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Using Cloud for Storing Healthcare Data

By CIOReview | Wednesday, February 21, 2018

On-premise systems are quickly becoming inconvenient and have begun their journey towards antiquity. Big data analytics and image analytics are expected to swamp healthcare, with the added benefits of cloud. In order to meet current requirements, vendors have started providing SaaS-based EHR. While they could only support outpatient and small physician practices, with the rising demands, these vendors quickly scaling up their technology to meet the requirements of larger hospitals and healthcare systems.

On the security front, both public and private clouds can be considered secure for storing health data. As the maintenance of large servers in hospital basements becomes increasingly cumbersome, healthcare consumers demand the right to obtain health data and treatment from online retailers and financial service companies. With complete understanding of the advantages of cloud, even conservative healthcare CIOs are adopting cloud. Using cloud for healthcare not only lowers the cost for both providers and insurance payers but also improves interoperability, scalability, and cyber-security.

Considerable challenges can be expected in shifting to cloud for healthcare, not the least of which are the expenses involved in retooling and the entailing paradigm shift for major customers. Recovering data in case of disaster, shortage of cloud talent, risks of switching vendors and unplanned variable costs are some of other risks involved. Despite these challenges, most healthcare providers are investing in cloud for AI and machine learning, health data sharing, precision medicine, big data analytics, patient identity matching and EHRs.

Further, cloud billing, in its early stages, can be quite complex. Finding cloud specialists is another challenge to accurately handle disaster recovery or business continuity. It is important to note that the implementation of cloud in healthcare requires a clear exit strategy to deal with the compliance requirements and technical challenges to shift cloud storage environments.