Cloud computing embraced by EU industry
Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a key enabler for enterprise-wide solutions. In the healthcare IT market, implementing cloud computing technologies effectively can assist European healthcare providers to improve the quality of medical services and the efficiency of operations, share information geographically, and manage overheads. Such enterprise-wide data sharing can help healthcare service providers increase efficiency at relatively low cost. The concept can be applied in a variety of ways, including data storage and data loss prevention, maintaining patient information records, and authorized sharing of information, which can be done quickly and efficiently by providing authorized access to this information on the cloud.
The picture archiving and communication system (PACS) market across Europe is established, and healthcare providers require additional storage systems to back their data up, which can be very expensive. “By using cloud computing, the expenditure on hardware and storage space would be cut down, as cloud storage can cost almost 10 times less than regular storage systems,” remarked Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Analyst Raghuraman Madanagopal. “In addition, cloud storage implementation may result in a drastic readjustment of the amount spent on training resources to manage the storage systems.”
Risk of data loss is another major concern for most healthcare providers, because it impacts the operational efficiency of hospitals with hugely damaging consequences. Cloud computing provides extra safety in reducing the risk of data loss because of regular upgrades and ever improving protection standards. Upgrades occur without downtime and real-time access is not affected, thus 24/7 accessibility required by healthcare providers is not impacted.
A technology still in its infancy, there remain a few problematic factors currently being worked on: shortage of qualified personnel to shift data from hardware to the cloud, and issues with poor broadband penetration and/or slow internet speeds across many parts of Europe. Nevertheless, cloud computing and its services provide European hospitals with excellent options to improve treatment quality and this will encourage large-scale implementation during the coming years. “Cloud service providers are constantly innovating themselves and improving their security standards in order to comply with different regulations and ensure high security,” states Madanagopal. “The advantages of cloud computing in terms of storage size and storage efficiency, data loss prevention and facilitating synchronized and authorized sharing of data can change the dynamics of the European healthcare informatics industry in the course of time.”