Benefits and Risks of Cloud Computing in Healthcare US 2021

benefits and risks of cloud computing in healthcare


Despite the fact that cloud computing has been around for over a decade, it is often referred to as “the future” for companies. Perhaps a more apt description would be that cloud computing is fast becoming the new norm for companies all over the world. Every day, more companies and industries are migrating their data to the cloud or hybrid server. There is no difference in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare practitioners have started to incorporate cloud technologies into their practice as they adjust to the ever-changing world of technology.

Microsoft and Walgreens recently announced a collaboration that demonstrates their shared interest in moving healthcare to the cloud. Cloud networks have a lot of advantages for healthcare professionals, but they also have a lot of risks. Risks of cloud computing in healthcare are always there and it can give way to tech related crimes. 

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are in the midst of a major digital revolution that’s forcing them to change their traditional ways of capturing, storing, and sharing information. To keep up with their needs for greater IT infrastructure agility, performance, security, and compliance, many savvy healthcare organizations are exploring the benefits of the cloud. The allure of on-demand cloud services combined with advances in cloud security have transformed the healthcare IT mindset from “Why move to the public cloud?” to “What should we move?” and “How do we do it?” There are myriad studies that confirm healthcare IT workloads are moving to the cloud, and the majority of these implementations involve the public cloud with big name providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

 A 2014 cloud survey from HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) revealed that 83 percent of healthcare provider organizations are now using cloud services. A more recent study from Markets and Markets predicts the global adoption of cloud services in healthcare will grow from $3.73 billion in 2015 to nearly $9.5 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20.5 percent. Cloud infrastructure has the ability to fully disrupt the way healthcare is delivered, and healthcare and cloud providers must be prepared to protect against potential threats. To that end, we've assembled a list of some of cloud computing benefits and drawbacks in the healthcare industry.

BENEFIT: Increased data storage space

Data storage is one of the most common cloud technologies in healthcare right now. Even the most advanced hardware installations can't manage the amount of data generated by the healthcare industry. Cloud networks enable healthcare professionals to store all of their data off-site to save money and time on server maintenance.

RISK: IMPLEMENTATION RISK

Switching from an on-premises installation to the cloud necessitates a complete overhaul of the task management process. If a cloud solution is being implemented, healthcare providers must ensure that everyone is up to speed on how to function effectively in the cloud. Otherwise, the company could experience downtime, inappropriate data handling, or information leaks.

BENEFIT: Service scalability


While healthcare is required around the clock, certain seasons, such as the cold and flu season, necessitate more of the healthcare provider's attention. Depending on the client's needs, the cloud can scale to increase or decrease data storage and traffic. As a result, healthcare providers can tailor their network specifications to meet the needs of their patients.

RISK: Threats to security

Security applications in cloud networks search for, advise you about, and cope with inappropriate activity. They aren't fine, though. The Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly reviewing 416 lawsuits alleging security violations of health records. Hacking or an IT event is responsible for 47 percent of the 416 incidents.

BENEFIT: Collaboration

Clients that share the same cloud network can conveniently migrate data between themselves. This would be a major benefit in cases where healthcare companies need to exchange patient records with one another. The information will be shared with anybody who wants it, allowing for faster cooperation in the development of healthcare strategies.

RISK: HIPAA enforcement is a danger.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to all cloud-based health solutions (HIPAA). This covers compliance mechanisms, as well as patient privacy policies, law enforcement, and intrusion reporting procedures. In order to ensure HIPAA compliance, all healthcare and cloud vendors must understand the HIPAA tenants.

BENEFIT: AI and machine learning

Healthcare providers spend a lot of time managing vast amounts of documentation, time that should be spent with patients. More cloud providers are incorporating AI and deep learning into their offerings, which can help relieve some of the pressure. These systems can help healthcare professionals analyze and react to the massive amounts of unstructured data they generate.

RISK: Control and availability

Cloud services will go down from time to time, against all odds. Healthcare services rely on their data to be accessible at all times, so any downtime on the cloud infrastructure would reduce efficiency. This is also valid for privately operated physical facilities, but companies must rely on the cloud vendor – not themselves – to provide the service.

BENEFIT: Scalability

Since healthcare would be required around the clock, infectious illnesses such as colds and flu may need a lot of focus. The cloud will scale up or down data storage and traffic depending on the needs of the customer. Healthcare services should fit into network specifications to meet their service needs.

Risk : Overworked IT 

Staff Cloud vendors have done an excellent job of positioning their offerings as a means of making our lives easier.A hard disc protects sensitive images and records. Natural accident or crash? Make a cloud backup of your computer. You'd like a better way to organize and upload images, videos, and other media share other digital services with your friends and family.

Consumers will be able to profit from the public cloud with little preparation, preparation, or financial effort, but healthcare institutions face far more challenges than just transferring IT services from point A to point B. For instance, there are differences in the methods for linking, configuring, and checking tools. Popular IT activities like change management, capability preparation, and availability planning don't go away as workloads migrate to the cloud; they just change how they're treated.
The pressure levied on IT workers is perhaps the most underappreciated difficulty of running cloud-based healthcare IT workloads. Risks of cloud computing in healthcare, for healthcare institutions that are new to the procedure, it may be particularly overwhelming.

BENEFIT: Speed

Cloud services allow faster access to important information for health care providers and their patients. Sound-based tools can improve and improve their features more quickly, for less money, and with little or no downtime.

RISK: Control is minimal.

One downside of cloud computing is that it is handled and controlled entirely by the service provider, leaving the company with little power over their resources. This is one serious concern for organizations but service providers take care of this by giving guarantees and signing multiple contracts in this regard.

BENEFIT: Consistent and dependable

It is crucial in a critical and ever-important industry like healthcare to ensure that all services and facilities are dependable and reliable. Cloud computing is the ideal solution to this problem since it is both dependable and consistent.

RISK: Anomalies

Companies that offer cloud services handle multiple customers at the same time, which may lead to problems and maintenance issues. There's also a risks of cloud computing in healthcare that hospital providers will experience outages, which will have an effect on the efficiency and profitability of healthcare organizations.

BENEFIT: Features On-Demand

For all industry-related needs and standards, various cloud infrastructure service providers provide a long list of features. However, a particular company may or may not need such features, and certain features may be entirely worthless for them at one time while others may be required at other times. As a result, healthcare practises can quickly uninstall or unlock new functionality, extend or contract by merely sending an email or making a single phone call to reduce additional costs. This allows company owners to make it more effective by choosing only the features that they need and spinning them up and down on the fly.

RISK: Unexpected Costs

If cost cuts are the prime motivation for turning to the cloud, unexpected costs are more likely to arise. The explanation for this is that businesses prefer to see the cloud only in terms of computing and storage. Perhaps the healthcare organization's existing servers are nearing the end of their useful lives, or it has to update the appliances to meet rising demand. The wellness IT team compares the cost of purchasing new technology and deploying it on-premises to the cost of self-provisioning those same services in AWS, Azure, or another public cloud. This tunnel vision leads the company to forget the manual processes and labour costs related to defence, enforcement, preparation, and relocation that we discussed earlier. And, the end result is the same disillusionment and disappointment highlighted in the analyst reports earlier.

BENEFIT: Adding Value to Business  

Cloud technology benefits businesses in a variety of areas, including cost savings, data accessibility, improved reliability, and increased productivity. The gains in performance and productivity are often seen to be worth much more than the cost of cloud and defense. Healthcare organizations can boost efficiency and offer more value to their clients, which are important because if their customers are satisfied, they can deem their company prosperous and positive customer reviews lead to customer satisfaction, which leads to higher ROI.

RISK: Manual Processes

This risks of cloud computing in healthcare  is definitely the most shocking on the list, particularly for those who have never worked on a cloud project and have never been through the planning, migration, and management processes. Often businesses believe they can save money by entrusting the whole operation to their internal employees. This "learn while you go" method necessitates the development of new company processes and procedures from the ground up, as well as the continual revision and improvement of such procedures after many trials and errors. Manual procedures invariably result in errors, which can range from minor (e.g., hours of downtime after a mission-critical programmed switchover) to major (e.g., unintentionally revealing PHI in the cloud due to failing to confirm protection obligations with the cloud vendor ahead of time). Manual procedures will come back to haunt an organization later, even though no significant events arise during the preparation and relocation phases. When new workloads are introduced or security protocols are changed, post-implementation issues are more likely to arise. Managing manual processes over the long-term is almost always a recipe for disaster, especially as the number and complexity of workloads moving to the cloud increases.


CONCLUSION:

The cloud's applications in healthcare are indeed promising, but they still come with a slew of new issues that must be tackled. Cloud systems can help healthcare workers do their jobs more efficiently and save patients. However, without adequate protections, the risks of cloud computing in healthcare, shows inadequate medical care or security violations rises. Both healthcare providers and cloud systems are responsible for detecting and resolving these problems. Otherwise, risks of cloud computing in healthcare would be too high. 

 Moving files, software, and other IT workloads to the cloud appears to be a viable option for hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Many have already taken action in that direction, and many more will do so in the coming years. Staying aware of the five big risks that come with moving to the cloud can help hospitals and other healthcare organizations from being "cloud victims" and reap the benefits of the public cloud's promise and potential.

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