Skip to main content

The Parting of the Clouds: How Cloud Adoption Delivers Patient Value

Alexa Cushman
November 2, 2017

Healthcare is faced with the challenge to modernize and interconnect its systems to better serve the patient and the provider. So why then are so many healthcare companies still running on antiquated systems and not leveraging the cloud?

Leaders across critical industries are embracing the cloud. And healthcare cloud adoption is now on the rise with forward thinking providers, as organizations begin to understand the increased safety and privacy measures that are available.

It is time for the parting of the clouds for healthcare to let the light shine through. Time for the majority of the industry to step forward, integrate with the cloud, and get moving on this technology that holds so much potential for increasing patient, provider, and member satisfaction.

Why Now For the Cloud in Healthcare?

Cloud technology can be effectively leveraged for healthcare management in a number of ways that support today's growing data demands.

The process of gathering, storing, and analyzing data in the healthcare industry has traditionally been slow-moving. Then converting that data into actionable information can be a complex and difficult next step with overwhelming data sources. Application platform as a service in the cloud can help to streamline the data aggregation process, bringing important, actionable information to those who need it at an accelerated rate.

The massive amount of data storage needed for on-premises vs. cloud implementation is draining healthcare organizations' resources. Cloud can also help alleviate this burden by moving the appropriate data from in-house storage systems into the cloud, ultimately reducing the cost and effort put forth to maintain traditional storage methods.

Even as healthcare organizations, including payer entities and hospital systems, have various locations spread across different states with different regulations, cloud makes syncing every area up on the same, real-time interface an easier task. Cloud based applications can enable real-time collaboration, making it easier to share information and ideas with key stakeholders.

Cloud gives organizations the ability to run regional applications across the country, and even across the globe, for world-wide consistency.

Care Coordination in the Cloud

With cloud technology, the real-time information sharing noted above goes to the next level compared to on-premise alternatives. With cloud, there is no batch system processing within hospitals; patient records are available as soon as new information is placed in the system, increasing communication between clinicians and staff, and thus helping eliminate medical mistakes and increase patient safety.

With cloud, patient data and electronic medical records (EMR's) are more readily available, as these records can be accessed from multiple external sources much more easily than with on-premise counterparts. EMR integration capabilities are improved to provide a holistic view of the patient that is always up to date.

For example, if a patient sees his or her primary care physician who is on one EMR system and needs to have information shared with a specialist who is on another system, or even a previous physician they saw who was on yet another system, the cloud makes it possible to bring all this information into a single interface for seamless information sharing. No more, "we have to wait for them to fax over a copy of your records," like you'd hear years ago.

"Many physicians find cloud computing makes it easier to collaborate and offer care as a team. Through mobile devices, video conferencing, and applications built specifically for healthcare organizations, the cloud speeds things up and allows better communication at a distance."*

On the payer side of things, cloud assists in provider data management for constantly up-to-date provider data so members and clinicians know who is in-network and who is not. This service creates more satisfied members who are less likely to jump to different plans during open enrollment, when they know they have coverage they can count on to always be one-hundred percent accurate.

Cloud and Increased Security Tactics

When it comes to technology in the healthcare field, every "i" must be dotted and every "t" crossed before new technology can enter the field. And rightfully so, with patient safety and privacy, as well as member engagement, as the top priorities for both healthcare payers and providers, everything must be in order before a healthcare organization can go "live" with a new system.

A recent cybersecurity report found that many in healthcare are hesitant to use cloud because of security concerns. Those concerns include: excessive PHI sharing, financial information, medical conditions, and Social Security numbers.**

In reality, using the cloud is an ideal way to help protect a healthcare corporation's most sensitive data. Even using a hybrid of cloud and on-premise technology can help companies protect essential information within their firewall, as well, while at the same time extending new processes and business initiatives into the cloud environment.

For keeping up with the competition, attracting and retaining new patients and members, and keeping all of their information as secure as possible, cloud is a step in the right direction.

Specifically when it comes to security, on Appian cloud, customers are able to build, deploy, and utilize business applications that utilize Protected Health Information (PHI), and thus, Appian cloud can then be compliant with the The United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

When using cloud within healthcare, organizations are better able to deliver heightened reliability with cloud server hardening, encryption, and disaster recovery. When it comes to collecting funds as well, they can take advantage of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance to ensure that no payment information going back and forth on the network is ever at stake.

The Parting of the Clouds for Healthcare

Those with a progressive view of what's ahead for IT in healthcare have seen the light, and the time to move forward with cloud adoption is now. On both sides of the healthcare coin, payer and provider, companies need to best serve their patients -- providers and members -- and cloud adoption can help deliver.

For an interesting view of how the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries are using cloud to streamline, from conception to clinician, check out:

Alexa Cushman

Industry Marketing Manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences

*"The 7 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Healthcare", August 5, 2014

**Snell, Elizabeth "What Are Top Healthcare Cloud Security Concerns?, Health IT Security, March 21, 2016