In fact, according to a study by MarketandMarkets, the global adoption for cloud services in healthcare will grow from $US3.73 billion to nearly $US9.5 billion by 2020. Cloud technology is fuelling advances in growth areas like telemedicine, mobile health apps and remote monitoring tools.
The cloud offers very attractive benefits to healthcare providers, many of which are operating under tightened budgets and resource scarcity, the biggest being agility and mobility as well as cost benefits. Cloud services reduce the need to host, update, maintain or backup IT environments, eliminating the need to invest in on-premise servers, expensive hardware and support costs.
The way organisations use cloud is expanding. Applications like accounting software, file sharing, ERPs, data storage, project management and CRMs, are streamlining operations for healthcare providers, and in some instances are becoming commonplace. The next stage of widespread cloud adoption will see organisations have their entire IT environments in the cloud, including files, email and applications.
For healthcare providers looking at implementing cloud services to improve operations, these are the three things you need to consider.
- 1. Data security
- 2. The type of cloud you choose
Public clouds, like those offered by Amazon, Google and Microsoft, offer advanced technology. However, they can be expensive, complicated and impersonal. For personalised service you usually have to agree to a hefty upfront maintenance agreement.
Private cloud offerings have benefits from the sharing of IT resources across multiple applications and/or locations, which can help to increase productivity and reduce bottom line costs. However, one trap businesses can fall into is opting for a hosting service rather than a true cloud provider.
As the name implies, hybrid clouds use a combination of on-premise, private and public cloud services. They can expand capacity quickly but can be complicated to set up and run, resulting in a greater potential for things to go wrong, more downtime and more costs. Also, the on-premise equipment required can be expensive, and likewise, the ongoing maintenance.
- 3. Migration
The migration process can represent significant risk if not handled correctly. Before you migrate fully to the new cloud platform, ensure you test before you go live. It’s also important to have safety mechanisms in place so if things go wrong you can correct issues or even revert to the old system if need be.
Cloud adoption will continue to grow in the healthcare sector as providers see the ultimate business benefits. However, before you move to the cloud, do your due diligence. For instance, consider all the costs, including set-up and migration fees. Also, make sure the option you choose offers adequate security measures. If you’ve done your homework, moving to cloud can be one of the best things your organisation has ever done.