Cloud-based computing, once thought to be lacking in security, is now being embraced by healthcare organizations, and MarketsandMarkets predicts use will grow 20% annually with total spending expected to reach $5.4 billion in 2017.
Reasons for this increase include new security requirements driven by stronger HIPAA laws and enforcement as well as the need for more storage.  According to an article by Laura Landro for the Wall Street Journal, “About 600 million imaging procedures are performed each year by healthcare providers in the U.S., including CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs…Hospitals generally are required by law to keep images for seven years, but many keep them longer. They also retain backup copies as part of disaster-recovery planning and to comply with the federal health-care privacy law.”
In 2011, only 4% of healthcare providers had adopted the cloud but, according to MarketsandMarkets, “A large number of healthcare organizations are allocating funds for migration to cloud computing in the next five years.” Cloud-service companies are answering the need. They can provide the necessary storage for electronic health records (EHRs) and are providing enhanced data security.
Data is beginning to prove that cloud-based healthcare storage is safer and more efficient than the traditional paper form and is even more secure than storing information on individual servers. Storing data in the cloud reduces risk and outsources the handling of IT security to a company who has the capability to handle such a function.
The Cloud is Affordable
Hospitals are able to save money through cloud storage. “Instead of big capital investments in their own storage,” Landro writes, “they are paying a relatively modest upfront charge and monthly usage fees for cloud services.”This benefits large health systems as well as private practices and rural hospitals. Private practices and smaller hospitals have less volume and lesser negotiation leverage in terms of buying hardware to store information. The cloud basically allows them to share computing resources with many other organizations. Facilities of any size can choose a package for their needs and scale as they grow.
The Cloud Saves Time
Implementing a new data system takes time. Installing a complex network to store documents under HIPAA guidelines is not easy. Plus, continuously maintaining and upgrading the hardware is costly and time consuming. A hospital can outsource these tasks to a cloud services company, allowing the facility to focus their resources on patient care.
The Cloud is the Future
In addition to cloud-based computing and storage, facilities are beginning to migrate to cloud-based security systems. The Anthem Memory Care Facility in Littleton, Colorado has already seen the benefit of moving to a cloud-based access control system. A cloud system allows the facility to change pass codes quickly whenever access is breached. This allows them to focus on the patient in crisis rather than running around the facility manually changing codes on each key pad. This new system is giving everyone peace of mind and making operations more efficient.Cloud-based computing for healthcare is a growing industry, and the sky’s the limit for the benefits facilities could gain from this service.Receive the IntelliCentrics Blog in your inbox every time we publish a new blog post.  Click here to subscribe to our blog today!

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