Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 02, 2013

Is Healthcare Ready to Embrace the Cloud?

Although the healthcare industry as a whole has held back from adopting cloud-based services in comparison to the rate of other industry sectors, that might be soon to change.

Regulatory compliance is a major issue in the healthcare industry – and when it comes to cloud, it’s a hot-button issue. The healthcare industry, which must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), makes many IT decision makers in the healthcare industry cautious about adopting new technologies.

However, new HIPAA and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) requirements stipulate everyone in the healthcare industry to begin migrating patient records and other data to cloud computing by 2015.

Cloud service providers realize that this market segment requires customized services and are tailoring their offerings to make sure they are HIPAA-compliant, Scott Good, IaaS product manager at Savvisdirect, pointed out in a recent Forbes article.

“Many cloud service providers have started offering HIPAA-specific compliant solutions. Healthcare service providers should verify that their chosen cloud service provider is HIPAA compliant before signing up for the service,” Good noted.

He pointed out several benefits of cloud as they relate to the healthcare industry in particular:

  •         Security: Online medical records storage is the main reason for using cloud computing for most healthcare providers. With a recent HIPAA update, cloud service providers are now as liable for HIPAA compliance as the healthcare entities they serve.
  •         Scalability: Unlike on-site hardware infrastructure, you can easily scale your cloud storage solution to manage ever-growing patient data. Healthcare service providers generally must keep records for at least six years.
  •          Mobility: With cloud computing solutions, patient information is readily available. Now, doctors can quickly and easily pull up medical records remotely. This improves the physician’s ability to provide high-level care to patients. Patients see a reduction in the amount of paperwork that they need to fill out and the time and stress of disputing incorrect bills.

The global cloud computing market in the healthcare industry was valued at $1.82 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach $6.79 billion by 2018, growing at a CAGR of 21.3 percent from 2012 to 2018, according to Transparency Market Research.

Strong growth in the healthcare market is attributed to the need for healthcare organizations to manage and optimize their complex IT systems, provide faster and flexible healthcare delivery to patients and physicians through mobile and other easy access systems, facilitate compliance with regulatory standards and maintain confidentiality regarding patient data.

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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