According to MarketsandMarkets, the global adoption for cloud services in healthcare will grow from $3.73 billion in 2015 to nearly $9.5 billion by 2020. Such predictions are no longer surprising as cloud is a topic at nearly every IT strategy meeting. Importantly, test driving cloud today will form an essential foundation for the future of healthcare delivery.
How healthcare providers are leveraging cloud today:
Of healthcare providers that currently use cloud services, 73.4 percent report leveraging cloud to support financial, operational and HR applications. From an IT standpoint, the most common uses of cloud are to archive data, host email and for BCDR functions. Basically, most healthcare companies are using cloud for business operations with the goal to gain cost efficiencies while freeing up internal cycles for care critical applications. With looming ACA impacts putting strains on already thin margins, this makes sense. What is more imperative however, is for healthcare systems to continue to take the first step to the cloud with business applications because cloud will play a highly critical role in the near future. Getting comfortable with cloud technologies, by test driving with financial, operational, HR and other back office applications, will help make a smoother transition to when cloud will be a crucial technology to scale to the end patient – an inevitable and highly transformational trend.
How healthcare providers will leverage cloud tomorrow:
Healthcare organizations that have seen reduced readmission rates and more effective outcomes share a common theme; investing in the patient experience post-hospital. IDC predicts that virtual care will become commonplace by 2018 because an estimated 70 percent of routine doctor office visits can be effectively managed via telemedicine. Furthermore, by 2018, 80 percent of patient service interaction will make use of IoT and big data to improve quality, value and timeliness. In order to scale to the end patient and to effectively manage these applications, healthcare providers will require a highly scalable, flexible communications architecture, and this is why the industry predicts hockey-stick-like growth of healthcare cloud adoption over the next few years.
Although current cloud usage revolves around managing business applications to achieve financial efficiencies, healthcare consumerism is an underlying trend that ultimately makes cloud adoption essential to provider success. In order to deploy telemedicine, mHealth applications and remote monitoring tools to the end patient – trends that are inevitable as ACA implications unwind – cloud will become an integral enabling platform.