How Cloud Technology Started A Healthcare Renaissance
There have been a number of technological advancements in the world of healthcare over the last few years. Portable devices such as the iPad have enabled an improvement in communication and scheduling. Robots have been manufactured for use in the practice room. And tele-medicines have been adopted at the point of care. However, it could be argued that cloud technology has brought the greatest range of benefits for healthcare practitioners and doctors alike. We’ll consider the documented effects and potential development of cloud computing in this article.
Before The Cloud
Before we move on to a thorough analysis of the benefits of cloud technology it is important to outline the state of the healthcare industry. This key sector has come under increasing financial strain during the recession. There has been an incentive to streamline and cut back on costs which were previously deemed reasonable. However, healthcare professionals have also been expected to realize the benefits of various technologies.
It is thought that the majority of medical practices were at least 10 years behind the information technology curve prior to the integration of cloud based systems. Hospital staff were required to keep paper based schedules and records of their day to day activities. Patients had to take repeat tests at different medical establishments and information was stored on outdated computers. This meant that administrative tasks had to be completed on-site. Patients also had very limited access to essential personal data.
It would be fair to say that there was a fair degree of reluctance among members of the medical community over the adoption of cloud computing systems. They realized that it would be possible to reduce IT expenditure by storing data on major off-site servers. However, there were worries about the security of patient records and other private data. The circumspection was unsurprising, given the number of reports about hacking. However, there has been a growing acceptance of cloud computing technology as the developers have taken great steps to ensure the protection of client records.
A large number of stories have emerged about the transformative impact of cloud technology on the healthcare profession. Some have focused upon the benefits of allowing patients access to records stored remotely. This has meant that they’ve been able to keep up with prescriptions and monitor the updates made by doctors. The new technology has also enabled increased collaboration between different medical establishments. The switchover of patients has been simplified and the need for repeat testing has been reduced.
Medical workers who were once required to produce reports and other documents on hospital computers can now do a good deal of work off-site. There has been an increased tendency to access cloud based data and software via portable devices. So doctors and nurses can keep track of their work, no matter where they’re located. Hospitals have also been able to reduce investment in computer hardware and IT maintenance.
It is expected that more medical establishments will begin to reap the benefits of cloud computing over the coming months and years. Indeed, one of the leading American research companies recently claimed that $5.4 billion will have been spent on this technology by 2015. It is also thought that cloud computing will become increasingly popular in countries such as China and India. The level of competition among cloud storage providers may well intensify. This is likely to mean further savings for hospitals across the world.
Technology expert Shawn Kingsberry said, ‘the real focus will be on how to connect disperse data sets to turn them into more intelligent information to better serve customers in more innovative ways.‘ Following on from this, we may conclude that the cloud will act as an aid to medical research. It might help doctors to identify areas of concern and maintain desirable levels of communication with patients. Finally we may see greater integration of cloud servers with mobile devices.
This article was contributed by Rachel Glover who is an avid lover of technology, gadgets and all things internet!