Cloud computing is a popular way for businesses to optimize their workloads and scale with ease. But beyond corporate environments, cloud computing has also gained traction in healthcare. Thus, by 2027, the global healthcare cloud computing market is estimated to hit over $89 billion compared to $39.4 billion in 2022.
Driven by the pandemic-induced adoption of digital health, cloud computing is poised to deliver more scalability, efficiency, and better storage for healthcare providers and health IT systems. However, it also poses a unique set of challenges, including more complex regulations and data security concerns.
Let’s have a look at the benefits of cloud computing and whether they are worth the tradeoff.
The importance of cloud computing in the healthcare industry
Healthcare cloud computing helps caregivers deliver a higher quality of services and unlock seamless communication. Patients also get to be directly involved in the treatment regimen, which ultimately promotes communication between doctors and patients.
Here are some other reasons why healthcare organizations should consider cloud computing.
Cloud for healthcare can improve efficiency and productivity by eliminating data storage costs and improving access to files. This means that more information can be stored on fewer servers, which means you’ll save money on hardware costs as well as network bandwidth usage.
Better internal communication
As healthcare is moving towards digital, telemedicine steps on the stage as a viable way to deliver healthcare remotely. Cloud-based systems allow users to work from anywhere letting healthcare personnel complete a burst of work and log all data online. This makes cloud computing ideal for remote workers who want to stay connected at home. Also, the cloud enables better internal communication.
Although security has always been the stumbling block of healthcare technology, the cloud still offers wider and more standardized opportunities to manage sensitive patient data compared with traditional storage. Thus, the protection of patient information is automatically supported in the cloud with HIPAA-compliant storage.
Interoperability of data
Making data easily accessible in the healthcare ecosystem is crucial to ensure the interoperability of critical information. Cloud bodes well for shared processes, thus allowing the tech environment to communicate between application components. Interoperability also helps avoid vendor lock-in and navigate through evolving workloads.
Types of cloud computing
Just like any industry, healthcare providers can benefit from three types of cloud infrastructure. Let’s have a closer look at all of them.
A virtual private cloud is a dedicated cloud infrastructure that caters exclusively to one company. A private cloud, as opposed to a public cloud, implies that the entire computing infrastructure is under the complete control of the organization. The infrastructure can be located either in the user’s data center or outside of it. The main differentiators of this model include high processing speed and robust analytics capabilities.
This type of cloud set-up provides for hosting virtual infrastructures of several organizations at once. Thus, the data of one company is stored on a physical server along with information from other organizations, while being securely protected and isolated. The main benefit of this infrastructure is its low cost of ownership since the total is distributed among several companies.
Some cloud providers also offer hybrid models that combine both on-premises hardware and software with clouds using shared resources across multiple locations. This ensures continuous availability at any time regardless of where users are located geographically within the organization’s network footprint
Why make your cloud ecosystem hybrid?
Long gone are the days when healthcare providers relied on a bulky infrastructure composed of disparate elements. However, the emergence of cloud computing in healthcare lead to more lightweight and scalable set-ups.
The hybrid cloud is a strategy that is rapidly gaining traction in the healthcare industry. By taking the best of both worlds, the hybrid cloud integrates on-pre infrastructure with public and private cloud services.
The hybrid cloud offers some benefits for healthcare organizations. Let’s have a close look at them.
A hybrid cloud allows for more flexibility to change your IT environment as needed. You can deploy and configure new applications from the cloud or move existing applications over to the cloud when you’re ready to retire them.
Hybrid clouds are typically cheaper than traditional on-premises private clouds. This is because private clouds require expensive hardware and software licenses while deploying a hybrid cloud allows you to combine different pricing options, Thus, medical facilities can use the public data center for data-laden operations to cut down the costs and store sensitive data on the public cloud to maximize security.
Hybrid cloud environments are by nature more secure than their traditional counterparts since they don’t have any IT staff managing them and they’re isolated from internal networks. At the same time, this configuration offers more control over sensitive information compared with a public model.
Healthcare organizations can have multiple locations as part of their infrastructure without worrying about downtime or data loss because they can move workloads between clouds at any time. Moreover, the combination of automated back-ups and in-house back-ups prevents data losses.
Increased application availability and performance
The hybrid environment allows data owners to switch the workloads between on-premise servers and cloud data centers. This flexibility ushers in flexible scaling, while still allowing access to resources such as storage, processing power, and even a network connection.
With a hybrid cloud solution, you can take advantage of multiple layers of security including encrypting your data at rest and in transit as well as using encryption at rest and in transit for your applications themselves. Moreover, cloud applications process only limited data inputs and transmit the result to the private cloud which averts data leaks.
The Final Word
While cloud computing has been a hot topic in business over the last few years, it is only now beginning to hit home for healthcare providers. The implementation of cloud infrastructures in healthcare has transformed traditional data processing in healthcare, allowing caregivers to store and analyze growing amounts of data.
Hybrid clouds, in particular, help healthcare organizations combine the best of infrastructures without compromising security. By sharing the workloads between the infrastructures, healthcare organizations can strike the balance between costs and security and manage patient data more effectively.