Despite tough regulatory issues and data privacy concerns in healthcare, Markets and Markets released study results revealing that the cloud computing healthcare market is set to be worth $5.4 billion by 2017.

Cloud technology can offer significant benefits to the healthcare industry; offering healthcare providers fast access to computing and large storage facilities. This is especially significant in light of the increasing requirement for Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to be shared across facilities.

Director of Cloud Services at EOH, Richard Vester, who represents one of the largest technology and knowledge services providers in South Africa, says cloud is catering to the healthcare industry demands by allowing healthcare providers across the spectrum to offer better services and care to their patients.

“The healthcare industry is constantly morphing, mainly because there are increasing demands to deliver better quality healthcare and medical services at a cheaper price. Healthcare is an increasingly competitive industry, and stakeholders are looking for ways to increase efficiencies and lower spending.”

Vester explained that if implemented and used properly, cloud technology has the potential to “allow improved services and treatment for patients, boosted operational efficiencies for providers, and lowered costs all round.”

There are several reasons for this, he explained. “Firstly, cloud allows for collaboration. Often, information is needed at the same time, by more than one healthcare provider, all in disparate locations. Cloud allows information to be synchronised and shared instantly.”

Secondly, Vester noted that cloud solutions can be upgraded and improved quicker than their on-premise counterparts, and at a far lower cost. “Cloud allows organisations to have the best technologies available, at a fraction of the cost of buying these technologies outright. Cloud also ensures far quicker access to important medical records and patient information.”

Mobility is another huge benefit; according to Vester: “Mobile apps allow medical staff to have access to healthcare information on tap. Information and medical data is stored and backed up in the cloud, allowing healthcare practitioners to access it anytime, anywhere and from any device.”

Vester acknowledged that although there were security concerns when cloud technology first launched, security should no longer be a concern. “Finding the right partner, who has the necessary security protocols and measures in place, should allay all but the most alarmist fears. A little due diligence and asking the right questions of a potential provider will ensure that your information is safe and secure.”

The ultimate goal for companies like EOH is to offer cloud technology that balances the need for patient and provider security with the needs for cost-effective, efficient systems.

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