Healthcare is an industry that touches us all at some point. Just as the cloud has introduced innovative methods of doing business, it is also enabling improvements in how healthcare is delivered. The impacts of the cloud on healthcare affect all areas of the industry. Following are some of the most impactful ways the cloud is influencing healthcare delivery.
Supporting digital transformation
Healthcare facilities and medical practitioners of all sizes are transitioning to digital record keeping with electronic health records (EHRs). Cloud-based solutions provide small practices that may have limited IT resources the same access to technology as large healthcare organizations. Using the cloud levels the playing field for healthcare providers of any size.
The availability of patient records in the cloud enables them to be easily shared by remotely located healthcare professionals and specialists. This information sharing fosters collaboration that can result in improved patient care through better diagnosis and access to alternative treatment options. The ability to confer with remote specialists can be especially important in rural areas that previously had limited access leading to inferior patient care and outcomes.
Promoting advanced analytics
The cloud provides healthcare organizations with access to advanced analytics capabilities that would be hard to replicate in most on-premises data centers. The scalability and flexibility of cloud computing make it an excellent platform for processing and uncovering hidden trends in big data resources. The insights gained from analyzing this data can lead to new treatment options and help address emerging health issues before they spiral out of control.
Improving the patient experience
The use of cloud computing has enabled the creation of patient portals that streamline many aspects of healthcare delivery. Patients can use their mobile devices to schedule appointments and access healthcare records. They can easily renew prescriptions to ensure they never run out of vital medications.
Cloud-based communication techniques are making it possible for patients to engage in virtual doctor visits in many instances. Virtual consultations save time and money while providing many of the benefits of an in-person doctor’s visit. While not appropriate for all situations, virtual visits can often be used to offer patients more efficient healthcare.
Cloud infrastructures are designed to be resilient and reduce unexpected downtime. This can be a critical factor in healthcare delivery where the inability to access records or information can be the difference between life and death. Cloud-based healthcare minimizes the chance that an outage will affect patient care. In the event of a disaster, cloud services can be brought up in alternate locations to lessen the impact on patients and providers.
These are just a few of the ways cloud computing is impacting healthcare delivery. The efficient use of cloud-based technology promises to continue to improve the way patients and healthcare professionals use information to improve society’s health and wellness.