Mar 01 2019
The healthcare industry creates and manages vast amounts of sensitive data that’s vital to excellent patient care and good health outcomes. As doctors, clinics, hospitals, specialists, and other providers consider moving their technology and data storage into the cloud, it’s important to understand the benefits to healthcare information management.
Fast and easy access to important medical information is vital to diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. Uploading health records, patient history, test results, images, and other diagnostic findings into the cloud means that members of the care team can always act on the latest information.
Cloud computing makes it easier to provide authorized access to privileged information. For example, specific parts of a patient’s financial data, like their billing history, may not be available to frontline care providers. Likewise, details of medical conditions and treatment can be blocked from back office staff who don’t need those details to do their work.
Cloud-based medical data is available to any person or application that has a verified need to view and act on the information. This makes it easier for upstream and downstream software, systems, and third parties to review and make changes to electronic health records or medical details. For example, a pharmacist could look at a patient’s prescriptions to make sure there are no unplanned drug interactions. Alternatively, a family doctor could easily transfer their patient’s medical history to a specialist for a more informed diagnosis and treatment plan.
Medical errors are still one of the biggest threats to good patient care. Data stored in the cloud updates in real time, meaning that physicians and others always have the latest information to understand and collaborate on treatment options. Likewise, if there’s a handover between healthcare teams during a shift change, or a patient is moved to a new provider, everyone has access to the most recent patient history for better continuity of care.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence will help to optimize diagnosis across the healthcare industry. Aggregated and anonymized patient data can be used for forecasting, disease modelling, and optimizing treatment outcomes. Deep analytics could identify trends for further research, new drug development, or alternative diagnostic methods.
Cloud services provide real time backup of healthcare data. In the event of hardware failure, power loss, or data breaches, healthcare providers can quickly and easily restore data for minimal disruption or interruption to patient care. There are many types of backup available, including snapshots of data, iterative backups, or live backups for immediate failover.
One of the main benefits of the cloud is a lack of upfront costs to buy physical servers and other infrastructure. Instead, most vendors allow organizations to only pay for the resources they actually use. This lets healthcare providers pay as they go, based on the data they’re storing in the cloud. This can be very useful for operational cost control and keeping expenses to a minimum.
The move to cloud-based, healthcare data storage makes sense for many organizations. A combination of proper authorization and validation, combined with fast access to electronic health records means the right patient information is available to the right providers, at the right time.
Likewise, healthcare data integrations makes it easier for labs to update test results, and for integrated systems to aid with diagnosis and treatment. From an industry perspective, bigger data sets, combined with greater computing power helps with research and healthcare development. Individual organizations will enjoy better cost control and the reassurance of data backups.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, cloud-based storage and technology will help to ensure greater care and better health outcomes.