CXO Bytes

How the Healthcare Industry is benefiting from its shift to Cloud


Cloud technology is ensuring healthcare companies can run more efficient, streamlined operations with greater security for patient data as well as better outcomes.


From 2016 to 2021, the frequency of ransomware attacks on healthcare systems more than doubled, as per a JAMA report, exposing the data of almost 42 million patients.[1] Nearly half the cyberattacks disrupted healthcare service deliveries. However, around one in five healthcare companies revealed they could restore their data from backups.


Benefits and Accelerated Transition

Against this backdrop, the emergence of cloud services has been shining brightly like a lodestar. There are significant benefits for healthcare companies in migrating their operations and data to cloud while simultaneously safeguarding sensitive patient data and other information.


The shift towards cloud technology became pronounced after the pandemic. What was optional earlier has become imperative post-pandemic since the outbreak highlighted the benefits of transitioning to cloud.


In the past 24 months, a team of customer engagement leaders and data security personnel have seen an increased focus on global life sciences companies evaluating their partners on the capability to secure and manage data other than the ability to analyze big data. These companies seek to eliminate technical barriers that emerge during aggregating patient data from staggered locations and devices, ensure data is secure and compliant with country-specific laws, and make it meaningful for data insights and analytics.


The life sciences industry moving to cloud saw improvements in diverse areas, including data management, which helped in enhancing efficiency and productivity. Industry leaders also recorded other benefits, such as average revenue gains of 6.58% and annualized ROI (return on investment) of 54%, more than the industry average of 4.24% and 51%, respectively.[2] What’s more, these achievements were realized despite restricted budgets and somewhat lower cloud spending vis-à-vis other segments.


The industry has been steadily transitioning to digital services and cloud in the past decade, a shift accelerated by the pandemic. Cloud technology enables swift and secure transmission and sharing of critical patient data. Besides, cloud has helped healthcare entities leverage big data analytics and artificial intelligence, improving patient care and outcomes.


Cloud technology allows healthcare firms to manage resources better, as cloud-based systems can streamline operations, optimize workflows and minimize costs. The security of patient data is also enhanced since it is stored in a secure cloud environment, preventing unauthorized access and misuse.


Cloud-based services also help organizations provide better patient care. Moreover, through remote consultations for patients, healthcare providers can then reduce the need for in-person visits, improving access to modern care.


Healthcare providers are moving from public and private cloud services to hybrid cloud environments to manage their data more effectively. As a result, databases containing sensitive data can be operated on the premises while applications needing more flexible resources are run in the public cloud.


Hybrid and Professional Cloud Services

Pairing cloud with advanced technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (internet of things) augments data management capabilities. Consequently, collecting, accessing, and analyzing critical healthcare data becomes accessible and manageable. The advanced technologies also automate repetitive tasks, streamlining workflows, preventing burnout, and driving greater efficiencies to boost the bottom line.


Significantly, software and service providers have in-depth and evolved capabilities to help life sciences and healthcare companies shift seamlessly to cloud technology. These include collaboration (awareness of the global team on actions taken ), cost-effectiveness (no need to use local servers or infrastructure), a flexible licensing model (pay-per-use, subscription, or on-demand usage), and managing global and local market changes effectively (by cross leveraging assets and accelerators).


For life sciences and allied healthcare verticals, cloud is a game-changer. For instance, actionable business insights and preventive care are faster for life sciences entities. It also offers the ability to build and deploy predictive intelligence across every customer engagement. Additionally, it provides the ability to incorporate, generate and deliver insights from data across wearables (covers IoT paradigm), lab tests and diagnostics (covers early detection), doctor’s visits (prescription data), and pharmacy (over-the-counter data).


For chronic diseases, it ensures faster patient access, improves affordability through payers and insurance, enhances doctor access to patients, and increases insights on treatment outcomes as well as historical patient data for clinicians via a 360-degree view.


Undoubtedly, cloud technologies can drive paradigm transformation in the healthcare industry. Early adopters who embraced cloud in the pre-pandemic period are already reaping the benefits of streamlined operations, better patient outcomes, and healthy bottom lines. Nevertheless, the late adopters can also accelerate their cloud journey, making operations safer, more secure, future-ready, and primed for success.


(The author is Mr. Tejas Arur, Business Communication and Customer Engagement Strategist, Axtria Inc.  , and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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