The Impact of Cloud Technologies in the Healthcare System


Since its inception, cloud technology is slowly becoming part of our day to day lives. From backing up your mobile phones to saving photos, documents, videos, to syncing up our smart devices, the cloud offers storage   and accessibility with just the click of a button. Besides using cloud technologies for personal use, cloud technologies also provides benefits for businesses, entrepreneurs among others.

For those who might be wondering what cloud computing means, it is just a general term used to describe the delivery of hosted services over the internet. It enables a ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, mostly over the internet.

Research shows that 83% of healthcare organizations in the world use cloud-based applications and cloud technologies for their day to day activities. Cloud tech is changing the healthcare system and health care informatics. The impact of incorporating cloud computing in the healthcare system has presented both advantages and disadvantages. This article seeks to find out exactly how the advantages and disadvantages come about and how cloud-computing is likely to change the healthcare   landscape.

The Pros

  • Creates an Integrated and Efficient Patient Care

For the past several decades, doctors have been relying on faxed, mailed or hand delivered paper charts when sharing information about patients between different practices.  Cloud technologies offer a single access point to patient information, which allows multiple doctors to view lab results or consult notes on patients.  Cloud tech also helps faster collaborations regarding treatment plans and information transfer which happen instantly with just a single click.

This simply means no more waiting on one practice to send a patients results to your doctor, or having to move from one hospital to another (in a sickly state) to maintain the information flow between doctors ( very common in our country). Doctors can spend their much sought after time and attention on patient care and treatment options.

  • Better Data Management

Many healthcare facilities especially in Kenya have been adopting electronic health records which have led to a wealth data accumulating in the public health metrics.  With cloud technologies researchers can get a chance to mine the data and more accurately assess the health of the general public from the electronic records.

The more the data that can be collected by a researcher, the more opportunities to spot trends is diseases and avoid public health crises such as cholera, typhoid and influenza outbreaks rampant in our country. This data mining method will also help provide insight on best ways to save the much needed money on healthcare.

The Pitfalls

  • Difficult and cumbersome to set-up

Over the years, doctors from both in the public and private health sector have been relying on handwritten notes in paper charts (Not like many Doctor Handwritings are legible- no wonder the wrong prescription fiascos). The thought of transitioning to a completely electronic system may seem daunting or practically unattainable to some people. This is especially so in the marginalized areas of our country where access to electricity is still a challenge.

Smaller or older healthcare practices may not even have the expertise regarding cloud technologies and find that adopting a cloud based system is a huge risk to their practices. Luckily this technology is not going anywhere and with proper education and demonstration of functionality may change adamant doctors’ perspective and help them see the overall benefits of cloud technologies.

  • The technologies may create potential risks to personal information

As we continuously advance in the field of technologies, so do new vices in technology. Cyber-crimes have been on the rise in the recent times with many cyber criminals looking to make some quick money by preying on the personal information of internet users. Data breaches of patient information are a potential risk with cloud technology.

The information contained within a patients’ healthcare record is private and at risk for theft. Many people argue that hackers these days are so sophisticated and can easily compromise cloud technology and access patient information for selfish gains.

However, many data compromises occur in private cloud environments than in general public ones. This is because many cloud technologies offer encryption, proper data disposal and other security features to safe guar private and personal information.

Our Take

As much as cloud technologies may not provide a perfect solution in data and patient care in the healthcare sector it would at least provide patients, doctors and researchers with accessibility to information which can greatly improve patient care.  There will always be hurdles when implementing new technology especially due to the threat of data breaches but with proper education and the right framework, even the health sector can take advantage of the rapidly growing and beneficial technological tools such as cloud-technologies.



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