The global market for healthcare cloud computing (revenue generated by cloud computing services offered to providers) will be worth approximately $10 billion by 2021, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.

The company’s Healthcare Cloud Computing Outlook, Global, 2016–2021 report analyses key growth opportunities, business models, challenges, drivers, and industry-specific solutions being introduced using cloud platforms.

The report also identified the need to store the exponentially increasing volume of healthcare data as a primary driver of growth in this market.

“One major industry game-changer will be real-world data. The volume of unstructured medical and health data that is generated outside of clinical settings is growing exponentially, while the need for such data sets is even direr among providers, pharmaceuticals, medical technology vendors, governments, and university researchers,” said Frost & Sullivan’s Health Research Manager, Natasha Gulati.

“Growing awareness of the benefits of open platforms and increasing industry focus on interoperability and collaborative solution design are creating a huge demand for vertically integrated cloud platforms that open the data to multiple stakeholders who are willing to share the risks and the rewards of shared data assets,” continued Gulati.

The company says there’s been an industry-wide demand to use health data to improve system efficiency, deliver value-based care and enable productive collaborations. This is driving investment in cloud solutions, despite the industry’s slow adoption.

There’s also been a clear shift in healthcare providers’ attitude toward cloud solutions with key decision makers now convinced that cloud environments are more secure than on-premise infrastructure, especially in terms of data back-up and disaster recovery.

Furthermore, hospitals, physician practices and other facets of the continuum of care will rapidly adopt cloud platforms to improve data and application access, enhance interoperability, and manage, store and archive a wide range of health data for the enterprise. Applications that leverage de-identified patient information that is collated from and analysed at multiple points of care are an important growth opportunity.

“An increasing number of providers are opting to build versus buy when it comes to their organisational applications. In the past few years there have been significant investments in internal apps that integrate with electronic health records (EHRs), with the United States taking the lead in this area,” said Gulati.

“Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers greater control over custom apps developed by providers compared to Software as a Service (SaaS), while it reduces the costs as well as data location and ownership concerns associated with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Increasing demand for mobile apps, from both clinical staff and patients further fuels the need for custom app development,” concluded Gulati.

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