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Industry Perspective: Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Cloud Computing in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is essential to our lives, so any resources that can make health maintenance more effective and affordable are eagerly welcomed and implemented. Enter cloud computing. This technology has many successes in other fields, so why not healthcare?

This article explores cloud computing in healthcare, including defining the term, outlining the different types of cloud computing, the benefits and risks, and much more. You’ll also learn how a cloud computing bootcamp can prepare you for a career in the healthcare industry.

Let’s start our journey by clarifying the terms. What do we mean when we refer to cloud computing, and what do we mean when we talk about cloud computing in the healthcare industry?

A Brief Explanation of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing delivers IT services, including data storage, software, databases, servers, networking, analytics, and intelligence, over the Internet (hence “the cloud”) rather than relying on a physical, in-house infrastructure and data center. Cloud computing offers rapid innovation, flexible resources, and economical scalability.

Let’s build on the above definition and explain what cloud computing means in healthcare.

What Is Healthcare Cloud Computing?

Cloud-based healthcare involves integrating cloud computing technology to create and manage cloud-based healthcare services. Cloud computing in healthcare applies remote servers used via the Internet to store, handle, and process medical data. Cloud storage makes it convenient for medical institutions and healthcare professionals to use online servers to store vast amounts of data. Typically, IT experts maintain these servers.

So, imagine a situation where all health-related data and other resources are instantly available to a network of physicians, healthcare facilities, health insurance providers, and other medical-related entities. This secure network offers easy access to authorized users and makes it easy for healthcare providers and professionals to collaborate and create better treatment plans. That’s the promise of cloud technology in healthcare.

What Do We Mean by a Cloud Computing Application in Healthcare?

Cloud computing in the healthcare industry implements remote servers accessed through the Internet to store, maintain, and process healthcare-related data instead of relying on an on-site data center equipped with servers or storing the data locally on a personal computer.

Cloud storage provides a flexible solution that allows healthcare professionals and hospitals to employ a network of remotely accessible servers. These servers permit the secure storage of large volumes of data maintained by IT professionals.

Consequently, many healthcare organizations across the United States have adopted cloud-based healthcare solutions to store and protect confidential patient records since the advent of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) mandate.

How Does Cloud Computing Work in Healthcare?

Cloud computing offers a secure infrastructure for hospitals, healthcare professionals, specialists, medical practices, insurance companies, and research facilities. The primary purpose behind cloud computing in the healthcare industry is to improve computing resources at lower initial financial outlays.

The cloud services workflow is presented from the perspectives of public and private cloud communication scenarios. Note that private cloud platforms feature hardware and software components that address any identified healthcare requirements.

  • Authorization. Authorization ensures the correct users have access to private cloud resources.
  • Authentication. Authentication is carried out with cryptographic protocols, allowing users to access private cloud resources once their identities have been verified.
  • Data persistence. Data persistence helps store healthcare data on a long-term basis.
  • Data integrity. Data integrity ensures the data is consistent and complete during any exchange operations.
  • Data confidentiality. Data confidentiality involves transmitting the data while keeping it accessible only to the appropriately authorized users.

Types of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Cloud technology in healthcare (or any industry) breaks down into two distinct types or models. Note that there are more cloud services, but these are the most common ones.

Distribution Model

  • SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS providers offer their clients IT infrastructure to deploy apps and operating systems.
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). IaaS providers supply clients with an operating system and IT infrastructure to deploy apps.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service). PaaS providers offer customers a bundle with an operating system, apps, IT infrastructure, and other elements wrapped into an easy-to-use platform.

Deployment Model

  • Community. A community is a group with similar preferences and goals that can use the technology.
  • Private. The private function means only one specific client can access the cloud technology.
  • Hybrid. Hybrid technology integrates multiple clouds with different access options.
  • Public. The public model allows regular people to use the technology.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of cloud-based healthcare.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

  1. It provides an affordable solution for storing healthcare data. Healthcare providers generate vast amounts of digital data annually, including lab tests, EMRs, insurance claims, and prescriptions. Cloud-based technology handles that data far more efficiently than traditional record keeping. As cloud computing offers increasing amounts of data storage, cloud-based analytical tools can use that medical data and change it into meaningful information.
  2. It improves the patient experience. Doctors can give their patients a better experience through real-time access to medical information, lab test reports, and doctors’ notes via healthcare-oriented cloud technology. Cloud computing in healthcare helps patients maintain and monitor their health more precisely. Furthermore, thanks to cloud technology in healthcare, patients don’t have to experience unwanted tests or redundant prescriptions, saving time and money.
  3. It enhances collaboration. Cloud computing in healthcare also improves collaboration. Thanks to the EMR in the cloud, patients no longer need individual medical records when visiting their doctor. Doctors can even share data, check earlier consultations with other healthcare professionals, and share that with specialists or other referrals. This process saves time for doctors and patients and helps guarantee more precise diagnoses and treatments.
  4. It has accelerated the rise of telemedicine. Sometimes, patients can’t get to a healthcare facility. That’s where telemedicine comes in. Cloud computing in healthcare has increased the popularity and use of telemedicine. Cloud-based apps and telehealth systems can now share healthcare data to aid in prevention and recovery, offer patients health insurance during treatment, and enhance overall availability. Additionally, many dedicated apps feature increasingly improved functions such as a virtual analysis of medicine consumption or keeping doctors’ appointments via video conferencing. To summarize, cloud computing is the key to enhanced telemedicine.
  5. It provides convenient interoperability. Interoperability involves creating data integrations through the healthcare system, regardless of the data storage source. Cloud solutions allow healthcare interoperability, making patients’ information accessible for flexible distribution and gaining insights that make healthcare delivery easier. Also, cloud computing in healthcare lets medical professionals access patients’ medical data gathered from numerous sources to distribute it among primary stakeholders and deliver timely protocols.

Risks of Using Cloud Computing in Healthcare and How to Avoid Them

Of course, leveraging cloud technology in healthcare can be a challenging road. There are drawbacks and risks to consider.

  • A Restricted EcosystemMore is needed for healthcare organizations to adopt cloud technology; they must also use the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and data management technologies.
  • A Lack of Experts. There’s a dire need for cloud professionals in the healthcare domain.
  • There Are Security Challenges. Storing healthcare data is the main reason for adopting cloud technology. However, it comes with security risks, especially if the organization’s data is on a shared server.
  • Issues in Adopting Cloud Technology. Moving from legacy systems to cloud technologies requires a complete revamp of the task management process.

Understanding your key objectives helps you communicate better with the technology provider. The latter can provide customized cloud computing solutions that meet your business requirements.

And here are some ways of mitigating those risks.

  1. List the Things You Want to Migrate to the Cloud. Analyze your organization’s current pipeline and recognize the obstacles that prevent quality medical delivery or restrict your healthcare team’s operation. After assessing your organization’s processes, make cloud migration the top priority.
  2. Decide Your Objectives. First, determine what your healthcare organization wants from cloud computing and why it adopts the new technology. Reasons could include:
  • Compliance management
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Data protection and better backups
  • Improved data security

3. Measure the Particular Investments. Switching to the cloud requires specific financial outlays. So, figure out whether your business can afford these investments. The primary expenditure involves paying the appropriate IT professionals to conduct the migration. You can:

  • Build an in-house technical team. This is a potentially involved and costly process, but on the upside, you control the entire transfer process.
  • Outsource the work to offshore technical professionals. While you can get convenience, security, and reasonable rates, you may face possible language issues.
  • Hire freelancers. Freelancers are a cost-effective solution, but concerns about sharing your organization’s medical data with an outsider may exist.

How Can Cloud Computing Improve the Healthcare Industry?

Here are some tangible ways that cloud computing can improve the healthcare industry.

  • Making healthcare services more accessible. Telemedicine became a vital tool during the pandemic. COVID concerns aside, though, remote consultations allow people from remote areas or with disabilities to avoid the need to visit a clinic physically. Telemedicine helps healthcare professionals remotely monitor a patient’s vitals, remind the patient to take medication, and communicate regularly.
  • Improving medical staff collaboration. Storing medical data on the cloud lets specialists from different companies access the data at any time without extra communication or involving the patients. As a result, diagnosis accuracy increases.
  • Making it easier to work with data. Healthcare organizations work with data such as medical and appointment histories, patients’ contacts and personal information, insurance company information, and payment records. It’s a challenge to structure and process all this information manually. Cloud-based analytics tools make this work more accessible, accurate, and insightful. AI and machine learning functionality can also help users manage vast amounts of data.
  • Improving the interaction between clinics and patients. Healthcare cloud computing allows physicians, specialists, and medical staff to provide their patients with the highest levels of services and communication. Healthcare personnel can access tests and analysis results online, track treatment dynamics, and get updates. Also, cloud computing offers a new level of safety by preventing patients from being overprescribed.
  • Helping new products enter the market quickly. This advantage was prominent during COVID. In 2020, when Spoedtestcorona was working on offering safe and affordable testing chains in Belgium and the Netherlands, they faced the challenge of releasing a cross-platform web app on a tight schedule. The app would minimize human interaction and make testing safe for patients and medical personnel. They worked with Amazon Web Application services to deploy the app within the two-week deadline and satisfied all high compliance requirements for handling personal medical data.

Examples of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Here are a few brief examples of cloud technology in healthcare.

  • Microsoft. Microsoft Azure can be used with AI and IoT technology to monitor patient insights and analytics. HoloLens 2, another Microsoft product, can project holographic images for the wearer, including accessible information stored in the cloud, giving healthcare providers access to patient data and other collaborative resources during diagnoses, surgery, and treatment.
  • NetApp. NetApp is a hybrid cloud services company that delivers clinical data in real-time to make operations faster and more efficient via streamlining data management, reduced EHR latency, and more accessible accommodation of data and workload expansion.
  • Pfizer. Pfizer is a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company that has leveraged cloud services since 2016. Thanks to COVID, Pfizer has been in the spotlight recently since it developed a COVID-19 vaccine with BioNTech. The company has also begun working with Amazon Web Services to create cloud-based solutions that accelerate and enhance clinical trial testing development, manufacturing, and distribution processes.

Are You Looking to Acquire Cloud Computing Proficiency?

Whether or not you’re involved in the healthcare industry, cloud computing skills are still essential in today’s job market. If you’re interested in boosting your understanding of cloud computing, consider this 32-week post graduate program in cloud computing.

Through this online bootcamp, you will acquire expertise in the Azure and AWS platforms as you explore the latest cloud computing and DevOps tools, frameworks, and best practices for a comprehensive learning experience. shows that cloud computing professionals can earn an annual average of $94,180. Check out this online course, and prepare to take your place in the cloud computing revolution.


Q: Which type of cloud is used by hospitals?
A: Hospitals and clinics typically use private clouds.

Q: What is the most used cloud platform in healthcare?
A: Gartner rates Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the leading cloud provider, followed by Azure.

Q: What are the benefits of leveraging cloud computing in healthcare?
A: The benefits of using cloud technology in healthcare include:

  • It provides an affordable solution for storing healthcare data
  • It enhances collaboration
  • It improves the patient experience
  • It offers convenient interoperability
  • It boosts telemedicine
  • It provides an affordable solution for storing healthcare data

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