Cloud computing use see projected growth in healthcare sector

July 5, 2012

Government credits were largely behind a move of more than 100,000 healthcare providers to electronic health records, but the next step up to cloud computing appears to be motivated by market forces, according to new research from MarketsandMarkets.

The July report from the business research firm predicts that the market for cloud computing in healthcare will rise to more than $5.4 billion by 2017. Numbers from 2011 saw cloud technology penetrating just 4 percent of the industry, valued at $1.7 billion. In six years, the extent of penetration will increase five-fold, to more than 20 percent of the industry.

Cloud computing data security
Cloud services have been promoted heavily in recent years for their speed and efficiency benefits in various industries, but a fear of potential data protection issues slowed and even halted migration at times. By 2016 - and to a large degree in 2012 - cloud security appears to be at a high enough level to encourage widespread adoption.

Privacy and data security in cloud computing would take center stage for healthcare, with compliance issues paramount, but the changing tide of opinion regarding its faults and benefits is trending positively.

"There is a lot of data in terms of how the cloud has evolved into the market and why it is believed to grow at a very fast pace compared to the other healthcare IT offerings," Kalyani Jekkaraju, the reports author, told Healthcare IT News.

Healthcare and education
Benefits of cloud computing can be felt not just in healthcare, but in another often-laggard industry with stringent requirements of data security: education. According to the Economic Times, the Confederation of Indian Industry partnered with auditing firm KPMG to advocate the need for widespread adoption in these sectors across India.

"It will require careful development of a national cloud strategy to ensure that maximum benefits of the cloud accrue to the nation while minimizing the risks," the paper said, according to the Times, which received an advanced copy.

The paper asks that policies, working in tandem with the National Telecom Policy, push for greater adoption across all levels, from government down to the individual. One proposed use of cloud service is a national database of health records created by the government and maintained in the private sector.

-McAfee Cloud Security