Anyone who uses a smartphone or tablet is familiar with the cloud, a convenient and always-attainable storage facility that can hold more than random photos, videos, and selfies, but also important medical information. Cloud computing has effectively changed the way healthcare professionals share and receive medical information because the storage resources are practically endless. It’s still a new idea, but doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals everywhere are now experimenting with it because they recognize the way cloud computing can positively affect healthcare IT.
Ensured Privacy and Security
With HIPAA more important to patients than it’s ever been, privacy and security are real issues within the healthcare community. Patients want to know that their private information and medical histories are in a safe place, where they can’t easily get hacked, stolen, or even seen by unlawful eyes. This information is so confidential that the fear of having it seen by someone other than the appropriate healthcare providers is a legitimate fear.
In large part, cloud computing erases that fear. It allows hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities to secure the infrastructure of their IT networks. Since the inception of cloud storage, a variety of professionals have tirelessly worked to make sure that the cloud has full privacy and security. Patients can take comfort in knowing that what they share with doctors, nurses, and health insurance representatives will remain private and confidential.
More Resilient Data Storage
Storing data on the cloud is not only safer, but it’s also more resilient. Because the infrastructure is so large and durable, it’s stronger and longer-lasting than traditional healthcare information technology. Providers of cloud storage can create data centers that are all-encompassing, so information is safely backed up and it will stay where it is for a longer amount of time. There’s no worry that the system will crash, losing patient histories and other pieces of personal data.
The entire sphere of data storage can get expensive, and rising healthcare costs worry both healthcare providers and the patients for whom they care. The cost of data storage can easily trickle down to patients, but it affects the doctors, nurses, and other professionals as well. Medical informatics through cloud storage significantly cuts the cost. There’s no need to pay for extra storage, plus facilities don’t have to pay for staff to maintain the storage system.
With traditional storage options, it’s easy to become obsolete. Worse, upgrading the technology is generally expensive and time-consuming, given the time it takes to train staff for new programs and protocols, move information over to the new system, and upgrade all office technologies. Cloud computing erases those issues as well. Innovations are quicker and easier to carry out, and often upgrade with no noticeable downtime. Better still, any time there’s a new innovation in healthcare technology, it implements seamlessly.
Cloud computing also makes sharing easier—but only to the right people. A doctor at the hospital, for instance, can use cloud storage to get access to a patient’s medical history from his or her private physician. If someone gets sick or hurt in another state or country, the healthcare provider he or she sees can get instant access to pertinent information without waiting for faxes, emails, or phone calls. This is better for patients, especially in potentially life-or-death situations.
– Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America
With the entire world seemingly using on smartphones and tablets, mobile technologies themselves are essential. Cloud computing is mobile, which is efficient in the hospital and crucial in situations where patients are away from their primary care physicians. Instead of relying on clipboards and paper records, healthcare professionals can use tablets and mobile devices to get medical histories, share information about allergies or medications, and send diagnoses to other doctors.
Notably, however, even with mobile capabilities, patient data is still under the same security standards. There are special features that thwart potential hackers, and IT professionals come up with new security features all the time. For instance, there are even mobile devices that shut down if an unauthorized party tries to reach encrypted or private information.
Cloud computing is the future of medicine and healthcare services because it’s safe, affordable, and more convenient than traditional storage methods. Have you experienced cloud computing during any checkups or procedures?