Cloud computing in healthcare describes the practice of implementing remote servers accessed via the internet to store, manage and process healthcare-related data.
This is in contrast to establishing an on-site data center with servers, or hosting the data on a personal computer.
Cloud storage offers a flexible solution that allows healthcare professionals and hospitals to leverage a network of remotely accessible servers where they can store large volumes of data in a secure environment that is maintained by IT professionals.
Types of cloud computing in healthcare:
CC is an innovation for health care organizations. In the health care industry, 3 types of innovations can be observed:
- innovation focusing on the manner in which consumers access health care and fund the related services
- innovation applying technology to improve products, services, or care
- innovation generating new business models.
Cloud Computing in healthcare is an innovation of applying (information) technology in health care organizations (type 2) that is in sharp contrast to traditional health IT approaches.
Cloud Computing provides 3 different service models—software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS)—all of which are Web-based.
Cloud Computing in healthcare can therefore deliver fundamental IT resources such as processing, storage (IaaS), and platforms together with programming languages, tools, and/or libraries that support users to develop and/or deploy software (PaaS).
Cloud Computing can also provide ready-to-use software applications (SaaS), which run on the cloud infrastructure, to health care organizations.
It relies on different deployment models to provide IT services.
First, in a public cloud, the infrastructure of CCSs is provided for open use by the general public.
Second, the infrastructure of a private or community cloud is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization or a specific group of organizations, respectively.
Third, a hybrid cloud is a combination of 2 or more of the aforementioned deployment models. Whereas public clouds exist off the premises of cloud users, private and community clouds may exist on or off premises.
How are Healthcare Organizations Using the Cloud Today?
The first thing we will look at is what healthcare providers are already hosting in the cloud, which we outline below:
The number one application in the healthcare cloud space is email.
In fact, the adoption of cloud-based email is in the 80% range. So it’s very common first-step for most healthcare organizations moving to the cloud.
Hosting EMR/EHR in the Cloud
Following email, we’re seeing more electronic medical records (EMR) being moved to the cloud.
But we notice from most is that this move is towards a hybrid cloud configuration.
So, the actual core database and main electronic health record applications are moved to the cloud, and that environment is then connected to either an on-premise environment or another cloud provider that may provide services like PACS (picture archiving and communication system) imaging, interfaces, interoperability between hospitals or other practices.
Fax in the Cloud
Faxing is still used in a lot of healthcare organizations, but in most cases, it’s a fax environment on-premise. However, we’re starting to see healthcare providers move their core systems, such as fax; in fact, the shift is moving faster than in earlier years.
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