Technology is redefining our world. Over the course of just 40 years, we’ve seen technology develop at lightning speed. Technology has evolved from academia, to home computers, to e-commerce, to social media, to the cloud, and now to artificial intelligence.
Many industries have quickly adopted the latest and greatest technology has to offer, for fear of losing a competitive advantage. But others, like the healthcare industry, have been slower to integrate technology into the workplace, especially cloud-based technology.
Cloud integration offers many benefits, but there are also risks that raise major concerns for healthcare professionals. It begs the question, is cloud technology a smarter solution or a headache waiting to happen?
The benefits of cloud technology inevitably lead to better, more accurate, more accessible patient care. And while there are challenges that come along with the technology, those challenges can be addressed and do not outweigh the benefit of improving the care of patient health.
- Storage capability. The volume of data collected, documented and stored each day by health care professionals is vast, which makes the storage capabilities within cloud technology a value-add for the industry.
- Improved collaboration. Developers have created industry-specific applications designed to improve communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals. The ease of use and accessibility have accelerated the manner in which healthcare professionals use, access and share patient information. The end result is an improved patient experience for providers, payers and patients alike.
- Better scalability. The volume of structured and unstructured data is rising exponentially. And as more devices become “smart,” the more data will be generated. The scalability of cloud technology is key, because as data volumes increase and operational needs adjust, the technology can confidently scale and adapt at a much faster rate than prior storage platforms ever could.
Hurdles To Overcome
In its infant stages, cloud technology was really seen as an operational facet of healthcare. It was implemented in email communication platforms and the storage of patient data. But now the lens in which we view cloud technology is expanding, allowing the industry to tap into new and uncharted avenues of patient service.
The first point-of-contact in the patient-provider relationship will soon be through virtual care and remote service. The evolution of cloud technology forces us into a new way of thinking. And while there are great benefits, there are also hidden challenges that must be exposed and addressed in order to succeed.
- Legacy technology. Operating with modern, updated tools across the enterprise is the most efficient way to integrate cloud technology into your organization. Hurdles often arise when modern applications begin trying to integrate with legacy systems.
- Network security. Data security consistently ranks as the leading cause of concern for the healthcare industry. The potential risk of jeopardizing patient information cannot be taken lightly. And because security is a fundamental requirement for the industry (thank you, HIPAA), a trusted technology partner is critical. You need someone in place who vets technology with security in mind, and one who recognizes the sensitivity of the data being handled.
- IT workforce talent. The more technology that enters into the workplace, the more data is generated. And that data provides an insight into patients and their overall health never seen before. But those insights won’t ever be captured without IT professionals in place who have a rich understanding and experience in cloud computing. Find that talent to bring in-house, or find a managed services provider (like us!) who have the talent you need to stay ahead.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Why is cloud technology not just a fad or a short-term interest?
Because cloud technology has become a fundamental aspect of technology itself. And the technology brings along two essential elements the healthcare industry cannot overlook: a platform that reduces costs and a platform that helps improve patient care.
Focus on mastering the technology you have in place today before running to integrate something new. Spend your time first on ensuring you and your staff are confident about your technology operations, your security and your storage capabilities. Then, designate time to spend with your IT provider to evaluate the other avenues of technology that should be implemented into your organization. Get the conversation started with your IT provider with these questions:
- How can technology help serve patients faster?
- How can technology ease communication with patients?
- How can technology be used to empower patients to take more ownership of their health?
Seeing the benefits and the hurdles should give you a solid picture of where you stand right now with cloud technology, and where the opportunities are for improvement and growth. Yes, the idea of integration can feel daunting and overwhelming, but technology is redefining how the world does business and how customers are served.
Want to Learn More? Check out Managed IT Support and Services for Medical Practices