In a recent post, I offered a simple explanation of cloud computing. For those who missed it, it is basically described as anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet, with a variety of delivery options. A technological innovation that was years in the making.
Over the past couple of years, the weakened economy fostered the adoption of cloud computing by businesses.
An alternative to capital intensive spending for self-hosting, the cloud offers a cost-effective way to provide services through a shared and managed resource.
The cloud takes advantage of the innovations in virtualization and distributed computing, as well as improvements in high-speed Internet access - through wired and wireless connections.
As the health care industry ponders how to best inject the recent spate of technologies into processes and programs that can enhance the quality of service, the cloud offers a way to minimize the cost for deploying applications and services to patients, and companies across the health care ecosystem.
RehabCare is a health care company that uses the cloud to offer its services. The company uses the cloud, and an integrated technology platform, to improve their patient intake and referral process.
It allows them to better manage the way they track, benchmark and improve rehabilitation procedures and how they report and communicate progress to Medicare, patients and their families.
RehabCare will extend its use of the cloud to deploy an Electronic Medical Record platform next year.
Using cloud-based solutions can also be extended to a macro level - cost-effectively and securely sharing patient information and applications among doctors, institutions, insurers, government agencies, etc. - on a statewide and/or nationwide level.
For example, the ability to seamlessly view patient information received from monitoring devices and share it with others in the health care chain can be done in a cloud environment.
At some point, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) will be stored in a cloud environment. That said, like any data that travels over the Internet, there needs to be secure access to browser-based EHRs and EMRs, with end-to-end encryption, whether information resides in a private or public cloud.
Sharing patient information in the cloud would enable real-time collaboration among medical experts, faster diagnosis of the condition, and ensure the proper treatment and medication is prescribed.
From time to time I'll report on cloud computing and how it is, or can be, used in health care. As innovative companies look for ways to quickly deploy their services and applications across a variety of mobile devices, the cloud will be a resource that most will not resist.
Have a safe and healthy week.
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