Updated on 22 October 2013
Ms Natasha Gulati, senior industry analyst, Asia Pacific healthcare practice, Frost & Sullivan
We live in a rapidly evolving world. Some of the things we see today did not even exist 10 years ago and this impact of innovation has been astonishingly pervasive across the healthcare industry. As governments across the world strive to deliver high standards-of-care, the role of technology in improving quality and reducing healthcare costs becomes increasingly crucial.
However, while all industry stakeholders agree that advance technologies and their adoption is important, few have realized the complete potential of investing in this area.
Cloud is a typical example of a technology which is rather under-appreciated in healthcare. Most healthcare organisations simply do not understand cloud and so many more are wary or sceptical of cloud solutions, due to the supposed "threat" to data privacy and security. With the whole world screaming about regulations and data protection, the real value that a technology like cloud can offer is lost. It is important for the healthcare industry's chief information officers (CIO) to step back, think through their information technology (IT) investment decisions and critically analyse what the current design could do for them over the next decade.
At the onset one must understand what cloud really is. Cloud storage and computing can be defined as a set of virtual servers working in tandem over the internet. The idea behind the concept is to network large groups of servers that have low cost personal computer (PC) configuration to carry out distributed data processing activities across the network using specialized connections.
The applications are easily accessible through the internet. These applications use large data centers and powerful servers that host web applications and services. Cloud architecture is a collection of resources which are managed dynamically and can be provisioned, de-provisioned, monitored and maintained at any point of time. This gives Cloud its unique value proposition, that of it being a IT tools with flexibility in terms of cost and usage.