Healthcare Information Systems and the Cloud in 2018

December 1, 2017 Off By Hoofer
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Article Written by Avery Phillips

Technology always presents a future that is evolving radically. Even in healthcare, an industry that has oftentimes trailed in terms of tech, it’s becoming clear that the cloud is the way of the future. 

This has direct implications for patient care and data, and most significantly for the evolution of security connected to the cloud and information systems. The research company Forrester recently released a report where the title itself says enough: "Cloud Computing Accelerates Enterprise Transformation Everywhere." 

Thus, it’s fair to assert that the future of healthcare can only move in one direction, and that’s to fuller cloud-based integration.

How Tech is Changing Healthcare

In terms of healthcare, the cloud makes a lot of sense. It can provide solutions to serious quandaries of the past. As we’ve noted before, "Adoption of various technological innovative products is key to competitive advantage for many companies." 

The healthcare industry is not immune to the demands of the consumer; as in all other industries cloud-adoption is essential for professionals to remain relevant and dynamic in the ever-changing marketplace.  

Bernard Marr wrote for Forbes, "The medical industry already collects a huge amount of data, but it’s often siloed in individual doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics. Unifying that data – and combining it with patient-collected data from smart devices – is the industry’s next big hurdle to overcome." 

There is no organized, dominant vendor for the information, or a method that the healthcare industry as a whole has agreed upon to utilize nationally. But the conversation has become more timely than ever before. 

"In the past, healthcare information systems focused on client management, clinical records, accounting, and automated transactions. Cloud computing, ultra-portable and powerful devices like laptops and smartphones, and increased options for archiving and digitizing information into readily accessible formats hint at an interesting future for HIS," write the healthcare information system experts at the Collat School of Business

The industry now has access to the kind of technology that can theoretically remove the the outdated problems of the past for them. 

The Cloud and Security

The cloud, big data, machine learning, and a variety of other similar advances provide possible solutions for the issues outlined above. They can provide a means of a uniform, globally accessible manner of recording and distributing the information that patients require for care. 

That information, by its very nature, is of the most sensitive variety, and its transfer to the cloud means that it will inevitably be targeted by cyber criminals. 

The healthcare professionals at Duquesne University note that "Professionals collect data across many different categories," and that "The data collected by healthcare organizations can be stored in disease registries, personal medical records, electronic medical records, and electronic health records." 

Ultimately, this means that the breaches that have plagued the other industries will also plague healthcare. Breaches happen with startling consistency, and they impact virtually every industry and every type of organization. From small businesses to the federal government, it seems nearly impossible to shut hackers down. 

The Evolution of Healthcare Information Systems

As is the trend when technology is impacting anything: the flow of change is constant. Already, the industry has seen drastic shifts in how information is being stored. 

"Although the healthcare industry was initially slow to move its data and services to the cloud, more than 40% of healthcare companies and providers reported that they are using the cloud in 2016," writes Brooke Chaplan. Thus, the shift is happening. 

Not only that, but there is also something to be said for the fact that security is rapidly evolving as well. 

According to cloud expert David Linthicum, the real problem with data security is not where, but how information is stored. 

He cites a report which found, "On-premises environment users experience an average of 61.4 attacks, while service provider environment customers averaged only 27.8. On-premises environment users also suffered significantly more brute force attacks compared to their counterparts." 

What that means is that those using non-cloud based storage systems were hit harder than those utilizing a cloud-based system. Additionally, because there is so much paranoia surrounding the nature of the cloud, cloud systems often have heightened security systems, which makes a compelling case not just for the efficiency of utilizing the cloud, but also its security. 

All in all, the trends of the future in healthcare information systems are largely already being seen; with confidence we can predict a fully-cloud based industry. The only question now, is how exactly that will happen. A specific, globally-adopted form of documentation will have to be developed, as well as the right cloud-based platform for healthcare professionals. 

It’s not a matter of what, but merely how.


About the Author


Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things relating to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian.