Healthcare Industry On the Verge Of Cloud Computing
Written by Mike Colombo, Vice President Marketing
Cloud computing is taking the business world by storm, offering a cheaper and easier way to complete an increasing number of tasks. Services are accessed remotely and only when necessary, so users need to only pay for the time they spend using them. The cloud is infiltrating every industry, but the virtualization of the healthcare industry is lagging behind.
Thirty five percent of healthcare information technology professionals reported that they made use of cloud healthcare software, while 44% of large business professionals say the same. There are many reasons why the healthcare industry, which could benefit immensely from cloud-based medical image viewers and diagnostic imaging software, may be slow to adopt this new form of computing. Many of these reasons center around two legitimate fears: compromising data security and ensuring compliance with complex legal and privacy legislation.
Electronic Health Record Security Fears
Hacking is an ever-present danger in the digital age, and many are nervous that cloud computing is less secure than more traditional forms of computing. There are many questions to be asked about who is able to access what data, and how.
The cloud server is remote, but it is somewhere – how is the physical security of the server maintained? What limits and user permission restrictions are in place to guard against unauthorized data access? Could just anyone pick up a mobile radiology software device and look into the records? In the case of a disaster, what backup plans are in place to maintain business continuity?
These are all legitimate questions to be asked, and those entrusted with the safety of electronic health records must perform extensive stress and security tests to ensure that a proper security posture is taken.
Integrating New Security Measures into the Existing Legal Framework
The healthcare industry is accompanied by an intricate network of legal permissions and restrictions. Protocol and privacy are everything. Adopting new healthcare software could mean rewriting an immense amount of privacy law.
Many fear that the cloud could destroy certain private information networks, as well as put intellectual property rights and contracts in danger. Remote cloud servers in a variety of locations could mean that some parts of the network are governed by one set of laws, while other parts are governed by others. This could lead to conflicts of protocol and subsequent privacy breeches, as well as accidental legal infractions.
Momentum is Building
Fears aside, we’re getting past these concerns and cloud adoption momentum is building. There are solutions in the marketplace today that offer web-enabled applications to address these fears and ResolutionMD is one example. ResolutionMD, a diagnostic imaging software and DICOM viewer, eliminates the risk of data loss by simply never transferring private, patient medical images to a mobile device, be it a laptop or an iPad. Physicians can view, interact, and collaborate on medical images through a web browser, without storing any sensitive patient data on their laptops. This also means that patient information stays behind the secure hospital firewall, never crossing any state lines or straying into new legal jurisdictions. See a video of ResolutionMD in action here.
While the industry still faces many challenges, there is no doubt that cloud computing will reach as far as it can. This new era of medical mobility will enhance the ability of healthcare providers to bring quality care to those in need. And we’re excited to help make it happen.