As a standalone definition, Cloud Computing is the process of storing files, data and records on the internet, rather than on a computer's hard drive or other form of offline storage. Whilst this change to online data storage and information housing has been widely adopted across multiple industries, this switch has one of the greatest impacts on Healthcare professionals.
The Rise of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
The Healthcare industry has not typically been reknowned for keeping up with and catching onto new trends and advances in technology - and with good reason. Healthcare & Hospitals deal in life-or-death situations daily - the consequences of failed technology or errors in an automated process can prove fatal. However, as demands change, and tech solutios grow more innovative and efficient, the Healthcare community has grown to recognise the need for change, and the benefits of digital transformation.
Cloud has several characteristics:
IT, from infrastructure to applications, is delivered and consumed as a service over the network
Services operate consistently, regardless of the underlying systems
Capacity and performance scale to meet demand and are invoiced by use
Services are shared across multiple organizations, allowing the same under-lying systems and applications to meet the demands of a variety of interests, simultaneously and securely
Applications, services, and data can be accessed through a wide range of connected devices (e.g., smart phones, laptops, and other mobile internet devices)
But how does this apply to Healthcare in particular?
5 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing for Healthcare
1. Collaboration & Knowledge-Sharing
The ability to share data could prove transformative on its own in Healthcare. Using cloud computing, medical professionals are able to host information, analytics and diagnostics remotely - this allows other professionals around the world to immediately access information and research. This results in more informed diagnoses, faster prescriptions, and up-to-the-second updates that could save lives.
2. Improved Medical Research
Following on from #1, wider knowledge-sharing and easier access to the latest data can greatly improve and speed up the research process. With data provided from multiple fields and sources, analysts are able to pool this information and produce clearer, more reliable results, to further healthcare research.
3. Remote Reach in Times of Disaster and Lack of Resources
The rise of wearable devices and remote information storage allows doctors to monitor patient conditions remotely - rather than continuous check-ups, this constant remote monitoring lowers hospital costs (check ups only occur when absolutely necessary), immediate remote consultations, and even remote prescriptions, when the correct information can be monitored.
5. Lower Costs and Easier Storage
Open-access and knowledge-sharing, along with remote data storage, allows even the smallest of hospitals to access information that allows them to provide the best possible care.