Head in the Clouds: Healthcare Cloud Computing Market Predicted to Reach $11B

There was a time server farms were all-the-rage for data storage for many different industries. The data would be located in a central location filled with hundreds and hundreds of computers. This method was convenient, yet plagued with potential issues: physical and digital security, access disruption, fire and more. Today, many businesses are moving to cloud computing where the data isn’t really stored anywhere because it’s stored everywhere. Which eliminates some of the challenges found in server farms.

Healthcare is one industry moving quickly toward cloud computing: One organization predicts the market will reach more than $11 billion by 2022. “Healthcare cloud computing helps (provide) quicker accessibility of digital medical records and huge storage of clinical statistics in hospitals and clinics,” according to Market Research Engine.

Cloud-Based EMR

Because cloud storage is dispersed among multiple data storage devices in different locations, access disruption caused by power outages or facility fires is less of a concern than the server-farm model. One issue that remains is digital security, as I’ve written about in the past, which should be a top priority for any healthcare organization using cloud storage.

(As an aside, you may hear more about “edge computing,” a cousin of cloud computing, which takes place at the device needing the information, rather than in the cloud. Edge computing is used when real-time data analytics are needed. If it’s determined that a cloud-based response is too slow to be effective or safe, edge computing could be the answer. Edge computing could work well with, for example, a self-driving car that needs to evaluate and act on data so quickly that sending information to the cloud and back to the car takes too long. There are applications in healthcare, robots performing surgery, for instance, where edge computing could be appropriate, but generally, cloud storage is a viable option for healthcare data.)

A recent article published in the Global Journal of Health Science discusses high-level concepts to ensure data security: “It is important to provide authentication, authorization and access control within cloud's virtualized network. Issues such as identity management and access control, Internet-based access, authentication and authorization and cybercriminals are major concerns in healthcare cloud computing.”

A cloud-based EMR—compared to the fragmented EMR many of us have today—allows appropriate, secure entry to a patient’s health record, with the possibility of access via the internet anywhere in the world if the provider has the right credentials and software. This is a great benefit because wherever the patient is—a physician’s office, the emergency department or anywhere else care is provided—so is the medical record.
 
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