By Rupali Katole Paunikar
A solid data strategy is imperative in today’s dynamic environment if healthcare providers wish to facilitate effective data management, utilization, and sharing.
Cloud computing is key for execution, a top enabler for mission-critical data functions, particularly medical record storage and integration into practice management workflows. Cloud applications are providing significant value in the telemedicine space as well, as providers seek additional means to support growing market segments such as mental health treatment.
While migration, staffing, and security concerns persist among cloud-hesitant providers, movement to cloud-based services is nonetheless one of the fastest-growing areas of resource allocation in healthcare, and is expected to remain so for the next three to five years. Here’s a look at some ways cloud technologies are helping health systems and patients alike, and where this path will likely lead the future of healthcare.
Onsite data centers are becoming outdated environments. Compared to cloud-based technologies, which scale up or down based on user demands, traditional means of storage can be quite costly and inefficient. Software-as-a-service (SasS) models run on subscriptions so users “pay as they go.” By leveraging a cloud provider’s resources, healthcare providers can rely on their expertise regarding security, performance optimization, and advanced analytics applications. This also allows providers to focus on providing care vs. worrying about software updates and equipment maintenance.
Another benefit of cloud data applications is their ability to enable smoother, faster collaboration among care partners. Results sharing, referrals, and general medical record data can be exchanged rapidly and seamlessly in the cloud.
Providers receive thousands of physical pages and/or scanned PDFs, and trafficking them becomes extremely tedious for staff. Organizing and interpreting this data through various physical formats such as rekeying from printed pages is a time-consuming, resource-intensive endeavor, not to mention a security threat. Digital documents, on the other hand, can be analyzed and have specific data sets extracted and placed into EHRs and other workflows, a huge time-saver for staff. By managing patient data digitally in the cloud, it is consolidated and simplified to enable real-time access for both its owner and authorized decision-makers.