By Valentina Synenka
Managing data in the medical field is a cumbersome endeavour that comes with its specific challenges. Hospitals have to process the patient’s personal data and medical history, keep track of tests and treatment regiments, and access health insurance information.
According to Statista’s hospital census in the US, in 2019 the daily average number of admitted patients was 611,000. The situation becomes even more dire now that we are facing a global health crisis. CDC tracks the 7-day average of daily new cases that, as of September 14, 2021, was recorded at over 145,000.
Adopting a healthcare cloud strategy would not only allow hospitals to more easily manage the sheer amount of data that goes through the system every day, handle outpatient care, patient referrals for specific morbidities – when a hospital needs to transfer a patient to a different facility for lack of proper resources – but in the face of a pandemic and when it will end, it becomes invaluable for healthcare to be able to keep a keen eye on medical data that goes beyond the needs of a single healthcare facility or even country.
But thanks to cloud technologies which are becoming widely used for handling a large amount of data properly and securely not only in IT but in healthcare industry also this issue might be solved.
A full-on cloud strategy for healthcare may help hospitals and other healthcare providers make sure they handle data in the most efficient way available and get good use of the tech solutions on every step of the way. Healthcare has been benefiting from cloud adoption for quite some time now, having recognized its unprecedented upsides when it comes to cost-effectiveness, security, scalability, etc. In fact, according to the global forecast for the healthcare cloud computing market report conducted by MarketsandMarkets, it is expected to grow to USD 64.7 billion by 2025.
The growth of cloud technologies is a contributing factor to the successes of healthcare organizations in providing their services on a global basis as well as further advancing their quality and reliability. This is determined by the cloud ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data, often requiring enhanced security and scalability without overflowing the budget, all of which can be done with medical cloud solutions that provide easy scalability and cost control for the organization.
However, many organizations are warded off by the presumed risks of cloud computing in healthcare. As valid as these concerns are, introducing cloud computing in the medical field with the latest technologies and solutions available, helps not only address the question. It often is the answer.
Defining the Healthcare Cloud Strategy
To address the concerns and mitigate the risks, healthcare providers should, first and foremost, develop a strategy to introduce cloud-based healthcare solutions.
- Cloud Adoption in your healthcare organization
Cloud adoption in the medical sector has been on the rise for a while now, as healthcare providers understand the advantages that it comes with. Here are some things to consider if you are just about to start on this journey:
- Alignment with the business strategy is necessary for the organizations that are in it for the long run. Cloud adoption should be conducted with both short- and long-term plans in mind. For example, when a healthcare provider implements the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, IoT medical devices, running clinical trials, etc.
- Identify potential challenges and create a risk mitigation plan to manage possible compliance, security, operational risks, etc.
- Identify the organizational structures in your IT infrastructure that would support cloud adoption.
- Starting Cloud migration of your infrastracture
Cloud migration may be challenging when you consider that most organizations already have an established IT system and infrastructure. For a successful cloud migration, you would need to do the following:
- Consider organization needs, assess IT infrastructure, and align this with your cloud migration options. Specific features to take into account would be configurability, disposability, logging capabilities.
- Choose the type of cloud deployment, which can be private, public, community, or hybrid. Private cloud is the most secure option but it can be operated only within a single organization. The hybrid solution – combining private and public cloud – is often considered for healthcare. It brings the best of both worlds with its security and more flexibility to build an efficient infrastructure.
- Continuing with Cloud implementation and optimization
Cloud implementation is the step that comes after you have your strategy sorted out and your roadmap laid out so that you can proceed in your cloud transformation journey. Some things to consider on this step would be:
- Choosing the right cloud managed services provider would allow the healthcare organization to rest assured that the tech side of their cloud transformation is handled with proper expertise and diligence. Cloud managed services provider takes on the responsibility to deploy and manage the cloud infrastructure in alignment with your strategic plans.
- Testing after migration helps evaluate how your cloud implementation process is progressing, detect possible holes in your system and quickly patch them up before they have any negative effect on the work of the organization.
- Internal training for employees is essential if you want to adopt cloud as your long-term solution. Professionals that are used to doing things in a certain way, should be introduced to the newer and better solutions and properly trained so that they could use all the perks that the cloud provides to the fullest of its potential.
Wrapping up, the cloud solutions present a vast array of opportunities when it comes to the medical industry. Cloud brings in the benefits of scalability and flexibility, efficient cost control, and enhanced security that is crucial when working with sensitive data, and, if anything, healthcare organizations have that in abundance and see providing patient data security as one of their top priorities.
All it takes for the healthcare provider is to have a set strategy for integrating cloud technologies into already existing infrastructure in a way to make it work for the benefit of both the organization and the patients.
Valentina Synenka is a Chief Marketing Officer at Symphony Solutions, the Dutch-based Cloud & Agile transformation company that helps businesses in their path to digital transformation. Valentina has master’s degree in Economics and Psychology and, for the last 10 years, has been leading the marketing and design department at the company, always staying on top of the Cloud industry trends and tendencies.