Every day, more and more organizations migrate their data to either the cloud or a hybrid server. There are many benefits to doing this, particularly when it comes to the cost of operating and maintaining a data center. By leveraging cloud systems, organizations can take advantage of big data and all it has to offer without incurring many of its expenses.
While cloud computing has been around for some time, its widespread adoption is a recent trend. The healthcare industry in particular is presently growing and evolving to incorporate more modern technologies.
The hands-off aspect of cloud computing is especially valuable in the field because it means a service provider — the owner of the servers and hardware — is responsible not just for maintaining the equipment and systems but securing them as well. And it’s no secret that the security of healthcare information is of utmost importance.
But there are other benefits to cloud computing beyond those mentioned. When it comes to healthcare and the medical industry, cloud computing has a lot to offer. Here are the top six advantages.
1. Unlimited Capacity
The healthcare industry relies on huge stores of data, and the storage capacity needed to retain it all is substantial. To make matters more complicated, the list of requirements continues to grow as the amount of data amassed increases exponentially over time.
The beauty of cloud computing solutions, however, is that the service provider must accommodate the growing requirements and not the business collecting the data. In healthcare, this means a near-unlimited capacity is available to store all the necessary content and information.
2. Reliable Scalability
In addition to allowing for nearly unlimited storage capacities, cloud computing affords unprecedented levels of scalability. As with most industries, there are busy seasons and there are slow seasons in healthcare. The former requires greater and more powerful computing systems, while the latter relaxes said requirements.
The subscription-based nature of cloud computing services means that healthcare providers can increase system usage and decrease it as necessary, with little to no stress on their operations. There is no waiting period to scale up or scale down. It happens instantly. Simply put, cloud computing makes it possible to easily scale operations according to the necessities of market conditions, demand and seasonal requirements.
When it comes to pulling data and digital content from the cloud, it’s accessible from anywhere and by multiple contacts simultaneously. That makes for excellent collaboration and sharing experiences, which is crucial in the healthcare industry. Doctors and healthcare professionals must be able to share patient information and records between one another while still preserving their security.
Analog methods rely on paper-based records which are not secure at all. They’re also not conducive to collaboration, at least not in the same way that digital records are. Cloud computing means that the data is easy to share with anyone that needs to see it, including patients and insurance providers.
4. Enhanced System Security
It’s a common misconception that cloud computing is less secure than alternate methods. There is always some risk involved, of course, but security is almost always stronger under the control of cloud providers. This is because the service providers specialize in data management, meaning they not only have the understanding and experience but also the resources to fully lock down that content.
Cloud providers also have more resources to invest in local information security teams and tools, which translates to stronger levels of protection.
5. AI and Machine Learning Access
It’s difficult for human analysts and laborers to pour over such massive troves of digital content and information. Fortunately, they don’t need to, as they have machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions.
The healthcare industry can benefit from access to these technologies, which are capable of mining collected data for new insights and details. For example, a Seattle company called Kensci leverages machine learning to predict illness and treatment patterns. Another company called PathAI leverages technology to aid pathologists in making quicker and more accurate diagnoses.
6. Remote Care Opportunities
Because the data and computing power is all remote, the same systems are available to just about any platform with internet access, including mobile. This extends support to a wide range of platforms, creating a greater number of remote care opportunities. Doctors, nurses and health practitioners can monitor events and even provide care from around the world.
This not only presents new opportunities but also enables more accurate and far-reaching care. Imagine an on-site Doctor being able to monitor all their patient’s vital signs, remotely, while tending to others. Or a specialist that’s able to carry out a procedure from halfway across the world using remote conferencing technologies.
This form of remote-care-meets-modern-technology is referred to as telehealth, and it’s becoming more and more prominent in the field.
Reap the Benefits at a Fraction of the Cost
Cloud computing solutions allow organizations to reap the benefits of big data at just a fraction of the cost. That’s because a service provider handles the hardware and software maintenance necessary to keep the systems operational.
Healthcare providers can access cloud computing solutions with a seamless experience, gaining all the benefits above and more. That means unlimited storage capacity, unprecedented scalability and collaboration opportunities, improved security, remote care possibilities and machine learning and AI capabilities. But increased uptime, streamlined IT services and support, and optimized accessibility during major disasters and events are all part of the deal too.
In short, cloud computing is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, and there’s no room for argument on that point.