11 Healthcare Cloud Opportunities You Shouldn’t Ignore


While the healthcare sector has been slower than other industries to embrace the cloud, cloud services have advanced significantly. Today, you can choose from hundreds of cloud-based services, some created specifically for healthcare, as well as new approaches for managing them.

We predict several specific opportunities for healthcare organizations that cannot be realized without cloud applications.

Cloud Predictions to Shape Your Future Strategy

Patient Experience. As consumers take on an increasing share of the cost of healthcare, they are becoming more engaged and have higher expectations of the consumer experience. These new expectations emphasize attributes of competition similar to the retail and hospitality industries, such as quality, value, convenience, and personalization. By providing a consistent context for communication and data gathering, cloud infrastructure that includes contact centers can deliver an integrated experience across key touchpoints in the patient’s journey.

Patient-Generated Health Data Will Continue to Explode. Make note of Apple’s plans to officially bring medical records onto the iPhone as further indication that the future of outpatient health will require patient generated health data. Data gathered outside of clinical settings, including biometric data from patient wearables such as wireless scales, wireless glucometers, the Apple Watch, FitBit, and the Internet of Medical Things, will leverage the cloud for acquisition and use of the data by patients as well as clinicians, all tied back to their respective EMR.

Population Health, Chronic Disease Management, and Home Health Need Improvement. Healthcare delivery across multiple specialties and disparate care and treatment practices benefit from the provision of location- and time-independent, as well as collaborative cognitive support from cloud- based information technology. Patient and governmental demand is high and healthcare organizations and vendors must deliver collaborative solutions. For example, this can be accomplished through a shared data set that is a capable of quickly identifying optimal patient care delivery mechanisms and providing continuous monitoring.

Cybersecurity and Operations Management. It is becoming nearly impossible for hospital IT staff to keep up with the continuous threats on an organization especially since the Medical Record Number (MRN) is the most valuable asset on the black market. Cloud management solutions can provide a single solution to manage not only threats but also the reliability of the network and server environment.

You won’t need just one cloud provider. Cloud orchestration and management enables healthcare organizations to efficiently manage and monitor a multi-cloud provider environment to ensure fiscally optimal performance for many uses. There is no longer a requirement to use just one provider.

The shrinking on-premise data center. Now that cloud services and tools are available to support almost every single aspect of healthcare IT, you have fewer reasons to own and manage a data center. The multiple development/train/change management domains, in addition to on-demand requests are often too costly to manage. Eventually, most healthcare organizations will move the majority of their workloads and infrastructure to the cloud.

Instantaneous Recovery. Gone are the days where Healthcare organizations can tolerate even minutes of downtime. Organizations need to be able to provide near real-time business continuity solutions. Cloud offers fiscally responsible on-demand resources near instantaneously to minimize impact to patient care in the event that there are interruptions to services.

We Haven’t Even Scratched the Surface of Precision Genomic Medicine. Due to the massive size of genomics datasets, researchers are developing storage strategies that minimize the cost of moving and replicating data by storing in a centralized cloud-based location that is accessible across multiple organizations. Organizations that do not leverage the cloud will be left behind.

Medical Imaging in the Cloud is Only Just Beginning to Take Shape. Next to genomic research, medical imaging is the fastest growing desire for cloud storage and computing. According to Google more than 300 million advanced images were taken last year alone with nearly every procedure requiring some type of imaging. The requirement for this, in addition to the potential for advanced research capabilities will further drive the requirement for cloud.

Deep mining of EMR. Extensive and rapid mining of hundreds of thousands of EMRs in a collaborative manner to provide better and faster outcomes is now possible with the cloud. According to the Medical Futurist Institute, “Mining medical records is the most obvious application of AI in medicine. Collecting, storing, normalizing, tracing its lineage – it is the first step in revolutionizing existing healthcare systems.”

Predictive Medicine and Artificial Intelligence. Cloud computing of patient demographics, lab results, and behavior enables providers to accurately predict the onset of adverse events or when someone may be needing to go see a medical professional before the event occurs. Solutions like IBM’s Watson Health that are able to diagnose results from medical images are just the start of a trend in healthcare toward using deep learning to analyze unstructured data.

Most healthcare organizations are quickly advancing from “whether” to “how” to advance their cloud adoption. In era of industry consolidation, the cloud provides a timely opportunity to consolidate the numerous applications acquired during a merger or acquisition, and to streamline storage. Even without a merger or acquisition, your institution may use 100 or more different applications for managing revenue, scheduling, and billing. Surely you don’t need all of them to reside on-premise.

A cloud consultant can help you create a long-term cloud migration strategy. What workflows should you move to the cloud—or not? Which applications, data, or infrastructure should remain strictly in your hands? What are the risks?

No one can predict where your healthcare organization will be in five years, or what its business model will be. What we do know is that IT teams will need to spend more time on strategy and creating the right technology ecosystem, and less on keeping the servers running. Cloud adoption is one way to free your team to focus on what’s important rather than on what’s urgent, and to position your organization for the future—whatever it may hold.

For questions or further guidance on healthcare cloud strategy from Burwood Group, contact us.



August 20, 2018