To improve healthcare, consider the cloud

Cloud computing has the potential ability to streamline IT operations and reduce costs for the healthcare sector. However, implementing the cloud for healthcare providers does present some unique challenges.

Cloud computing has the potential ability to streamline IT operations and reduce costs for just about any industry, including the healthcare sector. However, implementing the cloud for doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers does present some unique challenges.

According to Network World, most healthcare providers currently use private clouds, in which on-site servers house files for the entire facility. Judy Klickstein, CIO of Cambridge Health Alliance, told the news source that more healthcare centers would turn to public cloud-based solutions if a few key concerns were addressed.

One of the main issue for hospitals and healthcare providers is reliability. While a private cloud allows the facility to maintain total control, a public cloud involves relinquishing some control over data storage. Klickstein said that many healthcare CIOs worry that a potential outage with the public cloud could unexpectedly bring operations to a halt, a non-option for centers that provide critical care. To address this issue, healthcare providers can use multiple public clouds to ensure that at least one system is always running.

Of course, another major concern healthcare CIOs have with public cloud solutions are perceived security shortfalls. Klickstein told Network World that not only do healthcare providers have some of the same security concerns as any other organization, but laws also require even more precautions when it comes to protecting patient data.

A data breach can be especially costly for a hospital, as the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found out last month when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fined them $1.5 million for violating U.S. law relating to proper patient data storage guidelines, Becker’s Hospital Review reported.

Should healthcare providers more fully embrace public cloud-based solutions? What layered security measures can be used to better protect patient information stored in the cloud? Leave your comments below to let us know what you think about this issue!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.