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Cloud and healthcare: A revolution is coming

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MarketsandMarkets, a global market research and consulting company based in the US, predicts that the global healthcare cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion by 2017. This tendency is supposed to continue and cloud is widely expected to revolutionize the healthcare industry in the years to come.

cloud and healthcareHealthcare has often been described as one of the industries to benefit most from cloud computing technology. Most of the industry is relying on existing systems that would require significant investments in infrastructure, complicated by the fact that they may span across numerous locations.

This is welcoming news in the face of ballooning healthcare costs, the requirements to support Electronic Medical Records (EMR), complying with the country regulations and the necessity to embrace new technologies that enables the industry to leverage solutions such as Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Physician Collaboration Solutions (PCS).

(Related: Five ways the healthcare industry benefits from cloud computing)

Service providers are now tailoring solutions specifically designed for the healthcare industry and making it their core business, which has never been the case for the health provider organizations.

Gone are the days where assessing and deploying solutions had to go hand in hand with investing in costly and heavy infrastructure, which may or may not deliver the expected results.

Cost reduction is certainly the main motivation behind the move to cloud computing. With a complete set of solutions from complete infrastructure to a host of specialized applications, the healthcare industry can now focus on freeing its resources for its core business, avoiding administrative overhead, costly and complex evaluations, testing, prototyping, data migration, deployment and maintenance of increasingly complex technologies into their environments as this is now passed onto the cloud provider.

Another important factor is the ability of a service provider to provide solutions that address regulatory compliance such as HIPAA and HITEC, although the healthcare organization is ultimately responsible for the implementation of the regulatory requirements.

(Related: HIPAA and cloud computing: What you need to know)

As more organizations join in, the critical mass factor reduces the overall costs for the organization compared to a do-it-all strategy, with the unmatched flexibility of the pay-per-usage model and the benefit of being at the edge of the technological innovation built to address regulatory compliance.

In my next article, I will discuss the benefits that cloud offers in more details. With cloud adoption now being harnessed by many organizations, should healthcare move to the cloud?

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