Cloud Computing Architecture for Healthcare
Cloud computing architecture enables robust and scalable capabilities through on-demand delivery and the pay-as-you-go model. Cloud computing brings benefits to the healthcare business: interoperability, manageability, accessibility, productivity, and safety.
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Due to the changing environment of technological innovations and its transition to cloud computing architecture, the demand for exploring its possibilities within various industries and markets emerges. It is a valuable tool for dealing with various operational, managerial, and research issues. Delivering such benefits, cloud computing architecture became a desirable target for diverse on-premises applications to switch from a traditional model. And the healthcare industry, with its online patient care, clinical applications, and medical records analysis, is not an exception. Continue reading to learn more about cloud computing, the several types of cloud computing services, and how healthcare SaaS platforms may help modern society.
How Can Cloud Computing Architecture Initiate Beneficial Changes?
Let’s take it from the top and define what cloud computing is. It refers to data centers accessible over the internet to many users and is spread across various locations from a centralized server. Cloud relates to providing computer system resources such as data storage and processing power at request. Its architecture enables robust and scalable computation-intensive capabilities through on-demand delivery and the pay-as-you-go model. So, what is so beneficial about cloud computing architecture? Would it be any different for your business if just the internal structure were changed?
There would be a significant difference. Businesses can turn to cloud providers for support rather than investing in on-premises hardware, hiring specialized people, and handling upkeep. This way, cloud computing will allow you to store documents in a secure location that you can access from any supported device. To feel the gap between this model and the traditional one, let’s see how the process goes. Usually, all programs and software must be installed on a centralized server that can only be accessed from a particular place. However, with the cloud, even if you maintain directories full of vital work on your PCs and servers, the data may be stored remotely and backed up. Thus, you get a more secure way to store data without additional costs on manual labor, hardware, etc.
Furthermore, the applications are considerably easier to manage when using a serverless architecture. It saves IT expenditures significantly when you pay a third party for the entire cycle of services. At the same time, it offers more scalability. It lowers costs because the organization won't have to pay for the capability that isn't being used and can quickly scale up or down. One more perk of the cloud is its ability to innovate automatically when the cloud service provider launches a prototype or an update.
However, even the benefits depend on the cloud-based solutions you choose. Let's take a look at some of the most frequent sorts.
Types of Cloud-Based Solutions
It's a one-of-a-kind decision to choose a cloud kind or service. Even though cloud computing is possible with any cloud type, each cloud is built with its own set of technologies, usually comprising an operating system, a management platform, and APIs. However, recognizing the commonalities will help you better understand how the limitations of each cloud computing model and cloud service may affect your organization.
There are four significant kinds of clouds distributed over operational management:
- Public Clouds. Cloud environments are often built using IT infrastructure that does not belong to the end-user, where spaces are segmented and divvied up to numerous tenants. (AWS, GCP, Azure)
- Private clouds. Cloud infrastructures entirely dedicated to a particular end-user or group are often hosted behind that party's firewall.
- Hybrid Clouds. It is an IT infrastructure made up of many environments, and at least a couple of those environments must be provided from centralized IT resources that can scale up and down.
- Multi-clouds. These are cloud designs that bring together various cloud services from multiple providers, whether public or private. When different clouds are coupled through interaction, they become hybrid clouds.
Now, you might wonder which one to choose for your purposes. And we recommend discovering each option further before taking any decision. But in a nutshell, if you have high-volume or fluctuating-demand workloads - go for the public cloud; if you need strong security - go for the private cloud; if you want an optimized solution - go for hybrid or multi-cloud. As a whole, a type of cloud doesn’t depend on the industry overall but the requirements of the performed activity. Indeed, there are multiple cloud solutions for healthcare in healthcare, which differ from one to another. And now we are going to move on to their outlook.
Overview of Cloud Solutions for Healthcare
Due to the sheer number of procedures determined by the amount of confidentiality it must handle. Cloud computing benefits the healthcare business interoperability, manageability, accessibility, productivity, and safety. The cloud's on-demand computing capability offers value, particularly when medical institutions need to install and access data for healthcare management.
Currently, a significant part of tasks in the healthcare industry could be divided into administrative operations and physician actions related to online patient care. As we have found in research, the actual needs within the industry that are already covered with cloud-based solutions consist of:
- Store large amounts of data (e.g., DICOM Images)
- Management of patient’s data (e.g., anamnesis, pathologies, symptoms, medical records)
- For data processing, there is a need for particular software and hardware.
- Software and hardware scalability for data management
- Needs to extend the authorizations and warrant security policy
This list is roughly shortened, but indeed, with the data migration process, the modified healthcare SaaS platform would be able to undertake all the mentioned tasks. The prime emphasis in healthcare should be on the data: its management, security, accessibility, and the possibility to share. And with cloud computing architecture is seen as a significant advantage for different-sized firms since the data may be kept safe off-site. But what else? What are the other solutions that might be conducted easier on the cloud? Browse the following aspects in the healthcare industry that are addressed by a cloud-based healthcare system:
- Accessibility to computers with massive storage capacity on-demand, which is not possible in typical healthcare systems.
- Supported datasets for EHR, radiological pictures, and genetic data unloading.
- Optimized EHR is shared across approved physicians, hospitals, and care-providing organizations in multiple geographic regions, allowing for quick access to life-saving information and reducing the need for redundant testing.
- Improved cloud-based data analysis and monitoring of treatment, therapy, expense, and effectiveness.
The fundamental purpose is to boost computer resources at cheaper upfront capital expenditures. In addition, cloud computing can lower the lack of healthcare systems and network modernization. The total health data management system becomes more adaptable and scalable.
Risks of Applying Cloud Computing Architecture to Healthcare
Even though cloud computing is a fantastic technique for increasing the healthcare system, there are specific concerns that medical experts should be aware of.
The same characteristic of remote access to medical data that makes telemedicine therapy possible also exposes patients to the risk of data theft by hackers, who are particularly active these days. Security concerns in cloud computing were identified by 70% of respondents in the studies as their top concern regarding SaaS. Security should be the number one priority, and the concerns are understandable. However, as we already mentioned, there are multiple options to gain security with the cloud: utilize the private cloud (but in this case, your on-premises security system should be well-performed) or choose the public cloud (the cloud service provider applies all the needed security measures and update them automatically).
Outages in the System
Whereas the cloud is more stable than on-premise infrastructure, it is still possible for outages to occur. A corporation should establish a downtime recovery strategy and allocate the resources for the backup facility to reduce the risk.
Because the customer only pays for the resources utilized with cloud computing, the spending might fluctuate from month to month. For specific organizations that lack financial planning agility, such spending fluctuations may cause trouble.
The use of cloud computing in healthcare may positively influence the sector. There are many benefits from lowering expenses and reducing time spent to provide companies with much-needed flexibility, scalability, and cooperation among healthcare researchers. This could be achieved with one major step - transitioning to the Healthcare SaaS Platform. And with that, your company or institution can enter the competition among the other cloud solutions for healthcare applications.
Published at DZone with permission of Tetiana Stoyko. See the original article here.
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