Health IT departments are turning to cloud computing services

October 2, 2012

The cloud has become a necessity for many business owners to store confidential information in a secure environment, but they are not the only ones who can benefit. Health IT departments are beginning to integrate cost-effective computing services into their infrastructures, because they allow physicians to work together on research and provide faster results.

More doctors are using the cloud's computing power to analyze large amounts of stored information that would otherwise take months, and millions of dollars, to conduct on an onsite server, NPR reported. Using a cloud provider can speed up data analysis to discover ways to treat patients.

The cloud is also ideal for doctors to collaborate on materials to improve the quality, efficiency and accessibility of care. Because health facilities can rent computer resources by the hour, doctors can access shared information that may identify conditions and possible medications.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals spend 80 percent of their time talking to each other about the state of their patients' health. It is crucial that hospital IT departments integrate services that speed up communication, which can lead to a person's swift recovery, according to Government Health IT.

Cloud-based servers will also help physicians transition to the use of electronic health records (EHRs), which will soon become mandatory.

Security in the cloud is another reason many health IT departments are migrating information to a cloud-based server. According to Ponemon Institute's 2nd Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security, health data breaches have risen 32 percent in the past year because of employee errors and lost equipment - the cloud is not to blame for the increase. According to the source, threats to a network may not have occurred if decision-makers stored information with a HIPAA-compliant cloud provider that updated security controls.

As more health facilities choose to invest in cloud services for its capabilities, experts encourage them to conduct research before selecting a vendor.

-McAfee Cloud Security