The Healthcare Industry Shouldn’t Discount The Benefits Of Cloud Computing

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healthcare_cloud_computingThere’s no doubting that cloud computing has made a profound difference to the provisioning and deployment of IT infrastructure across a huge range of verticals. The debate around the benefits of virtualization technology and private or public clouds is ongoing, but given the enormous expansion of cloud platforms, their use by businesses and other organizations, and the cost savings the cloud can bring, it’s an overly conservative and cautious industry that doesn’t at least dip a toe into the cloud.

The healthcare industry has good reason to be cautious. Compliance with HIPAA, other regulatory implications, and a strong desire to have control over data privacy and security have slowed the pace of uptake of cloud platforms by hospitals and other healthcare organizations. However, cloud hosting has made leaps and bounds in privacy since the early leaky days.

Healthcare organizations are heavily dependent on data. The cloud offers considerable scope for cost and efficiency savings when it comes to electronic health and medical records, admissions records, and other data associated with healthcare.

Cost Saving

Having a strategy for efficiently managing data is not optional for healthcare organizations. It is at the heart of their business. That need for efficient data management is coupled with the strong requirements for cost reduction, as well as increased operating efficiency and productivity.

When compared to the alternative solution, which is the self-management of large scale data center infrastructure, cloud technology can offer massive cost reductions. Cloud platforms allow for the provision of IT resources as and when they are needed, allowing organizations to provision only the resources they require and obviating the need to over-provision or maintain legacy hardware to extract the maximum ROI. Cloud hosting platforms are inherently more flexible and scalable than non-virtualized hardware solutions and provide rapid, elastic provisioning with minimal management and technical staff overhead.

Because cloud hosting enables the provisioning of technology as and when it’s needed, the requirement to make significant upfront investments in technology that rapidly becomes obsolete can be avoided. Organizations pay for what they use and can deploy new servers as they are needed.

Data Portability And Openness

As we mentioned earlier, the healthcare industry tends to be conservative where its data is concerned. Unfortunately that has lead to a reliance on closed and proprietary technologies. Such a reliance almost inevitably means that that records are not as portable as they should be. Technology moves quickly, there is constant innovation, and the available solutions for healthcare record management are continually improving. The ability to move data between applications and vendors is a crucial aspect of maintaining maximal efficiency and ROI.

While the initial expense of switching to cloud-based hosting may be daunting, the bulk of that cost is offset by the flexibility and portability of data stored in the cloud. Vendor lock-in can be avoided and future infrastructure and software provisioning decisions are not limited to the requirements imposed by legacy systems.

High Availability

Cloud hosting is usually multiply redundant with automatic failover in the event of hardware failure. If one server goes down, it can be immediately replaced, helping ensure that healthcare organizations have constant access to their data.

As you can see, the benefits of cloud hosting for the healthcare industry are hard to ignore. If you’re considering leveraging the cloud for healthcare, feel free to get in touch with us.

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