9 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

9 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Cloud computing plays a central role in healthcare. For starters, it stores electronic health records (EHRs) and keeps them accessible. But, cloud computing also improves efficiencies and supports overarching organizational goals.

Learn how to overcome challenges and make headway on your digital transformation by leveraging 9 benefits of cloud computing in healthcare.

To learn more about Cox Business Cloud Solutions, visit us at Booth #6036, during the HIMSS21 Conference or online at https://www.cox.com/business/cloud-services.html
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1. Supports Digital Transformation Goals

Accenture reports that “81% of healthcare executives say the pace of digital transformation for their organization is accelerating.” But, smaller facilities and solo practitioners progress slower than larger health systems.

Moving to the cloud is among the first steps required for digital transformation. And hosted cloud services don’t need huge infrastructure investments. Therefore, with low barriers to use, doctors can benefit from cloud computing immediately.

2. Streamlines Electronic Record Keeping

Health systems and practitioners widely embrace the practice of using EHRs and electronic medical records (EMRs). According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, “as of 2017, 86% of office-based physicians had adopted any EHR, and 80% had adopted a certified EHR.”

While EHRs and EMRs improve upon hand-written patient charts, inefficiencies exist. For instance, some facilities still enter lab or doctor notes manually. Without cloud computing, it’s harder to connect patient charts to other systems, such as patient scheduling tools and telehealth programs.

In comparison, cloud computing supports natural language processing (NLP). Physician notes and radiologist readings can be analyzed in the cloud. Online databases provide medical records and outstanding orders. Meanwhile, version and access control give an audit trail and reduce errors.

3. Enables a Patient-Centric Approach

Delivering the right care at the right time and location benefits patients and health systems. Moreover, giving patients access to health data supports patient-centric goals. But, on-site solutions don’t have the flexibility to meet this objective.

On the other hand, cloud computing helps patients manage healthcare, communicate with a healthcare provider, and perform health-related tasks from any internet-connected device. When offered cloud-based healthcare access, patients use technology to:

  • Monitor healthcare charges
  • Search for a healthcare provider
  • Send or receive text messages
  • Communicate online or through email
  • Schedule medical appointments online
  • Complete health-related forms or paperwork

The democratization of healthcare data removes barriers to access. It also lets doctors personalize interactions and offer pricing transparency. Positive patient experiences increase trust in providers. Furthermore, medical record access supports care continuity and helps health systems retain patients.

4. Delivers a Scalable Healthcare Solution

Self-hosted storage solutions impose limits on the data capacity. Expansion is expensive, both for infrastructure and IT resources. However, cloud computing in healthcare provides flexibility. Health leaders use a pay-as-you-go subscription-based model. It lets them scale up or down quickly to meet demand.

Cloud providers handle upgrades, patching, and data security. There isn’t a need to buy extra hardware or pay for software updates. These qualities make cloud computing beneficial to solo practitioners and large organizations. With a lower upfront investment, health businesses can increase cloud capacity without adding physical infrastructure.

5. Improves Interoperability Between Devices and Systems

By 2022, eMarketer estimates that the U.S. “will spend nearly $16 billion on EHR and EMR systems, up 11.7% from 2020.” But, interoperability is a real concern. According to a November 2020 eHealth Initiative survey, top challenges for healthcare executives include:

  • Executing and managing patient access via application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Complying with public reporting and information blocking and public reporting rules
  • Connecting admission, discharge, and transfer systems
  • Providing payor-to-payor data exchanges
  • Maintaining and updating provider databases using APIs

Digital health initiatives require interoperability between systems, applications, and connected medical devices. Moreover, providers and payers need to share access to patient data. Using cloud data integrations throughout the healthcare system allows for the seamless transfer of information between those in the healthcare industry.

6. Enhances Collaboration Between Doctors and Specialists

Value-based care methods rely on collaboration. That isn’t easy to achieve without cloud computing. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology finds, “nearly one-third of individuals who went to a doctor in the past 12 months reported experiencing a gap in information exchange.”

Electronic health record storage lets doctors share information and view test results. However, it’s not only about data sharing. Instead, HIPAA-compliant tools allow caregivers to meet via video conferencing, chat, or one-on-one calls.

Providers use tools like document or screen sharing to discuss patient issues or explore potential outcomes. In addition, collaboration occurs regardless of geographic barriers. Doctors may access and interact with other providers even if they’re away from their office.

7. Reduces the Burden of Data Storage

Devices and applications generate a lot of data. In return, health providers must dedicate IT resources to data security and management. They also must monitor on-site storage capacity and make large infrastructure investments as the amount of data grows.

When IT teams spend their time patching software and maintaining servers, they can’t focus on patient-facing goals. However, cloud computing is less resource-intensive. The cloud provider maintains, repairs, and updates the platforms. If issues occur, on-premise IT teams interact remotely with cloud providers to get services back up with little downtime.

The cost of monthly cloud subscriptions is often lower than the price of hiring IT employees and building or repairing complex on-site storage systems.

8. Allows Data-Driven Decision-Making

Big data provides insights into population health and patterns. However, turning large amounts of information into actionable insights is challenging. Fortunately, cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools help even solo practitioners make clinical decisions quicker. In return, doctors use big data applications to improve patient outcomes.

Cloud computing fuels medical research while enabling providers to detect and respond to public health threats. Additionally, cloud-based data analysis supports personalized care plans, allowing healthcare works to tailor their care to the individual.

9. Enhances Disaster Recovery Efforts

Data loss prevention is vital. However, local disasters can render on-site facilities inaccessible. Providers may not have access to scheduling tools, patient and caregiver databases, or patient records. Each minute of downtime could result in poor patient outcomes or experiences.

Cloud computing offers secure access to information. It takes minimal effort to recover or process managed data during or after a disaster. Moreover, cloud services provide tools for automated backups and data security. With IT headaches eliminated, providers can focus on patient care and local recovery efforts.

Leverage the Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

As wearable connected devices and mobile health apps become the norm, health providers must store and manage that data. Cloud computing promotes interoperability while assuring access for patients and caregivers regardless of location.

Explore Healthcare IT Solutions from Cox Business

Cox Business provides technology solutions to the healthcare industry that help achieve the added reliability, scalability, and redundancy crucial to healthcare. Visit us at Booth #6236 during the HIMSS21 Conference, or online at https://www.cox.com/business/enterprise/healthcare.html