Where is the best place to store medical data: in the cloud or on internal servers? Although cloud computing is no longer a trend or even a novelty, including for the health area, the issue still raises doubts among many hospital managers. Requirements such as security and deployment costs are most relevant for those dealing with an enormous amount of hospital and clinical data. The challenge is to understand the advantages and possibilities of using cloud solutions to store and optimize the use of information generated by the institution, and how technology can be integrated into the hospital routine.
Next, we will bring the main points about cloud computing in health so that managers can understand the benefits of this innovation concerning traditional methods of storing files.
Benefits of using cloud computing in healthcare
The advantages of adopting cloud systems, both from a business point of view and in relation to process optimization are several. Cloud computing brings greater security and speed of access to data, as well as cost savings in infrastructure and service on demand. Let’s specify each of the benefits:
This is the main point that generates the biggest doubts. So, let’s start by analyzing the traditional method of data storage, which is still widely used in many hospitals: data centers (CPDs) and internal servers. The idea of using proprietary hardware to store administrative and clinical information can even give the impression of greater security, as it is assumed that there is no one better to take care of strategic and necessary information than the company that uses it. But, to specify the data is more secure in the cloud than on the hospital server. And let’s explain why:
As safe as the space where the CPD is located, with passwords to authorize the entry of people, monitoring cameras and some firewalls against the system, internal servers are still much more exposed to intrusions and other storage problems than those in the cloud. That’s because, all the resources used by the cloud service provider – such as end-to-end encryption, secure authentication, anonymization, monitoring, etc. – receive much more investment than any individual solution that an organization can hire or create.
Besides, files are stored on several servers, which protect data against virtual attacks and physical incidents, such as fires or floods, and any security breach can be quickly detected and corrected, instantly updating the system for users.
Fast and remote access to data
One of the great advantages of cloud computing is the sharing of information between managers and also between the clinical staff. All of this is done in a more structured way, reducing the risk of loss of medical and administrative documents. There is also the facility of remote access.
The mobility of devices has made data access from any location imperative. Cloud storage, on an online server, allows access to them at any time, bringing several advantages for doctors and administrators. With all the information in the cloud, you can also take advantage of Big Data in health. With a rich database, combined with easy access at any time and place, the process of crossing and analyzing data becomes easier and more agile to establish possible standards and generate insights for the institution.
In this regard, we can highlight two important aspects:
Lower infrastructure – The use of cloud computing eliminates the expense of purchasing hardware and software and installing and running local CPDs, which include server racks, electricity with permanent availability for power and cooling, the security of access, backup, maintenance, and software update, etc.
On-demand execution – The hospital can have part of its services linked to specific functions, in which the allocated resources are charged when used. Thus, the hospital will pay per transaction or for the set of transactions. When there is greater use, you will pay more, but in case the resource is idle, without requests, nothing will be charged.
Finally, it is necessary to consider that, to enjoy the benefits of cloud computing, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and other healthcare establishments need to qualify their IT teams for this system. It is necessary to have at least one cloud computing specialist in the internal team, because only then can the technology be managed efficiently, safely, and economically and meet the institution’s expectations.