Cloud Disrupting Healthcare
The healthcare industry once was one of the slowest fields to adopt new technologies. This has to do with the fears around security and the privacy of patient data. Healthcare companies always preferred to keep data onsite hiding behind firewalls as opposed to maintaining it on something as intangible as the cloud.
Healthcare IT had stayed away from the cloud due to the following challenges.
1. Privacy and security challenges
Apart from the common issues relating to security and privacy associated with cloud, the healthcare industry is governed by social and government bodies such HIPAA, and therefore they are obligated to comply with certain stipulated rules and regulations surrounding the security of patient data.
2. Service reliability and viability
Cloud is essentially a third party service. The reality is that all cloud ecosystems and enterprise infrastructures would be interrupted to some degree at some point in time. Mission critical healthcare IT applications must meet very high performance standards, availability standards, and reliability standards. This challenge is critical to the industry.
3. Transition and portability of data
Another barrier that impacted some healthcare organizations’ willingness to adopt cloud computing was the concern regarding the ability to transition to another cloud vendor or back to the healthcare organization without disrupting operations or introducing conflicting claims to the data.
Cloud Adoption in Healthcare Today
The need for information to follow the patients wherever they go has been identified by multiple government agencies. Hence, the healthcare sector today is actively adopting cloud computing to record and store patient information. The platform of an electronic health information exchange (HIE) has been created to fulfill this requirement. The office of the department of health and human services has led the process of establishing the essential building blocks that will support HIEs. Key stakeholders of these HIEs include doctors, nurses, hospitals, provider offices, clinics, insurance companies, reporting agencies, pharmacies, and, most importantly, the patients themselves.
2014 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey revealed that 83% of healthcare organizations have already adopted cloud computing. 67% of those are utilizing cloud through SaaS-based applications while 15.3% running on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).Top three reasons why healthcare adopted cloud;
Lack of internal expertise
Patient Portal – Industry’s New Trend The patient portal takes a patient-centered approach in creating a more comprehensive picture of health history and needs of the patients. It is an online community for the patients to access their information 24/7 outside of the hospital or the doctor’s office. By encouraging participation in electronic health exchanges, the office of the national coordinator expects to see a re-design of the health system process resulting in highly efficient and effective care delivery. This will decrease cost, increase quality, and improve patient satisfaction. Patient care will be driven by evidence-based decisions, made at the point of care, and delivered through an integrated workflow process.
Benefits of Patient Portal;
Become engaged and involved in one’s own health at all levels in both prevention and treatment
Access health information anytime and from any place
Build medical history
Interact with physician, health care providers and even pharmacists through electronic messaging
Schedule and modify appointments within reasonable time frame
Review results of test and procedures