Cloud computing will be integral to the future of the healthcare industry

December 5, 2014

In its earliest years, the idea of cloud computing experienced considerable pushback in nearly every vertical in which it flashed a glimpse of its possibilities. Enterprises in a variety of industries, from retail, to manufacturing, to finance and beyond found themselves intrigued by the potential this new technology shows, but were hesitant to move forward amid security and governance concerns.

Fast forward a few years, and cloud computing is a staple in enterprises across the board, with one notable exception – healthcare. This industry was very slow to adopt the cloud due to worries about HIPAA compliance and general data security concerns. Recent developments in healthcare, however, have led CIOs to change their tune about the cloud.

Cloud computing proves its worth and finds its place in healthcare
As both public and private cloud solutions proved their cost-cutting, efficiency-boosting capabilities in other industries, healthcare CIOs have been unable to avoid finding ways to migrate their operations to the cloud. As InformationWeek explained, healthcare providers are seeing the cost savings, agility and analytical prowess that cloud computing offers and are starting to move quickly into this new world.

InformationWeek, looking at research from IDC Health Insights, found that healthcare is adopting the cloud so fast that by 2020, 80 percent of all healthcare data will interact with the cloud at some point during its life, whether for storage, access or analysis for decision-making.

“Cloud storage and mobile in healthcare will explode and start becoming the norm rather than seen as the “innovators” choice,” Missy Krasner, managing director of healthcare and life sciences at Box, told InformationWeek.

Cloud will be the new normal in healthcare
Recently, at the Amazon Web Services re:invent Conference, it was announced that the cloud would be the “new normal” for enterprises. And despite healthcare’s initial resistance to that idea, it looks like it’s turning out to be the case for the industry as well.

One reason for this is the growing use of network-connected wearables for patient health tracking. Pacemakers, blood pressure monitors and other tracking devices can communicate with IT infrastructure, sending patient data in real time to a central location where healthcare professionals can analyze it so they can give more personalized attention to each individual patient. The data can then be stored in the cloud and accessed later for that specific patient.

Even better, providers can gather this type of data from hundreds or thousands of patients, allowing them to better understand the nature of various ailments or even track the spread of diseases. The cloud, with its agility and accessibility is highly conducive to these sophisticated healthcare processes and should find itself in a central role healthcare.