In recent years, the word “cloud” has rarely been off the lips of leaders in many diverse industries – and with figures showing that more than four-fifths of enterprise work will be completed via the cloud by next year, the pace of change is getting faster. The medical sector is no exception. Anyone who works in a hospital, a clinic, or any other medical institution will be aware of just how powerful the cloud revolution’s hold is, but what exact impact has the shift to the cloud had on this industry? How has it changed patient outcomes and experience – and what’s the business case for a shift to the cloud? This article will explore these questions and more.
Firstly, cloud software has substantially altered the way that the healthcare sector operates as it pertains to patient outcomes. In the past, patient data often remained in that patient’s file and never saw the light of day. Perhaps from time to time, a healthcare data science project might take random samples from patient files – but that was all.
However, with cloud-based software, patient data can be used systematically, anonymously and consensually in the wider research-based fight against illness. There’s clear evidence that a more data-savvy culture in which healthcare organizations are happy to share their insights can help to find key cures for major conditions. Software packages that are integrated into the data collection methods of the wider world are essential.
It’s vital, of course, to treat this data securely and respectfully given its sensitivity – so choosing a legitimate cloud provider is also important. Infor, which is run by Charles Phillips and which works with over well over 75,000 firms, is just one of the well-respected options available on the market. Ultimately, picking a firm that is long-established and that has a recognizable, and long client list is a good move, and will give your patients the reassurance they need.
From a patient’s point of view, the outcome of their stay in a hospital or other healthcare environment is just one part of the equation. There are other important factors, especially with their experience. Experience is a subjective quality, of course, but there are some common questions that patients ask in this regard. How clean is the floor of the ward? How long does it take for a nurse to come after ringing the bell?
Cloud software is actively removing a lot of the bottlenecks that formerly used to create negative answers to these questions. Take the example of a physician or nurse doing their rounds on a ward or in another healthcare environment. Before the advent of cloud software, staff would note down their insights from their rounds into physical notepads. However, this would lead to inefficient working practices: the files were at risk of getting lost, for example, leading to staff wasting time on carrying out duplicate rounds rather than focusing on patient care. This sort of problem disappears when cloud software is introduced into the equation, as the instant back-up nature of many cloud-based note-taking apps means that there’s little to no risk of data loss.
Profitability and efficiency
Here in the US, it’s common to find healthcare institutions that are run for profit. This motivation means that healthcare leaders are always looking for ways to increase revenue – and, fortunately, cloud software can help here as well. Many of the expensive functions that used to be carried out either by staff members or by clunky, slow computing tools can be carried out at a fraction of the price with the cloud – especially if you opt for a consumption-based pricing model, whereby the amount that you pay for your cloud services expands and shrinks in proportion to your usage of them.
Perhaps your non-clinical staff is distributed over a number of locations, with some working from a separate office and others working from home. In the past, you would have been obligated to provide equipment – such as a company laptop – to these staff members. With cloud-based software, it’s possible for distributed teams to work remotely with just a web browser and an internet connection on their side. Logging into everything from spreadsheet software to document editing tools is possible from anywhere thanks to the cloud.
The cloud has had a profound impact on the way that medical institutions operate. From the balance sheet of the businesses that power the clinics and hospitals to changes in individual-level patient experiences, the cloud is providing all kinds of advantages. There’s no reason to assume that the pace of change is going to decelerate either. With many medical institutions now relying on the cloud for so many purposes, it’s only likely that firms providing cloud services will innovate more and more in the coming years.