Cloud computing in health care was not borne out of the burning fire of the coronavirus pandemic. The health care industry started to adopt cloud computing as far back as five years ago. Recent research showed that budget allocation for cloud computing in health care is expected to balloon to $25.54 billion in the period 2020-2024. The Covid-19 pandemic is pushing the envelope further.
This is nothing new to health care, although it was only highlighted during the pandemic. Crisis intervention team (CIT) programs are already using cloud computing to connect law enforcement and mental health professionals during encounters with mental health patients. The programs’ ability to access data and alarm a coresponder ensures police officers’ and individuals’ safety in a behavioral health crisis. These programs have also been successful in building community resources. These will help people with mental health problems in the neighborhood.
Safety is the number one reason why health care facilities need cloud computing. Another advantage of having these services is the lowered costs of data storage and computing power. Thanks to cloud computing, health care facilities such as hospitals and private clinics no longer have to buy hardware and servers. They can pay only for the resources and features that they use.
One of the many advantages of having cloud computing in a health care system is the ease of interoperability and access to high-priority data. The point of cloud computing is to integrate data, irrespective of their point of origin and source. For example, if you were hospitalized in three different states, how will you get those medical records during an emergency? Cloud computing does that for your medical providers. They can easily access your medical history from these three separate hospitals.
This availability and accessibility of data allow medical practitioners to provide timely prescriptions and treatment protocols. It also eliminates the physical distance between hospitals and physicians. This means that your current physician can review your case and give opinions without having to wait for a specialist you saw six months ago about the same condition.
Cloud computing will help structure health care data. This is a huge asset for health facilities as they struggle with collecting big data. They also need to analyze the information they collate from different sources. This is particularly helpful for the field of medical research. Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence will help researchers process large amounts of data.
Aside from research, cloud-computing systems’ ability to analyze data will make it easier for health care facilities to personalize the services they provide. This also reduces the chances of wrongful interpretation of data by physicians, leading to mistakes in prescriptions and treatments. Cloud-based data analysis will make it easier to extract a patient’s medical records.
Patients have more control over their own health and medical records. Since patients can access their medical history and share this with specialists and physicians they feel comfortable with, they participate more in decisions that affect their health. This boosts the overall quality of health care that they receive. There are still many apprehensions about the security of cloud computing, but the reliability of cloud data as storage and backup is infinitely better.
Cloud computing made telemedicine possible during the height of the coronavirus outbreak. The accessibility of data remotely is the biggest advantage of cloud computing. This is also the basis of telemedicine. It has the potential not only to improve the telemedicine services being offered but also to make health care services more accessible for people living in far-flung areas.
It can improve patient experience significantly. Someone who lives in Montana, for example, can seek consultation from a doctor in New York. Why would anyone need to travel that far anymore to see a specialist? The whole point of technology is to make services more convenient for its users. In fact, experts believed that if cloud computing were more widespread, it would have been more significant from April to September during the height of the quarantine and isolation restrictions.
Cloud computing is not a perfect technology, but it does make health care services more accessible. It also aids health care workers to interpret and analyze data that will help them come up with the right treatment and medication for their patients. It’s going to be a long road for cloud computing in health care, but with time and convenience as its allies, this will be the future of health care.