Healthcare is going digital like never before. But what does that mean for service providers in terms of the infrastructure they need to connect with? AI diagnostic tools, wearable tech that interfaces with the IoT, and online healthcare consultations are increasingly becoming the norm right across the nation. Each one of them involves a high degree of technical interconnectivity to work, many of which are being driven by the growth of cloud services.
Healthcare moves to the cloud
Cloud adoption has gathered pace in recent years, with 94% of executives in the healthcare industry, believing that the pace of change has been accelerating in the last 36 months. And the truth is, they’re not wrong. A year-on-year growth rate of 36% has been seen in the volume of healthcare data that’s migrating to the cloud.
This is all driven by the increasing demand for online bookings, wearable tech, and online diagnostics that allow patients to access healthcare no matter where they are. To truly understand why this is happening, we need to look at the inherent benefits of the cloud to see why it is fast becoming the destination of choice for healthcare data.
Why go to the cloud?
Cloud storage offers three key things that put it ahead of other data storage options:
As with any industry, the healthcare industry is driven by the need to make money. While those involved certainly want to do right by their patients, if their services don’t generate a return, they won’t be around for very long. Cloud services essentially enable you to outsource all of your hardware requirements by using space on someone else’s. Ideal if you want to be able to enhance your service offering without drastically increasing your infrastructure spend.
The cloud is an innately scalable approach to data storage and one that allows you to scale up or scale down with ease. That makes it an attractive option when you’re trying to rapidly launch a new feature or application to as many people as possible.
By being able to scale up, or down, and do it all in a cost-effective way, you’re also buying flexibility. That is particularly important when you want to be able to future proof ideas, so they stand the test of time. Healthcare services, by their very nature, will have to change and adapt over time to meet the needs of the people using them. By having an inherently flexible approach to data storage underpinning everything, healthcare providers can continue to optimize their services.
Security considerations in the cloud
Healthcare services have to be held to the highest possible standards when it comes to data security. With users entrusting providers with personal and sensitive data that they often do not want to share, security is of paramount importance.
To this end, cloud platforms will offer everything from access control and malware protection to end-to-end encryption and breach monitoring. Many also offer full DDoS migration, threat management, and a number of tailored packages.
Blockchain is also experiencing rapid growth in deployment, with an annual growth rate of an impressive 62%. It’s an advanced cryptographic technique that uses an entire string of data to encrypt each piece of information in a given sequence. This ensures optimal security conditions for every data point clients and patients upload to the cloud—something which is essential given the rapid rise in usage.
Powering interoperability with the cloud
When you want to be able to get the most out of the healthcare experience for your patients, you need to be able to bring together all of the relevant data easily. With new tools, wearable devices, and databases being created all the time in this growth industry, interoperability has never been more critical.
What is interoperability?
Put simply, this is the ability of a health provider’s systems to exchange data and insights with one another seamlessly. With legacy systems, partially redundant data silos, and brand-new data points generated from new services and devices, there needs to be a way to connect them all. That is the goal of a truly interoperable system, and the cloud is a key driver in making it happen.
Why does it matter?
For cloud-based healthcare to work, it needs to be easy for providers and solutions to exchange data. Whether it be patient records, individual data metrics, or images formatted to a given standard, it needs to be easily accessible. Without this level of transferability between different databases and archives, it simply will not be possible to connect the world of cloud-based healthcare. This would result in a large amount of data in largely inaccessible silos, none of which is providing benefits to the patients and care providers.
Using the cloud to power new ideas
Lastly, the beauty of the cloud is the way it makes large scale infrastructure to companies who are far smaller budgets than the established providers. That allows them to test innovative new services and ideas in a fast and effective way without having to be restricted by their budgets and funding rounds. These new entrants then have the power to reshape the way we think about online healthcare for a generation.
Why do new entrants matter?
In today’s world of interdisciplinary tech, multi-disciplinary teams are becoming increasingly common. They enable new ways of thinking and methods of approaching shared problems to enter the healthcare industry. The result is a number of unique solutions that allow patients and healthcare providers to connect through data like never before. The cloud’s ability to offer scalability and affordability is a key driver of this trend.
The cloud is a crucial paradigm shift in the way we approach data storage and one which is only just beginning to impact the world of online healthcare. With inherent benefits that fit seamlessly with the goal of genuinely digitized healthcare, it is set to be an increasingly valuable resource over the years ahead.