Businesses in numerous industries have made the move to the cloud, while others still hold onto security concerns. These concerns are especially prevalent in the healthcare industry, due to its sensitive, private patient data. In the past, the industry has let innovation pass it by due to these worries, but it seems that the cloud has finally matured enough. As cloud security strengthens, healthcare can finally take advantage of the efficiency and cost savings of the cloud.
Let’s start with a very practical benefit of cloud computing for healthcare: efficiency. A workday in this industry is hectic, but the cloud can streamline business operations through accessibility and cloud-based clinical applications. The cloud helps make the day-to-day tasks of running a healthcare organization easier. The industry is complicated enough without all the paperwork and processing. Tasks like submitting prescriptions and refills, filling out forms or simply pulling up patient records will be completed much quicker and electronically. Data and applications can be securely accessed from any device, in any location when they are moved to the cloud. This means that doctors don’t need to spend hours in the office after the work day is over. They can continue working, if necessary, from the comfort of their own home through authorized Internet access to the data and applications. The necessary data is in reach at all times, rather than stuck in a stack of paper or accessible through a singular computer at the office. This allows healthcare professionals to manage their practice in new ways and better connect with their patients and colleagues. The cloud allows for easier collaboration between other healthcare professionals and organizations. Patient data, like test results, can be easily shared with a different healthcare provider that might need it. This not only saves time on the business side, but also on the patient side. Rather than getting an X-ray done twice, the patient and secondary healthcare organization can simply refer to the secure digital files provided by the dentist.
This scenario brings us to cost savings. Cloud savings will trickle down to patients, who won’t have to endure paying to have the same test done twice when they need to see different doctors or lose the paper copy. This has an immediate impact on the patient experience, and is a step in the right direction.
For the healthcare provider, the savings are much larger than this. The organizations can stop storing enormous, inefficient and inflexible equipment on-site. Not only is this equipment extremely expensive, but it also takes time to maintain – and in the medical industry, time can make all the difference. The costs and responsibilities of purchasing, housing, installing and managing the infrastructure needed to power computing and security are transferred to the cloud provider, moving the organization from a Capex to Opex model. Additionally, the cost of new software is lowered substantially as these programs can be directly purchased through the cloud, helping practices avoid costs of licensing, installations and upgrades. Instead, the cloud provider offers applications on a subscription basis and implements updates as they are available, ensuring that the organization is constantly working with the latest version.
The huge, upfront capital expenditures aren’t worth it unless a business truly uses the resources every single day, at their full capacity. It can be hard to predict what you will need in the future, and with cloud computing, you don’t have to. Businesses pay on an as-needed basis, receiving the resources they need on-demand. This operational expense model is extremely scalable, allowing healthcare providers to add or subtract cloud services as necessary. In an industry that constantly builds up data, a flexible and scalable solution like this is perfect. Rather than investing in new equipment and storage space, the organization simply scales the cloud service up.
And now for the one thing that has stood in between healthcare providers and the cloud – security. In recent years, cloud security has drastically improved. Cloud providers today are offering greater security than many organizations can provide themselves. After all, what’s the point of the other cloud benefits if the solution isn’t reliable? With traditional computing, security breaches occur due to the simplest occurrences, like loss of a laptop or data being discovered in emails. Healthcare organizations, large and small, can experience world-class security through the cloud that will prevent these situations and more.
The quality will largely depend on the provider, but a leading provider like RapidScale offers high levels of security. Not only will data and applications be backed up in the cloud, where they cannot be physically harmed, but we also own and manage redundant and geographically diverse Tier 3 Class 1 data centers. These facilities hold the infrastructure that powers the cloud solution. They are equipped with both physical and network security measures, including encryption, firewalls, biometric scanners, key card protocols and more. If one facility fails, another will pick up where it left off, leaving you with uninterrupted cloud service. We meet and exceed the majority of industry standards and regulations. Cloud computing will eliminate the risks of hosting on-site infrastructure and storing excessive amounts of paper records. Despite what some still believe, the cloud can help healthcare improve security.
The benefits of the cloud for the healthcare industry are clear. It has grown so much in past years that privacy and compliance concerns are no longer good excuses. Cloud computing frees up time and money for healthcare providers that can now be focused on improving medical care. While the move will require research and planning, RapidScale is a good place to start. We can explain the benefits of our cloud solutions in depth and provide you with the assurance you need to get started with the service. Keep up with technology and bring innovation to your healthcare organization with the cloud.