of their Electronic Medical Records (EMR). But on a brighter note, the adoption has been put into motion, with two-thirds of healthcare providers already using the cloud. The majority are running their EMR applications in private clouds (49%), followed by hybrid and public cloud models (35%). The application of cloud computing can help optimize EMR and improve patient care coordination. However, this is only one of the many benefits of cloud computing in healthcare. 

The 9 Main Advantages of Cloud Computing for Healthcare 

Cost-Effective Data Management   

The volumes of digital data that healthcare providers are generating are growing each year. These include Electronic Medical Records, lab tests, prescriptions, and insurance claims. Cloud computing services can help effectively manage these large volumes of data. In this instance, choosing on-premises storage might not be a sound solution. It requires sufficient investments in IT infrastructure as the data load increases. Cloud computing provides larger storage as your data increases. Equally important, cloud-based analytical tools can make more use of data and turn it into actionable insights.    

Accelerated Time-to-Market for Medical Services   

2020 has been an unprecedented year in many respects. Time was a critical factor in battling the pandemic and building new hospitals, delivering the vaccine on the market, or arranging a safe way of mass testing. Cloud computing is something to be relied on to facilitate delivering important tech solutions on the market faster. For instance, When Spoedtestcorona, a chain of testing centers offering rapid screening tests for COVID-19, was working on providing safe and affordable testing in the Netherlands and Belgium, they were faced with a challenge to deliver a cross-platform web application on a tight schedule. The app was going to minimize human interaction and make testing safe for both patients and medical personnel. By choosing Amazon Web Application services, they were able to deploy the app in the record 2-week deadline, as well as meet high compliance requirements associated with handling personal and medical data.    

Enhanced Accessibility through Telehealth   

Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technologies to access healthcare services remotely and enhance and manage healthcare delivery and support.     

Cloud computing solutions have numerous ways of positively impacting telehealth. The instantly scalable capabilities of the cloud come in handy in unprecedented situations, such as say a global pandemic. Presently, cloud-based telehealth is playing a crucial role in trying to keep the patient load under control by providing medical assistance to patients with mild or medium symptoms at a distance, instead of hospitals. And thus, once again reducing crowds in hospitals and infection rates.    

Improving Patient Experience    

With the help of cloud computing, doctors and hospitals now have the power to increase patient engagement and give them anywhere anytime access to their medical data, test results, and even doctor’s notes. This gives patients more power and control, as well as making them more educated about their medical conditions.    

Additionally, it offers a new level of safety for patients and keeps them from being overprescribed or avoiding unnecessary testing, as doctors can access the history of medical records.   

Boosting Collaboration in Healthcare    

The implementation of cloud solutions sufficiently boosts collaboration. By storing Electronic Medical Records in the cloud, patients no longer need to have separate medical records at each doctor they visit. Instead, doctors can share information, see the results of previous interactions with other specialists, and even share information. This not only saves time for both patients and their doctors but also facilitates more accurate diagnosis and treatment.  

Scalable Computing Resources 

Cloud computing allows healthcare organizations to easily scale their IT resources up or down based on current needs. This flexibility means that during times of increased demand, such as a flu outbreak or pandemic, healthcare systems can quickly access additional computing power and storage. Conversely, during quieter periods, they can reduce resources to manage costs more effectively, ensuring they are only paying for what they use. 

Advanced-Data Security and Compliance 

With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, cloud providers invest heavily in security technologies and protocols to protect sensitive healthcare data. These cloud platforms often offer higher levels of security and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA in the U.S., compared to what individual healthcare organizations could feasibly implement on their own. This includes encryption, network security, access controls, and regular security audits. 

Innovative Health Informatics and Analytics 

Cloud computing enables the aggregation and analysis of vast amounts of health data from disparate sources in real time. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, healthcare providers can gain insights into patient health trends, disease patterns, and treatment outcomes. This capability supports more informed decision-making and personalized care plans, potentially leading to better patient outcomes and more efficient use of healthcare resources. 

Streamlining Administrative Operations 

Cloud-based solutions can significantly reduce the administrative burden on healthcare staff by automating many routine tasks such as patient scheduling, billing, and record-keeping. This automation not only increases efficiency and reduces errors but also allows healthcare professionals to spend more time on patient care rather than administrative tasks. Additionally, cloud services can facilitate smoother communication and collaboration between departments and across care teams, further enhancing operational efficiency. 

With all the benefits of cloud computing in healthcare, there are still some concerns. The biggest being security and privacy. Patient information is considered highly sensitive and there’s a belief that it is safer when stored on-premises compared to the cloud where it is susceptible to cyber-attacks. Additionally, patients are also concerned about the security of the data they share. Which all boils down to the necessity to maintain high-security standards. But all these relate to managed IT services for healthcare and can be solved with the right approach to that. 

Another major concern – is vendor stability, and how reliable they are in the long run. If a vendor goes out of business or stops offering a particular service, this puts important data at risk of being lost.    

The level of IT skills necessary to adopt cloud solutions is also on everyone’s mind. The lack of skilled IT professionals is often cited as one of the barriers to cloud adoption.    

Luckily, these issues can be solved by carefully examining and choosing infrastracture managed services as well as skilled cloud native development service providers that have solid experience and good track records of implementing cloud solutions in the healthcare industry.    

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Accelerated Adoption of AI and Machine Learning 

The healthcare cloud computing market is set to soar from $39.0 billion in 2022 to $91.3 billion by 2028, marking a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.23% between 2023 and 2028. This significant growth is fueled by advancements that facilitate more accurate diagnoses, efficient treatment plans, and overall improved patient outcomes. 

Emphasis on Cybersecurity Investments 

In the last few years, ransomware has become a major threat to the healthcare sector, involved in 54% of incidents. Patient data, including electronic health records, were the most targeted assets, and nearly half of all incidents (46%) aimed to steal or leak health organizations’ data. This worrying trend is expected to persist. To counteract these growing cyber threats, cloud providers are planning to boost their investment in cybersecurity. This means stronger security measures and stricter compliance standards to protect healthcare data more effectively. 

Focus on Data Security  

Blockchain technology has been increasingly used in healthcare cloud computing. It offers a more secure and efficient way to store patient data by creating an immutable record of transactions. This approach enhances data integrity, prevents unauthorized access, and allows for real-time updates, ensuring the accuracy and completeness of patient data. 

Advances in Interoperability and Data Sharing 

The use of cloud medical software has significantly enhanced interoperability among different healthcare systems. This advancement makes it easier to integrate third-party medical applications and access electronic health records, medical histories, appointment schedules and accounts with ease. 

The Rise of Edge Computing in Healthcare 

According to Polaris Market Research, Edge Computing in healthcare is set to grow at a CAGR of 26.30% until 2032. This will enable real-time data processing at the care delivery site for improved patient monitoring and outcomes. This approach complements cloud computing by facilitating low-latency, high-speed data analysis. 

Telehealth and Remote Monitoring’s Next Leap 

Telehealth, powered by cloud technology, is set to break boundaries, making healthcare accessible everywhere. The synergy of wearable technology and cloud computing will enable real-time health data streaming, making proactive patient care a reality. This could cut hospital readmissions by up to 7.6%, marking a new era in managing chronic diseases. 

Revolutionizing Patient Data Analytics 

The future of patient care is personalized, thanks to advanced analytics powered by cloud computing. This will usher in a new age of precision medicine, with treatment plans tailored to individual patient profiles, improving outcomes for chronic diseases and enabling early disease detection like never before. 

5G: The New Frontier in Healthcare 

With 5G, healthcare cloud computing will achieve unprecedented speed and reliability, erasing physical distances in care delivery. By 2030, expect groundbreaking applications such as remote surgeries and instant emergency responses, thanks to 5G’s capacity to handle bandwidth-intensive services effortlessly. 

Augmented Reality: A New Dimension in Healthcare Training 

Recently, the University of California, San Francisco study revealed a 20% reduction in surgical complications when surgeons used AR to visualize complex vascular structures during brain surgery. This shows that cloud-supported AR can revolutionize healthcare training, offering immersive experiences that mimic real-life scenarios. This will significantly reduce training costs and improve learning outcomes, making it an indispensable tool in medical education. 

Wearable Technology: The Future of Preventive Care 

Wearable devices will become even smarter, monitoring health in ways we can barely imagine today. Supported by cloud computing, these devices will offer real-time health insights, fundamentally changing preventive healthcare. The market for these devices is expected to soar, reaching over $428.92 billion by 2030. 

Incorporating these updates will provide a more current and comprehensive view of the role and advantages of cloud computing for healthcare.  

Conclusion 

The application of cloud computing for healthcare can positively impact the industry in numerous ways. From cutting down costs or reducing the time spent to offering organizations much-needed flexibility, scalability, and empowering collaboration between healthcare researchers. The latest reports on the topic show that adopting cloud solutions is something clearly on the table for medical organizations with the main obstacles being either security concerns or a lack of internal technical resources. Choosing the right cloud and healthcare development partner can easily overcome both issues.    

FAQs

In healthcare, cloud computing is employed for storing, managing, and processing health information and applications via the Internet. It supports electronic medical records, telehealth, mobile health apps, and patient engagement platforms, enabling efficient data sharing, improved care coordination, and enhanced operational efficiencies. 

The primary concern with cloud computing for healthcare is ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive health data. Healthcare organizations must protect patient information from breaches and cyber-attacks, requiring compliance with stringent regulations like HIPAA to ensure robust data protection measures are in place. 

Challenges in healthcare cloud computing include data security and privacy concerns, regulatory compliance, interoperability issues, managing costs and resources, potential service downtime, and complexities in data migration. Addressing these challenges requires strategic planning and working with reputable cloud service providers. 

Cloud computing offers healthcare numerous benefits, such as scalability of IT resources, enhanced accessibility for remote care, cost efficiency by reducing infrastructure expenses, advanced analytics and AI capabilities for better disease management, improved collaboration among care providers, and fostering innovation by easing the development and deployment of new healthcare solutions. 

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