How Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing The Healthcare Industry
Cloud Computing & The Healthcare Industry - Prelude Services
Cloud servers have transformed the way companies store data and exchange information with authorized personnel. Thanks to the infinite space cloud servers provide, many companies are trimming computer departments and IT staff, reducing overhead in the process. Cloud computing has worked hand in glove with the Internet of Things, which enables digitizing and programming various objects to communicate with centralized information servers.
At medical facilities, cloud computing has been a boon for healthcare information technology. Cloud computing makes it possible for hospitals to file and access electronic health records at the push of a button without the need for physical documents. With all the functional aspects handled on the server's end, hospital staff can access their database from any location. When hospitals must exchange information, they can do so over a cloud system without risk of leaking classified physical documents.
With cloud computing, you can store infinite amounts of data in one place. Since this storage space is virtual, you never have to rent out space in the physical sense. All the information your authorized personnel could ever need becomes accessible from anywhere.
With unlimited cloud storage, hospitals can do away with unnecessary paper documents. Once a case becomes old and irrelevant, shred the paper documents to conserve filing space. If the information on a subject suddenly becomes relevant in the future for any reason, employees can access the appropriate files digitally from a cloud server.
When everything lives in the cloud, people can access the necessary files more readily at a moment's notice. Instead of sifting through drawers and alphabetized surnames, hospital staff can enter the name into a private-access database and, within seconds, pull up the patient file in question. The importance of cloud computing is primarily due to its limitless storage because this unlocks the numerous other benefits, such as the scalability of operations and the reduction of overhead costs.
All facilities throughout the medical sector accumulate volumes upon volumes of information daily. Whether your facility is large or small, there will inevitably be vast amounts of data to file away for future access and safekeeping. With cloud storage, the tasks involved with data entry and storage become less cluttered and time-consuming.
Cloud storage systems can store patient data for future retrieval in a matter of seconds. Since the data exists on a remote server, you only need to make hard copies when necessary, such as when patients request copies. Otherwise, you can conserve paper, free up storage space and save on printing costs. There is less need for paper stacks, toner and room after room of filing cabinets when you use cloud storage. The tasks that surround data entry and retrieval are also less vulnerable to human error when performed on a cloud server.
Cloud computing security services make it easy for authorized staff to log into a database, retrieve pertinent info, input new information and pull up different files within seconds, all without risk of damaging or misplacing files.
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With cloud computing, an infinite supply of information is accessible at your fingertips. When you need information about a patient's medical background, you can pull it up at a moment's notice and expedite the process of any routine appointment. Even if the patient is new to your facility, you can access data about their medical history with greater speed. Instead of waiting for the information to arrive via snail mail, you can retrieve it all from a computer network and digitally enter it into your system.
Cloud computing also provides access to a world of knowledge on any given topic about symptoms, treatments and medicines. If a patient shows a strange set of symptoms that are difficult at first to identify, it's easy to digitally retrieve all existing science on the symptoms in question and quickly narrow it down to the most likely matches. From there, health professionals can run a further set of questions and tests to make an accurate diagnosis.
Cloud computing systems and applications in healthcare make it possible for doctors to deliver answers to a wider array of patient questions and concerns, while also getting more diagnoses right the first time.
Cloud computing makes it easy for medical professionals to communicate across great distances and collaborate when necessary. If you have a new patient who previously had a longstanding relationship with a different hospital in a far-away city, you can instantly communicate with that facility to retrieve the necessary information on the patient's medical background. As cloud computing in healthcare spreads throughout the medical sector, patients' lives improve and hospitals provide better care because information becomes available whenever necessary to those who need it.
Cloud communication also facilitates collaborations between different medical entities with a shared goal, such as when an outbreak occurs and doctors hurry to identify and contain the problem. If a highly contagious virus erupts in several cities simultaneously, doctors at different facilities can communicate digitally to quickly implement safety procedures for handling the epidemic. As cloud computing spreads throughout the medical community, future outbreaks are less likely to blindside the world.
In cloud computing, tools and software programs can be upgraded instantly with no time lost. The moment a new patch or generation of software gets released, third-party techs from a healthcare software development company will update your system as the medical staff at your facility proceeds unhindered with their regular operations.
This process stands in marked contrast to the delays and errors large, in-house IT staff sometimes encounter. If your hospital contains an extensive, local computing network, problems can arise when software programs need upgrades across the system. Often, computer rooms consist of towers and peripherals purchased at different times. Consequently, system upgrades might not be universally accepted across an entire network of computers, especially not if the equipment involved is from different generations.
With the applications of cloud computing in healthcare, you can rid your facility of outdated computer equipment and get all your computing needs met by a third-party server that your staff can remotely access on today's mobile equipment.
One of the greatest assets of cloud computing is that it is accessible from any location with Wi-Fi. Moreover, users can access cloud servers using compact, portable devices. As such, medical staff can communicate and coordinate tasks from different locations. If a working staff member needs some piece of information a vacationing colleague knows, they can instantly contact the latter party, regardless of distance. Then, they can upload the requested info to the cloud server for instant access by authorized personnel.
Mobile apps are embedded with cloud-friendly infrastructures that make system programs readable and operable on small devices. With cloud computing, collaborating staff can interact and remotely work together regardless of the methods used to access the server. Therefore, a three-way collaboration could occur between one staffer on an office computer, a second staffer on a kitchen laptop and a third staffer on a smartphone while commuting via bus, train or airplane.
Security and Privacy
Cloud computing maintains all the privacy standards instituted at hospitals, but the security is even better because there is no risk of theft. Today, cloud services are bound by law to the privacy standards established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As such, cloud computing allows medical facilities to retain maximum levels of security and privacy through the more accessible and efficient mediums of computers and mobile devices.
In a medical facility, documents can get lost by neglectful employees or stolen by rogue insiders. Fires, floods or other natural disasters can also result in the loss of physical documents. With cloud computing, none of these instances result in any loss because everything is backed up digitally within a cloud-based system. If a cyber-criminal mishandles or compromises a piece of information, their digital footprint can identify them almost instantly.
Cloud computing and data security go hand in hand with today's options. HIPAA cloud computing is designed to offer medical facilities the numerous benefits of remote data storage and do so within the legal guidelines laid out for the industry.
A hospital can significantly slash the overhead costs associated with computers and IT staff. For starters, your facility would have little need for a massive, in-house computer network once you've signed on with one of the cloud computing service providers. A third-party service provider could handle most of the functions that might have required a local network. Therefore, you can dispense with old and outdated computer equipment and free up space for other purposes. Overall, 88 percent of healthcare organizations have witnessed a 20 percent drop in IT-related expenses since moving to cloud servers.
With a cloud service, you might have little remaining need for in-house IT staff because most such tasks would get handled at the server's end. If a program needs implementing or updating, service technicians from a remote location would handle those tasks. Instead of retaining a full-time IT staff, you could pay to have an IT technician visit your facility on an as-needed basis if and when a technical issue arises.
Cloud computing makes it possible for businesses to scale their operations up or down, according to the necessities of certain market conditions or seasons. In the medical industry, you could scale up at minimal cost as your facility grows and you accept new influxes of patients, expand your staff and build new additions to your hospital premises. Long-term care management software can accommodate a hospital database of virtually any size.
With traditional computing, it is much more difficult and costly to scale up or down because of all the equipment and staff involved. If you wished to upgrade, you would need to invest in more computers and pay a larger IT staff. The costs associated with computer upkeep can also be a complicating factor because universal system updates usually require a uniform set of machines. If half the devices in the network are older and unsupported by newer software programs, you would have to replace all of them at once. Cloud computing can help you avoid these and other scalability problems.
Maximum Functionality During Disasters
When disasters strike, hospitals are among the most necessary resource facilities. If a great fire or flood ravages your area, cloud computing would make it easier for onsite hospital staff to communicate with first responders in the heart of the disaster. As ambulance crews tend to the injured, medical staff can relay information back and forth in real time. If a rookie responder needs directions on how to treat an injured person at the scene, other team members can send them lifesaving instructions in the nick of time.
Cloud computing also makes it easier to weather the brunt of a disaster on site. Even if parts of a medical facility get damaged or destroyed by a fire, hurricane or earthquake, none of the vital data and patient records would become lost or damaged because a remote cloud server would securely store all that information in digital form.
Improved Remote Patient Care
Cloud computing makes it easier for outcall patient-care workers to perform services at patient residences. During outcalls, a medical professional can retrieve data on a patient's condition and determine which treatments are necessary by logging into the cloud-hosted hospital database from a mobile device. If a question arises that requires the input of a medical staffer not present at the scene, the outcall professional could easily contact the colleague and get the answer on the spot.
Cloud computing applications also allow patients to communicate with doctors from the comfort of home. If a patient has a condition that requires regular monitoring, they can send updates to the medical facility from their living room.
Streamlined IT Services
Long-term care technology has undergone tremendous improvements in recent years, thanks to the rapid advances in cloud computing. Up until a decade ago, hospitals were limited to phone, fax and snail mail when it came to communication. Even when the Internet made it easier for people to communicate, security concerns made it unsafe for hospitals to join in the digital revolution. All this would change with the technological advances of cloud computing, which makes it possible to store secure info on all patients for immediate access by authorized personnel in the near or distant future.
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Regardless of the size of your medical facility, it is essential to have access to IT technicians who can handle such concerns on an as-needed basis. At Prelude Services, we offer IT strategic planning, support and management to facilities in the healthcare sector throughout the United States. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can transform your healthcare practice.