The potential of the cloud as a cross-platform seamless communication in the healthcare sector is enormous. However, the common question is whether the technology has been leveraged to its full potential?
Fremont, CA: Cloud, when introduced into the healthcare industry has had a significant influence on the sector, in managing patient data, arriving at the best treatment decisions, bringing down operational costs and many others. The cloud has been the supportive technology behind these advancements.
As per a study by BCC, cloud technology as part of the healthcare industry will see a multifaceted yearly growth of about 11.6 percent. By the year 2022, the sector will reach about $35 billion in value also says the BCC study.
The advantages of cloud in healthcare are many. The on-demand cloud and storage bring down operational expenses for clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. Besides, the cloud also supports currently used healthcare IT technologies, including patient portals, medical devices that are used as part of IoT, mobile apps, and similar ones.
Furthermore, cloud technology has also altered the ways of clinical research by providing increased support for clinical trial management and knowledge sharing.
Initially, medical professionals were reliant on paper charts for sharing information on patients. The emergence of cloud has been a single access point for sharing huge volumes of patient data. Through the cloud, several doctors can simultaneously view this data. In other words, critical decisions regarding treatment plans can take place and be transferred through a single click and within a fraction of a second. As a result, medical professionals are provided with ample time to focus on treatment options and patient care.
More and more healthcare facilities are adopting electronic health records, and this paves the way for accumulating more data related to public health metrics. Through cloud technology, it is possible for researchers to analyze this data in a much more strategic manner to bring down costs, improve operational efficiency, and spot latest developments concerning diseases and potentially evade possible public health issues.
However, is the cloud being utilized to its full potential? In many ways, it is not.
The Roadblocks towards Complete Adaptation of Cloud
A major hurdle for fully leveraging cloud technology is the inability to ensure interoperability in multi-cloud environments for smooth and effective functioning. Interoperability is technically defined as the ability of multiple information applications, devices, or applications to exchange information in a much-improved way. This information is, in turn, cooperatively used to optimize healthcare.
Theoretically, interoperability is quite easy. It is all about establishing integrations across a multitude of systems irrespective of the origin of data, the end-point, and use. Consequently, there is no interruption with respect to data being readily available for distribution and use without further support from end-users.
However, this interoperability is impractical many times. There have been numerous examples of lack of seamless communication among cloud systems which caused critical delays in emergencies.
Multi-cloud environments are marked by a mix of interfaces and cloud APIs, which turns challenging to enterprises striving towards ensuring cloud computing interoperability. These APIs and interfaces fail to be standardized. The demand for government regulations for standardizing multi-cloud environments is more than apparent currently. Without a set of standards, there could be limitations to data being shared, and the data being transferred turns insufficient and without clarity. Healthcare professionals cannot extend the requisite levels of service from poor quality and vague data.
Data breaches continue to be a potential risk due to the lack of interoperability in cloud-powered systems. The patient information is both at risk for stealing and private, especially in a cloud environment without interoperability.
The other obstacle for ensuring interoperability in the healthcare sector lies in its own manual procedures. Despite the current progress, some healthcare professionals stick to the conventional methods of manually taking down notes and sharing them. As a result, there is a gap between requisite technological adaptations and the present methods employed by the industry.
Despite all these drawbacks, the cloud is here to stay as far as the current and imminent technological landscape in the health care industry is concerned.