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In recent years, healthcare provider organizations of all sizes have joined large health systems in transitioning to cloud-based software for safety, quality, risk management, and other applications. This is because cloud computing in healthcare offers tremendous advantages to small private practices, multi-location hospital networks, and independent treatment facilities alike.
Virtually every sized healthcare facility can take advantage of benefits, such as reducing costs, enhancing privacy, and most importantly, fostering patient safety and quality initiatives by leveraging cloud software technologies.
In the broader sense, cloud computing in healthcare refers to the implementation of remote servers. These off-site IT resources are accessed via a high-speed internet connection.
Healthcare organizations can use these servers to manage, store, and process data related to the patients they serve and the services they provide, including information technology management for:
The alternative options are to establish a robust on-site data center or to host data on individual computers. Creating an on-site data center is incredibly costly compared with employing a hosted or cloud-based application—also referred to as software as a service (Saas). In addition, data housed locally on personal devices can compromise the security of patient and provider performance information and diminish the care experience.
Security is more than just user privileges and password policies. It’s a multidimensional business imperative. Companies such as The Patient Safety Company that deliver convenient cloud computing options maintain detailed, rock-solid policies, processes, and procedures in place to deliver the highest levels of security.
Cloud computing in healthcare provides organizations with a unique balance of security, data-sharing capabilities, and scalability. It is more cost-effective than on-site data centers and substantially more secure than hosting data on personal computers.
Cloud computing in healthcare is revolutionizing the entire industry. This technology allows providers within and between organizations to share data safely and efficiently. The result is a safer patient experience and improved outcomes, which increasingly affect reimbursement. For example, providers are able to use this technology to expedite the reimbursement process and improve against internal and external quality targets, which include key performance indicators for safety and compliance, such as hand hygiene, fall prevention, and more.
In addition, cloud computing enables collaboration in a modern environment. Working from any facility or site and importing/exporting data and documents from anywhere, via any electronic device, is a scenario that’s here to stay. Cloud technology secures information and enables remote connectivity for any user, including providers and staff, with any level of permissions granted.
Effective patient safety and continuous quality improvement efforts that result in fewer incidents will require readily available tools for:
Cloud computing checks all of these boxes.
The Patient Safety Company’s cloud-based tools facilitate the completion and submission of documents required for creating a culture of continuous improvement via a secure website, eliminate or minimize paper processes, and provide an efficient and secure way to share and reuse data in your system.
COVID-19’s impact on cloud adoption
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of cloud computing in healthcare. Between the rush to develop a viable vaccine and the need to expand caregiving capabilities, healthcare organizations were thrust into an accelerated timeline to acquire and share data. In response, many entities adopted vertical cloud solutions that are designed to accommodate the unique needs of healthcare providers. Cloud computing companies that focus only on healthcare had a leg up because they were already adept at incorporating safety, privacy, and performance improvement.
These technologies facilitate AI-based development and research, telehealth services, and crisis management protocols while simultaneously maintaining compliance with government and other regulators.
Cloud computing in healthcare can generally be divided into two broad models. These types of cloud computing solutions include:
Deployment model: There are four cloud deployment models: public clouds, private clouds, community clouds, and hybrid clouds. The exact deployment model chosen will depend on the specific needs of the industry.
For the healthcare industry, a private cloud or hybrid cloud deployment is the ideal solution. Private clouds are excellent for healthcare organizations due to the stringent patient data restrictions established through regulatory requirements.
Distribution model: A distribution model leverages dispersed data centers and multiple points of presence (PoPs). Each location has edge devices and leverages the architecture established by existing clouds.
The distribution model places an increased emphasis on extending services to customer data centers and edge devices. The cloud provider is responsible for the maintenance, operation, governance, and updating of the distribution model.
As organizations gravitate to hosted environments for all types of healthcare applications, decision-makers naturally want to be sure about safety, performance, and control when moving from on-premises applications. As a result, the selection of the most appropriate, safety-oriented model is necessary.
There are eight key benefits to the implementation of cloud computing solutions, which include the following:
As with any new technology, there are challenges associated with the widespread adoption of cloud computing in healthcare. At the forefront of these obstacles are concerns regarding the confidentiality and security of cloud-based computing solutions. Some facilities and providers are worried that cloud-based data storage does not offer an adequate protection of confidential patient or provider information.
However, the majority of these concerns are unfounded. In fact, cloud-based storage is far safer than traditional recordkeeping methods involving physical patient files or the use of personal computers. By implementing strong application security practices such as encryption-in-transit, encryption-at-rest, robust authentication and authorization mechanisms, and defense-in-depth controls, cloud computing keeps data safe and in the hands of the right parties.
Cloud computing is a valuable resource for healthcare organizations but will require the selection of the right cloud services provider.
The Patient Safety Company specializes in cloud solutions for healthcare. Our firm understands the unique needs of providers, hospitals, and physicians’ groups. We have earned the trust of over 6,000 hospitals and health systems across the globe by helping them navigate the complexities of healthcare operations.
For example, one of our clients with facilities in Southern Africa, Middle East en Europe is collecting data on 3 different cloud locations. This multi cloud solution enables them to combine relevant data for incident analysis and still comply to local privacy regulations.
If you would like to learn more about our innovative suite of SaaS solutions for improving patient safety, contact us today. You can even schedule a demo and see our integrated healthcare technologies firsthand.
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