Over the past few years, the digital environment for healthcare has undergone a remarkable amount of development, from the emergence of the EMR to the expansion of telehealth. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that IT spending will rise by 12.3% this year for cloud computing, 9.7% for digital transformation, and 9.7% for security software. Despite historically being slower to adopt cloud technology, healthcare institutions are starting to show fresh interest.
Has the epidemic prompted IT executives to adopt this strategy? Or will the revolution in digital identities for healthcare providers only begin with the cloud? Let’s examine the primary causes of this tendency.
But first, why has healthcare lagged behind other sectors in adopting the cloud?
Cloud technology is not new. In reality, practically every company uses it in some capacity, and by 2025, the public cloud market will be valued over $800 billion. In contrast, the healthcare industry sometimes takes a while to adapt new technology like cloud.
Access to any cloud-based medical data is possible from many different places. So cyberattacks are much more likely to target things like a patient’s personal health information (PHI) or a clinician’s or doctor’s digital identity. Healthcare leaders are naturally reluctant to use these technologies since industry leaders are so concerned with compliance, regulation, and security.
The greatest hazard, though, is human error and neglect. A misplaced device or stolen password can cause a breach just as readily as a phishing attempt.
The good news is that HDOs can use a variety of available solutions to reduce security concerns by safeguarding the digital identities of those who access sensitive patient data.
Why is it crucial to safeguard a user’s online identity?
The term “digital identity” describes the distinctive identifiers a person employs to communicate online. For instance, a doctor logs into a patient’s medical record using their digital identification. Naturally, safeguarding these login credentials is essential to lowering the chance of a cyberattack or data breach involving sensitive information.
Fortunately, the requirement to manage and secure a large number of people, locations, and devices—many of which are cloud technologies—has led to a greater use of digital identity solutions. The security posture of HDOs that have adopted these solutions has improved, enabling IT executives to have more faith in the cloud.
Additionally, these systems offer HIPAA compliance, a subject that is becoming more and more crucial as telehealth and virtual care expand the number of access points to a user’s digital identity. The HIPAA regulations in the US establish criteria for PHI protection and promote the use of electronic medical records. Any entity that manages patient data, including cloud service providers, is impacted by these guidelines.
Finding a digital identification solution that complies with HIPAA regulations is still just one step in creating a secure online environment. HDOs must also set up their infrastructure, regularly check for problems, and fix them. Because of the possibility of significant fines, many healthcare leaders are concerned about making a compliance mistake when they transition to the cloud. Thankfully, more cloud-based digital identification solutions have taken action to allay these worries.
What impact will the cloud have on healthcare IT then?
Since the start of the epidemic, treatment has undergone a significant change both within and outside of hospitals. Clinicians and IT professionals now have a lot more to keep track of as they try to provide care for the public while keeping up with the growing number of COVID-19 patients (not to mention some serious burnout.) Fortunately, cloud services provide alluring features that might result in more creative patient care while addressing the persisting IT talent gap and the strain of rising expenses.
Boost patient care with the help of the cloud
The electronic medical record (EMR), which has been around for a few decades, has changed how HDOs store their data. With many professionals utilising smartphones and tablets to exchange information and access patient records, how and where that data is accessed has also changed. More security measures have been put in place to protect this sensitive information, but at what cost to the patient experience as the digital health ecosystem changes and cyberattacks increase?
For those trying to give care without thinking about technology, having to connect to a VPN and login at least twice when using any mobile device is not ideal.
How does cloud assist? by making HDOs’ jobs easier while giving patients more control.
With the development of telemedicine, a trend that shows no signs of slowing, we have already seen a large number of healthcare organisations use cloud technologies. Many people are embracing the cloud to develop services that simplify the sharing of health information, treatment plans, lab test results, medical records, and even doctor’s notes without compromising security.
Cloud access is a safe and simple choice for professionals who use mobile devices. The encrypted connection eliminates the need for numerous log-ins to access the VPN. As HDOs uphold HIPAA compliance, this has all by itself improved patient visibility, access, and options regarding their own health.
maintaining IT security while facing resource limitations
The duties of IT workers have significantly increased along with the growth in the amount of data in hospital systems. This burnout has led to a skill scarcity and resource shortage in the healthcare sector, just as we’ve seen in other sectors across the epidemic.
But there is always a bright side to every talent gap. It’s a greater adoption of the cloud in this instance. Cloud storage is a far more desirable choice than on-site storage for healthcare firms that are understaffed and having trouble finding suitable employees. Cloud service providers are able to handle all maintenance and support for HDOs. Further enhancing cloud security is the fact that many cloud server administrators are IT professionals skilled in protecting vast volumes of data.
Many analytical tools are used through cloud to handle database management, business analytics, artificial intelligence, and beyond. This adds a layer of security while converting data into meaningful information.
rising financial constraints
According to a Black Book study on the state of healthcare IT, participants spent between 50 and 70% less when storing PHI in the cloud as opposed to on-premises. This offers a significant saving at a time when IT resources are being stretched in all directions due to rising insurance prices, rising salaries, increased user expectations, and rising total operating costs.
Why is cloud storage less expensive than on-site storage? First, because it doesn’t necessitate a significant initial investment in hardware or licence. Second, it offers infinite scalability and allows users to pay as they go for storage and availability. Thirdly, it enables clinicians to access data remotely.
The fluctuating cost of energy could also be a factor for some healthcare institutions. An on-site data centre requires a lot of energy, which makes it expensive to power and cool. Organizations are at least somewhat shielded from this by moving to the cloud.
Finally, it’s important to recognise the increased acceptance of hybrid cloud solutions, whose market is anticipated to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2026, from $52 to $145 billion. Any solution that combines a private storage infrastructure with a public cloud is referred to as hybrid cloud.
Hybrid cloud also enables organizations to select storage that’s customized to the performance and cost requirements of their specific workload. For example, healthcare organizations can store dynamic, short-term workloads in the public cloud. Meanwhile, more static long-term workloads can be stored on-premises for less, leading to long-term cost savings.
What comes next for cloud computing in healthcare?
With the cloud, healthcare capabilities will continue to advance, improving patient care and security. The difficulties that cloud will assist HDOs in overcoming and managing include IT restrictions, a lack of security competence, and financial restraints.
Many healthcare businesses will likely transition to hybrid clouds, which will allow identity and access management providers to create and implement elegant and sophisticated cloud solutions that let doctors concentrate more on patient care and less on technology at every touchpoint.
Over the past few years, all of us have adjusted to a new normal. Now, healthcare IT will follow suit.