The Role of Cloud Computing in Healthcare Transformation

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Harsh Raval
Associate Director of Engineering
July 3, 2024
healthcare

The healthcare industry faces growing challenges in optimizing costs, managing patient demands, and drawing actionable insights from medical data. The current healthcare digital ecosystem requires better data management to enhance collaboration among healthcare providers and streamline day-to-day operations. These are exactly the challenges that call for cloud computing as a savior. 

Cloud computing in healthcare refers to the deployment of cloud-based technologies to assist with the healthcare digital ecosystem. Reports for the global healthcare cloud computing market estimate it to reach $120.6 billion by 2029. The prime reason for this is the cloud’s ability to enable scalable management of patient records, telemedicine support, and enhanced security. 

In short, cloud computing is gaining appeal in the healthcare market. Leveraging the cloud can uplift the digital transformation in healthcare by streamlining overall healthcare governance. Moreover, post-COVID healthcare transformation mandates leveraging cloud solutions to enhance remote care, data sharing, and operational resilience.

Source: Markets and Markets

Why Is Healthcare Moving Toward Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing enables healthcare to integrate with advanced technologies to drive significant improvements in care for health. For instance, it enables IoT solutions for healthcare, facilitating real-time data collection and analysis and improving patient monitoring. For healthcare, cloud-based solutions provide an infrastructure that can drive advancements in data management, interoperability, and other aspects of Medicare. Leveraging cloud technology also allows healthcare providers to enhance data security by allowing the ecosystem to integrate with CSPM, SSPM, and other such cybersecurity solutions. The need to adopt cloud computing in healthcare, therefore, emerges from the freedom it offers for innovating various aspects of healthcare, from surgery to patient engagement to managing healthcare providers and more.

Benefits of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry

Cloud computing in healthcare provides numerous benefits, including enhanced data security, improved healthcare services, and cost savings. These benefits maximize the potential offerings of digitalized healthcare.

  • Support for IoMT: IoMT solutions for healthcare are primarily supported by cloud computing. Cloud helps them enable real-time monitoring, improved patient outcomes, and enhanced healthcare administration by leveraging interconnected devices.
  • Support for Platform Engineering: Cloud computing supports the building and deployment of healthcare platforms. These personalized fitness platforms allow healthcare providers to offer tailored health and fitness plans that would improve patient engagement and health outcomes.
  • Personalized Offerings: Not just platforms, cloud computing enables many more offerings for healthcare personalization. By allowing providers to tailor treatments and interventions based on individual patient data, it can significantly improve overall health outcomes.
  • Data Sharing - Cloud computing facilitates seamless data sharing among healthcare providers, enhancing collaboration, improving patient care, and ensuring more accurate and timely medical decisions.
  • Enhanced Patient Engagement- Cloud computing can directly improve patient offerings by providing secure, real-time access to medical records and enabling better decision-making for efficient healthcare delivery.

Risks Associated with Cloud Computing in Healthcare

The risks of embracing cloud computing arise from its inherent nature of shared resources and multi-tenancy. In a cloud environment, multiple users and applications share the same infrastructure, potentially leading to data security, privacy, and compliance vulnerabilities. Here’s how these risks manifest in healthcare:

  • Data breaches: Cloud infrastructure can often be accessed unauthorized, leading to significant privacy violations. Storing data securely in the cloud is crucial to protecting personal and medical information.
  • Compliance Violations: Cloud providers might not always adhere to strict regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the U.S. and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe. Non-compliance can lead to legal penalties, loss of certification, and increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies.
  • Frequent Downtimes: Cloud environments are susceptible to service outages, data corruption, and loss due to hardware failures, cyberattacks, or natural disasters. These downtimes can disrupt healthcare services, potentially harming patients.
  • Lack of Control and Visibility: Healthcare organizations often lack direct control over their data and infrastructure in a cloud environment. This can lead to challenges in monitoring and managing security effectively.
  • Third-Party Risks: Cloud services often involve multiple third-party vendors for data storage, processing, and application management. Each additional vendor increases the risk exposure.

Real-World Examples of Cloud Technology in Healthcare

Real-world applications of cloud computing in healthcare demonstrate its transformative potential. From electronic health records and IoMT solutions to AI-driven diagnostics and robotic surgeries, these technologies enhance patient care, streamline operations, and improve outcomes by leveraging the power of the cloud.

  • Electronic Health Record connectors enable seamless data sharing and integration across healthcare systems, illustrating the practical benefits of cloud computing in healthcare.
  • IoMT-based healthcare solutions connect medical devices to the cloud. As discussed above, cloud-based systems help IoT with real-time monitoring and data analysis to improve patient outcomes and care efficiency.
  • Computer Vision-powered healthcare solutions utilize cloud computing for advanced imaging analysis, enhancing the accuracy of diagnostics and treatment planning. 
  • Generative AI in healthcare leverages cloud platforms to create personalized treatment plans and predictive models.
  • Robots in healthcare, powered by cloud computing, can help perform complex surgeries with precision and enhance patient care.
  • Improving healthcare outcomes through interoperability involves cloud-based systems that ensure seamless data exchange across platforms, enhancing care coordination and patient outcomes.

Future of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

The future of cloud computing in healthcare promises continued innovation, driven by technological advancements and increasing adoption across the industry. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) revolutionizes healthcare, AI/ML innovations make patient engagement more personalized, data analytics makes telemedicine more data-driven, and there’s much more. Here’s how:

  • Remote and Decentralized Care Models: The shift towards remote work and decentralized care will continue, driven by the capabilities of cloud computing. Cloud-based collaboration tools and platforms will evolve, offering improved user experiences and supporting more robust telehealth services​.
  • Enhanced Security Measures: As cyber threats continue to evolve, cloud providers will develop more advanced security measures to protect sensitive healthcare data. This includes the use of AI for threat detection, blockchain for secure medical data transactions, and zero-trust security models.​ 
  • Edge Computing for Real-Time Processing: The adoption of edge computing will increase, bringing data processing closer to where it is generated. This will reduce latency and improve the performance of critical healthcare applications, such as those used in telemedicine and remote surgeries​. 
  • Expansion of IoT and IoMT: The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will become more prevalent, with more connected devices and sensors collecting and transmitting health data in real time. This will improve remote patient monitoring, chronic disease management, and emergency response systems.​

How Can Zymr Help Adopt Cloud Computing in Healthcare?

At Zymr, we facilitate healthcare's adoption of cloud computing by helping build tailored solutions that enhance digital offerings for healthcare. Our experts specialize in developing custom cloud-based solutions that integrate seamlessly into healthcare systems. Here are some offerings we have for cloud computing in healthcare:

  • IoT for Patient Monitoring: Develop IoT-based solutions for real-time patient monitoring, providing continuous health data to care teams and enabling proactive care interventions.
  • Secure Telehealth Platforms: Build secure telehealth platforms with integrated voice and video services, facilitating remote consultations and expanding access to healthcare services.
  • Data Security and Compliance: Implement robust security measures and ensure compliance with healthcare regulations such as HIPAA, enabling secure handling of sensitive patients data.
  • Azure-based Data Analytics: Utilize Azure-based data analytics platforms and PowerBI for robust reporting systems, enabling healthcare organizations to gain actionable insights from their data.
  • EHR Connectors: Create and integrate EHR connectors to streamline data flow between healthcare systems, enhancing interoperability and patient data accessibility.

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About The Author

Harsh Raval

Harsh Raval

Associate Director of Engineering

Harsh Raval is an experienced full-stack engineer with 13+ years in enterprise cloud solutions and MEAN stack software development.

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