15 Aug

Cloud Computing Trends That Will Transform the Health Care Industry

Health care is moving to the cloud. In fact, health care organizations’ use of cloud services will triple over the next five years, growing from $3.73 billion in 2015 to almost $9.5 billion by 2020, predicts MarketsandMarkets. Almost 60 percent of health care institutions already use the cloud to analyze big data or plan to do so, according to the HIMSS Analytics 2016 Cloud Survey. Another 73 percent either have adopted or plan to adopt cloud-based patient engagement or empowerment tools.

Here’s a look at some of the major cloud computing trends that are transforming the health care industry.


Using the Internet of Things to Communicate

At one time, diabetes patients had to check their blood sugar, write down the results and fax the information to their health care provider. Now, the SweetSpot cloud platform helps health care organizations automatically collect information from patients wearing continuous glucose monitors.

SweetSpot illustrates how health care wearables are combining with the cloud through the Internet of Things. Wearables are automating data collection procedures and eliminating dependence on in-hospital visits. Health care providers will rely on big data collected over the Internet of Things, which will enable more patient-clinician interaction to be delivered through wearables, mobile devices, instant alerts and digital reminders.

To facilitate service over the Internet of Things, health care providers are turning to cloud-based solutions, such as Microsoft Office 365 for Health Care, which lets health care teams use voice and videoconferencing to communicate with patients, confer with one another and share documents. The HIMSS Analytics 2016 Cloud Survey reports that nearly 65 percent of health care providers are either already using cloud-based back office solutions such as Office 365 or plan to do so in the near future.


Keeping Real-Time Records

Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks flu-like illnesses around the country, spotting patterns can take one to two weeks. A team of researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital has demonstrated that this process can be accelerated by using the cloud to collect data in real time. The team’s electronic health records (EHRs) picked up trends at least a week ahead of the CDC.

Real-time data collection on the cloud is helping health care providers serve patients more rapidly through more proactive preventive intervention as well as speedier delivery of care. Negative drug interactions that would have previously gone undetected also can be intercepted in real time, according to participants at the Global Webit Congress.


Increasing Ownership of Patient Data

Cloud-connected SoloHealth Station kiosks have recently been appearing in stores such as Walmart and Sam’s Club. They let patients get self-service input on their blood pressure, vision and body mass index.

Cloud technology is giving patients increased ownership of their data and enabling self-care to streamline many routine procedures. According to Accenture data, 66 percent of hospitals will have self-scheduling systems by 2020. In addition, cloud tools will enable patients to schedule appointments digitally, share their records and connect with physicians through social platforms.

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