Cloud computing

Cloud Computing: Why your Health Institution needs one!

Technology advancement in the healthcare industry is not new, from prosthetics to genetic engineering. However, we cannot deny how technology has impacted healthcare to improve efficiency and bring life-changing inventions.

With an expanding global population, the healthcare sector is faced with a considerable responsibility of recording, storing, and updating patients’ and healthcare-related information.

According to statistics, over 36.2 million hospital admissions in the United States in 2019 give an idea of how much data is being recorded daily, not just in the US but globally.

Data documentation plays a vital role in the daily functioning of health organizations because it helps healthcare providers have full knowledge of their patient’s health status. In addition, data stored are analyzed and used in medical research.

Previously, Healthcare centers kept records using hard drives, discs, and paper files; poor and developing countries still adopt this method. However, technology has given us a new invention called “cloud computing.”

Cloud computing is a computer system resource that allows storing, management, and processing of data through remote servers on the internet. To better explain this, cloud computing in healthcare is the storing, managing, and processing of medical/healthcare data to a remote server using the internet.

This practice is encouraged and adopted in developed countries and has brought about stress-free, efficient, and reliable data documentation. As a result, healthcare professionals can better focus on treatment, research, and well-being of patients’ health rather than on documentation of data and administration.   

Cloud computing involves different components, including storage, networking, servers, virtualization, operating system, middleware, runtime, and application data.

Advantages of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

We have explained what cloud computing for healthcare is about; it’s expected we talk about the advantages of cloud computing. Should every organization adopt it? What benefit does it add to healthcare institutions?

  1. Data Security:
    Traditional computing involves getting tons of papers stored in different filing cabinets, making them susceptible to damages or destruction from unforeseen circumstances; hard drives can also be lost or stolen. On the other hand, cloud computing has proven reliable in securely storing and transferring data.
    The server providers ensure the protection and safety of data and information uploaded by the institution. By storing in the cloud, you can store larger files and documents without fearing destruction or theft.

  2. Cost-effective & Low Maintenance:
    The cost of purchasing tons of papers, hard drives, and filing cabinets is significantly reduced when documentation is done using cloud computing. In addition, cloud computing service providers offer healthcare institutions many options to best suit their needs and budget.

  3. Global Accessibility:
    Cloud computing has given healthcare professionals a way to have easy access to patients’ records and fast transfer of data; healthcare professionals can now make informed decisions during treatment.
    With this system, you can now access patients’ information globally. As a result, people can now travel across continents and countries without fear of emergencies; should one occur, they can get the right help they need.

Other advantages include scalability and migration flexibility.

Types of Cloud Computing Models

When discussing service models, an institution needs to consider what component of cloud services they want to handle, if they’re going to be in control and manage all, or to manage some, or instead give the control and management to a third party.

There are vital components in cloud computing: storage, networking, servers, virtualization, operating system, middleware, runtime, and application data. Storage, networking, servers, and virtualization can be grouped as infrastructure; operating system, middleware, and runtime can be grouped as a platform, while application data can be grouped as software.

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Model
    In this model, a cloud provider manages the infrastructure components, which include: storage, networking, servers, and virtualization, while the health institutions handle the other part of cloud computing.
    The institution gives these providers control to manage the infrastructure component, and the providers charge based on the services. The institution handles the other components, including the platform and the software.

  2. Platform As A Service (PaaS) Model
    Institutions give the cloud providers control and manage their infrastructure and platform, including storage, networking, servers, virtualization, operating system, middleware, and runtime, while institutions solely control application data.
    These providers develop a framework, analytics, and business intelligence and charge health institutions based on these services.

  3. Software As A Service (SaaS) Model
    This model allows cloud providers to handle complete control of infrastructure, platform, and software; they offer institutions complete control of cloud computing.
    These cloud providers can control and manage all the components, including storage, networking, servers, virtualizations, operating system, middleware, runtime, and application data.

Health institutions can choose any of the above-listed services that best suits their needs and is within their budget.

Types of Cloud Computing

  1. Public
    Here, public cloud providers offer services to a wide range of people. However, this type of cloud computing involves using a third party, which controls most of the infrastructure, and the institution has little control or influence.
    However, the health institutions can pay a certain fee to these public providers, and public providers control and manage information and data security.

  2. Private
    This type of cloud is made and owned by just one institution. Therefore, private cloud computing is the best option for institutions that want more control over their servers and infrastructure.
    This enables institutions to have sole control over their cloud computing, and establishing this type of computing can be expensive.

  3. Hybrid
    This is the combination of public and private cloud providers. Healthcare institutions can choose to control and manage specific computing components to a particular cloud provider and handle other components with their cloud environment. This is very popular and cost-effective.

Cloud computing for healthcare institutions is a developing industry worth billions of dollars. It has made a lot of impact in the healthcare industry and should be encouraged globally.

Article Credits: Kehinde Akinkunmi Motunrayo

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