Recent reports from Marketsandmarkets predict that the Healthcare industry will invest about 5.4 billion into cloud storage and backup infrastructure over the course of the next four years. It may sound extreme, but the healthcare sector taking advantage of the cloud may actually end up saving quite a few lives. The current system of storing and exchanging healthcare data has long been plagued by unorganized protocol as well as an overall lack of necessary scale for storing the insane amount of data that comes with treating millions of people on a daily basis. Some of those problems reside in “islands of information”, or information that needs to be shared, but has no network to do so. This causes problems with transferring patient information back and forth from different medical practices or even between hospitals and insurance providers, often leading to badly timed complications, or unnecessary delays in treatment. Having an efficient means of tracking, storing, and transferring patient data from place to place could not only relieve these bottlenecks, but also accrue a very valuable quantity of health-related data.
The hesitations that accompany this move are very similar to the ones you normally hear about with cloud computing. Patient records are highly confidential pieces of information, so privacy is something to be very cautious about. Hospitals will have to make sure they are opting for the right types of high-security encryption, as well as an easy and effective way to authorize and de-authorize access to certain data (they’ll also need to avoid pairing with companies like Nirvanix!).
By and large, it seems like the pros outweigh the cons here, and the move has already begun. If all goes according to plan, nurses in the hospital might be rolling around with iPads instead of the traditional “computers on wheels”!