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IT IN HOSPITAL
Five reasons why cloud computing is essential for health care By: Jenny Laurello Guest post by: Kevin Dodson, Appirio’s Mobile Practice
The health care industry faces increased pressure to do more with less whether it’s with patients, providers or regulators. Other industries facing similar pressures are increasingly running their business on the “cloud,” giving them on-demand access to shared computing resources. What’s the benefit? Companies running on the cloud see lower costs, increased agility and improved ability to meet their business objectives. Given today’s pressures on health care, should we be prescribing a healthy dose of cloud computing to the health care industry? We think the answer is a resounding “YES.” The core benefits of cloud computing match perfectly with the demands that health care IT departments are being asked to fulfill. By utilizing cloud-based platforms like Force.com, Google, Workday and Amazon, health care IT departments can shake-off the burden of supporting on-premise applications that don’t directly affect patient care. With more time and resources to focus on improving IT, these departments can better support patient-driven initiatives. To support our case, here’s a list of pressures put on health care IT professionals in today’s environment, accompanied by cloud-based platform solutions to address these issues.
1. The need to slash budgets We must re-think health care IT purchasing habits. As the traditional black hole of cost, re-thinking how hospitals and care facilities document patient care can slash budgets dramatically. Cloud computing empowers providers to only pay for what they need. For example, there’s no reason why every hospital room needs its own COW (computer on wheels) in addition to desktops at nurse stations and doctors’ offices. By deploying iPads to document patient information at the point of care, hardware can be cut in half at a minimum. 2. The need to access increasing amounts of information The importance of providing patient care with the correct records and information is widely understood. Moreover, information needs to be accessible at any time by anyone providing care. Cloud computing provides the flexibility of accessible data from a number of secure endpoints. From operating rooms, to examining rooms, to rehab facilities, information continuity is most effective when it’s accessible to the right people. 3. The need to share and access information anywhere Health care collaboration used to be synonymous with sending an email alert notifying a new patient has been added into the system. Today, it takes on a new meaning to focus on shared experience that increase information accuracy and overall patient care. Cloud-based platforms allow collaboration in real-time from any device with an Internet connection. Multiple care providers can update an EHR (electronic health records) synonymously, and those updates can be traced back to their original creators for as long as the EHR is around — making information readily available and more thorough. 4. The need for secure adoption by health care professionals Patients don’t need to worry that an executive or doctor is secretly accessing the network using his/her iPad or iPhone when there is no need for them to. Cloud-based applications have security at the application level — not the device level. In other words, there is no risk of patient information being accessed directly from the device. This level of security opens up health care IT departments to make better use of consumer-based hardware that they are already familiar with, such as an iPhone. 5. The need to move faster Conceptualizing, architecting and deploying IT solutions in a health care setting does not need to be a drawn-out process. Solutions can be built quickly using cloud-based platforms that are already HIPAA compliant. For example, a large post-acute care provider recently moved their time and tracking system to the mobile cloud. The entire project took less than nine months from concept to launch and continues to be delivered through iOS devices (iTouches, iPhones and iPads). Implementation time will vary depending on project size, but has proven itself to be extremely reasonable especially for the ROI it delivers. While these are just some of the reasons cloud computing is just what the doctor should order, these are some of the main advantages doctors, private health care facilities and hospitals of all sizes can expect to gain in return.