Updated on 22 October 2013
To give you a simple example, nowdays one does not pay for television channels that one does not watch but instead has the flexibility to choose his channels as well as the option of modifying his mix of subscribed channels at any point in time. By applying the same logic, a healthcare CIO must question why the organization is paying for massive data centers, software applications and IT personnel during the trough periods of the business cycle, when resource utilization is at its minimum. Why not customize the organization's usage and availability of resources to mirror its business cycle fluctuations?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The ramifications of cloud adoption in healthcare are unimaginable. With healthcare providers looking at automating processes at lower cost and higher gains, cloud computing can act as an ideal platform in the healthcare IT space. Cloud computing could be seen as a boon to healthcare IT services, as a number of hospitals could share infrastructure with vast number of systems linked together for reducing cost and increasing efficiency. This also means real-time availability of patient information for doctors, nursing staff and other support services not within the country but possibly across various countries as medical professionals can access patient information from any internet enabled device without installing any software.
In the cloud computing scenario the electronic medical record (EMR) software or the LIS software and information are located in the central server and not on individual computers. Patient information and data can be accessed globally and resources can be shared by a group of hospitals rather than each hospital having a separate IT infrastructure. Cloud computing would help hospitals to achieve more efficient use of their hardware and software investments and increase profitability by improving the utilization of resources to the maximum.
By pooling the various healthcare IT resources into large clouds, hospitals can reduce the cost and increase utilization as the resources are delivered only, when they are required. The use of cloud computing architecture helps is in eliminating the time and effort needed to roll a healthcare IT application in a hospital.
The future direction of the healthcare industry is quite visionary with stakeholders envisaging a seamless flow of medical knowledge facilitated by cloud. With the exponential growth of data across all sectors, it only serves to feed the human appetite for advancement when we start imagining what one could do with all this information. A futuristic scenario would include real-time information capture, analysis and dissemination amongst all healthcare industry participants including patients, care providers, healthcare delivery organizations, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, research organizations and government agencies.