Cloud computing has transformed digital infrastructure and business operations across many industries even in healthcare. Healthcare cloud computing is a fast-growing technology every healthcare provider should be aware of. According to Gartner’s report, the global public cloud revenue is projected to reach a total sum of 278 billion dollars by 2021. This figure indicates that organizations are investing heavily in cloud technology.
Why should health providers adopt cloud technology in delivering health care services?
This article highlights cloud computing services, benefits and risk mitigation strategies specific to the health care industry.
WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING?
Cloud computing involves accessing servers, network and storage data from the internet. Cloud service providers provide the cloud infrastructure/resources required to run internet operations without the need to purchase servers and other hardware. Cloud users can decide to manage their cloud infrastructure through a private cloud service network or allow third-party cloud service providers to manage the user’s infrastructure.
TYPES OF CLOUD SERVICES
Businesses select cloud services based on their operation need and goals.
INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE
This entails accessing the network, data storage and servers from third-party cloud service providers.
The user pays on demand and manages their cloud infrastructure.
PLATFORM AS A SERVICE
Platform as a service ( P.A.A.S) enables users to build cloud-based apps using cloud-based tools and resources from cloud service providers. Here, the user manages the cloud-based apps built while the service provider maintains the servers, storage and network.
SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE
Software as a service (S.A.A.S) allows users to access finished cloud-based apps in addition to a cloud infrastructure from third-party providers. The user accesses the app through the internet without downloading and installing the application
For instance, web-based email services and some business applications or software operate using the software as a service technology.
BENEFITS OF HEALTHCARE CLOUD COMPUTING
- Patient-focused health service delivery
Healthcare cloud computing promotes rapid extraction of vital health information and provides resources for doctors to make rapid clinical assessment and treatment of patients. This improves health outcomes and patient satisfaction in the health system. Also, patients have authorized remote access to their clinical data and can secure virtual appointments with connected physicians. In addition, the availability of Chabot services enables prompt response or feedback to the patient’s questions and concerns. Health professional can monitor the health status of patients in real-time and provide individualized care and attention to the patient. Self-service channels ensure online payment of bills and essential bookings.
- Improved Health team collaboration
The interconnectivity of cloud infrastructure and sharing of vital resources help health teams to bond and collaborate faster. Physicians can co-manage patients remotely by sharing relevant patient data via text, video or audio channels. The cloud resources empower physicians to make rapid clinical decisions as a team that would benefit the patient.
- Enhances health system partnership
Cloud infrastructure and resources simplify the sharing of data between different health systems for the purpose of creating a hospital-based solution required by patients. For instance, hospitals can share their cloud data with pharmaceutical companies in the process of creating health solution-oriented products or services.
- Reduced cost of internet operation
Cloud service providers usually offer pay on-demand plans that help organizations to cut cost and reduces the need to acquire computing hardware.
RISKS OF HEALTHCARE CLOUD COMPUTING
Healthcare cloud computing has numerous risks such as compliance and data breaches associated with cloud technology. One of the most pressing risks is the security of sensitive clinical data of patients.
The storage, transfer and internet-based access to cloud infrastructure increases the risk of hackers accessing these data and breach of confidentiality which is a critical concern for both patients and health care providers.
HOW TO SECURE HEALTHCARE CLOUD DATA
- Authenticate user access using PINS and biometric-enabled techniques.
- Authorize access to a selected health care team through secured username, password and other encrypted measures.
- Healthcare providers must collaborate with cloud service providers to design and execute data security controls in their cloud infrastructure.
- Health care providers must formulate and review data security policies to manage the activities of their users in the cloud environment.
In conclusion, healthcare cloud computing has enormous potential to improve the quality of healthcare delivery services and the integration of health systems remotely located. Healthcare cloud security is a major concern due to the possibility of third party access to clinical information shared and stored in the internet. Therefore, healthcare providers must seek measures such as authentication, encryption and revoking unauthorized access to manage the cloud data security risks.