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Health IT viewpoints: The cloud is the future

February 19, 2016
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Radiologists can spend up to 2.5 hours per day preparing for case reviews.4 The cloud will be able to help these doctors do the same preparation in minutes. In certain circumstances, a radiologist’s tendency may be to review a series of images in a row, focusing on individual snapshots and data points.

Now, powered by cloud-based collaboration and tools, radiologists can better view the patient as a whole — not only to help drive toward better disease management, but also to drive down costs and increase efficiencies. Cloud innovations will offer clinicians, departments and entire health care ecosystems opportunities for advances in clinical, financial and operational outcomes. One of the health care cloud’s key features is flexibility, which will help reduce costs, and enables better clinical and operational outcomes. One study points to increasing interoperability of medical systems saving health care ecosystems $30 billion per year.5

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Cloud strategy
As health care providers and radiology departments move to the cloud, here are a few important considerations:
• The main goal in adopting the use of a cloud should be to derive value out of insightful analytics that could impact care processes and outcomes.
• “Cloud-onomics” — the economics of leveraging the cloud — must be front and center throughout the process of cloud adoption.
• Usability, context and workflow are important factors to consider when embracing the cloud.
• Cloud and data governance is important. The aim is to make it easier for radiologists and clinicians to do the right things, backed by technology-enabled enforcement.
• Interoperability and security standards — including HIPAA privacy compliance — are crucial as providers begin the cloud adoption process. It’s very important that all possible measures have been taken to ensure patient privacy, while also allowing systems to talk across departments.
• Cloud computing brings a new elasticity with huge server farms like those used by social media outlets. Computing power will no longer be defined by what providers own on-site, like desktop devices, medical devices or servers. It will be scalable — up or down — depending on current needs.
• It’s critical to map out a robust, thorough cloud development strategy to ensure its use is properly executed at all levels. By implementing a comprehensive cloud strategy, health care providers can completely transform the way they treat patients.

Next up in the cloud
The cloud may soon become one of the greatest health care innovation enablers of the 21st century, transforming health care in ways not yet even imagined. Developers, hospitals, academic institutions and manufacturers will come together to solve problems related to improved patient care across disease areas and care pathways, departments, hospitals and freestanding clinics.

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