What is Healthcare Cloud Computing?
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Healthcare cloud computing has changed the entire healthcare industry in significant ways during the last few years. Before you can understand how cloud computing applies to the healthcare industry, you must first understand what cloud computing is in general.
What is Healthcare Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is, simply put, the idea of taking information that would traditionally be stored locally on a computer's hard disk drive and storing it on the Internet. The servers that are used to access these types of information are collectively referred to as "the cloud." For personal computer users, cloud computing might be a way for members of a study group to collaborate on a project from separate locations in real-time using the Internet. It might also be a way to take personal files or folders on your hard drive and store them online, thus making them available to any computer with an Internet connection. For the healthcare industry, this new type of technology has a large number of positive implications.
How Does Heathcare Cloud Computing Work?
For starters, healthcare cloud computing has completely changed the way that healthcare providers and insurance companies access and share customer records. For example, records can be stored on the Internet and can be accessed remotely by physicians and other healthcare practitioners. If you were ever traveling out of state and got sick, the doctor that you chose to visit would be able to easily access your records if they were stored in a cloud-based database.
Healthcare cloud computing also gives doctors the ability to work remotely to increase general productivity. In a traditional healthcare technological deployment, all important computer software necessary for a practice to carry on with day-to-day operations will be stored locally on the computers in a physical office location. If a doctor purchased a program that would benefit the entire practice, it would have to be installed individually on every computer in their office. With healthcare cloud computing, doctors can now take advantage of something called "software as a service" to increase productivity in dramatic ways.
Software as a service (SaaS) deployments provide healthcare providers and insurance companies the ability to access important information from mobile devices like smart phones or tablets. The software doesn't have to physically be installed on these machines and instead exists only on the Internet. All a doctor would need to run one of these types of programs would be a device with an active Internet connection and a Web browser. All tech support for software as a service deployments is also handled by the software provider, freeing up resources that would generally go towards IT work to be reallocated to other areas where they will be more useful.
Healthcare cloud computing is also an efficient way for healthcare providers to become dramatically more organized. In years past, all customer records and other important documents were physically stored on site at a doctor's office or in some other type of healthcare location. These documents needed to be routinely sorted for easy access and secured to keep up with patient healthcare laws. With healthcare cloud computing, all of these documents can be stored online. Not only are they more secure than ever before thanks to complicated encryption techniques, but they are also protected from events like a fire, robbery or other types of events that could render them lost if they were still being stored in hard copies. The documents are also searchable, which makes them much easier to find when needed.