08 Apr
2016

Healthcare Looks to the Cloud for Solutions

As electronic health records gain widespread adoption and improvements in wearable technology grow in popularity, so too does the pressure to manage and maintain the massive amounts of data that healthcare organizations acquire.

All eyes are on the healthcare industry as it looks for new ways to meet evolving needs. Many organizations are embracing cloud-based tools to unify workers and improve patient care. Let’s take a look at the top three benefits of cloud services and how they can benefit healthcare organizations.

 

1. Improved Communication and Collaboration

Some of the most useful cloud-based solutions designed for the healthcare industry are tools that improve communication and collaboration between health facilities, teams, providers and patients. From working together on care plans to high-level strategizing at the C-suite level, good communication and collaboration forms the foundation of the industry.

Applications like video conferencing and encrypted chat are essential for keeping up with modern needs. They help distributed research groups work together more efficiently and connect patients with their physicians for follow-up visits and non-emergent “office” visits. Hosted exchanges, shared storage services and other collaboration tools promote continuity of care and ensure healthcare teams can access the most current, up-to-the-minute data from anywhere, anytime.

One example of a healthcare organization using the cloud is Kindred Healthcare. It uses Microsoft Office 365 to provide email, messaging and collaboration capabilities to more than 22,000 mobile employees. Charles Wardrip, the Vice President of Information Technology and Infrastructure Services at Kindred Healthcare, explains, “We saw cloud solutions as a great way to enable content sharing and promote informal communications between all of our stakeholders, whether they are in an office or accessing the solution from a mobile device.”

 

2. Stricter Security and Compliance

BakerHostetler’s 2016 Data Security Incident Response Report reveals that the healthcare industry is the most vulnerable to data breaches. Although healthcare had the highest percentage of security incidents in 2015, the good news is that they weren’t as severe as those that occurred in other sectors.

CEO of SysAid Technology Sarah Lahav claims that data is often more secure in the cloud than when it’s housed on-premise. Today’s cloud-based tools and platforms place a high value on security and they are built with defenses that aging legacy systems simply don’t have.

In addition, migrating to the cloud is one of the most cost-effective data management solutions for organizations with tight budgets and even tighter compliance regulations. Cloud services enable healthcare organizations to focus on patient care, while leaving security and compliance strategies in the hands of technology experts.

 

3. Stronger Backup and Restoration

Despite the most careful planning, accidents do happen. Files are lost, records get deleted and a slip of the finger erases critical documents. A robust data and restoration plan is critical to successfully protecting sensitive research and patient information that the healthcare industry is duty-bound to preserve.

Automated backups keep applications and data safe and secure on off-site servers, freeing up IT teams to work on other mission-critical tasks. This means that accidental or intentional data deletion issues can be quickly rectified, often in a matter of minutes.

For instance, Indiana-based Rush Memorial Hospital uses Acronis Backup Advanced as part of its disaster recovery strategy. The automated software takes snapshot images of every server each night to create a rotational backup process that speeds up recovery times. Jim Boyer, Rush Memorial’s Chief Technology Officer, says, “Acronis gives us a quicker restore time. The hospital has been able to standardize on a recovery time of a half hour for each 50GB of data that needs to be restored.”

These three tenets are only a few of the many benefits healthcare organizations can enjoy when they embrace cloud computing. As the healthcare industry faces increasing pressure to design compliant, secure and collaborative workflows, the issue isn’t if but when to invest in the cloud.

 

 

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