9 April, 2020
As healthcare and life sciences evolve, organizations in these spaces must capitalize on innovation and efficiency-driving technology to continue to thrive in the next decade. For an increasing number of these organizations, the future is now.
Many have begun to leverage the cloud’s superior security, reliability and interoperability to transform the way they work. Below we review how these three key attributes provide an ideal computing environment for health and life science organizations.
Security in the Cloud
Healthcare cloud security in the context of health and life sciences largely revolves around maintaining regulatory compliance. For example, as it relates to healthcare providers in hospitals, HIPAA regulations mandate that organizations that handle any protected health information (PHI) ensure necessary precautions to keep that data secure and private.
The Department of Health and Human Services defines PHI as “information, including demographic information, which relates to the individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health condition, the provision of health care to the individual, or payment for the provision of health care to the individual.”
This includes such common identifiers as name, address, birth date and social security number. All of this can be associated with health information that needs to be protected. Healthcare cloud security is a must.
Organizations dealing with such sensitive data must take security precautions by setting up standard operating procedures for audit compliance, implementing security standards in encryption, and ensuring someone is appropriately managing HIPPA compliance.
The cloud is built upon security. Providers such as Google Cloud and AWS typically have a centralized team of cloud-security experts dedicated to ensuring customer data is secure in their cloud infrastructure environments. They provide infrastructure solutions that protect you against data breaches by bolstering weaknesses in endpoints and security blind spots and manage the overall risk any computing environment faces. Their entire business models are built on keeping data safe and accessible.
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Cloud Redundancy and Reliability
Data accessibility is where redundancy and reliability come into play. These concepts dovetail with security in that an organization must be able to reliably access its data in order for it to be truly secure.
Redundancy in the cloud encompasses business continuity, disaster recovery and backup of your organization’s data. For example, if something happens to the on-premise facility where your data is hosted, what happens to the data?
It takes only minutes in a flood or fire to lose years of important information. Depending on the size of your institution, even a short period of downtime can cost you millions of dollars, not to mention patient safety and health.
In the cloud, your data is securely and immediately accessible even in the face of a natural disaster thanks to the redundancy provided by your cloud service provider, who has layers of protection in place to ensure this.
24/7/365 data accessibility is especially critical for healthcare organizations that need ubiquitous, immediate access to potentially life-saving data in situations where minutes matter.
Interoperability in the Cloud
When it comes to cloud computing, interoperability is another crucial aspect of any infrastructure architecture, especially in the health and life science sector.
Anyone who has ever had to present health, insurance and billing information multiple times while dealing with a single health issue has experienced the immense challenge organizations face with interoperability.
In this sector, organizations might have multiple locations across a city, state, region or country or need to connect with partners at a different company in a related industry. As such, workers at each of these locations need to be able to access, exchange, integrate and use data collaboratively and cooperatively across a cloud network. Sometimes, they are working on different information systems.
Many legacy systems do not interact well with one another – for example, from prescribing doctor to pharmacy to physical therapist – creating data roadblocks that negatively affect the patient experience. The cloud is designed to provide solutions that allow data to flow seamlessly, compliantly and securely from one system to another.
These are just three solid reasons why you need to remind yourself why you should be launching a cloud journey rather than looking for reasons why you shouldn’t make the leap.