Cloud and Healthcare: What Can it Do?
A big part of health care services is technology.
High tech equipment like an MRI scanner is what gives a doctor power to look into the body in a way, which could never be done before. Portable Ultra sound machines make it easier to carry an amazing diagnostic technology with you anywhere, outside the environment of a hospital. Robots help surgeons in making invasive surgeries with accuracy with emotional distress, which was un-thinkable a few decades back.
It’s amazing to see so much technology is being used in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare services around the world. Yet, health care itself is the industry where the adoption of new information technology (IT) techniques is the slowest.
It is obvious, and yet a large part of health care industry, which includes doctors and Clinical Research Organizations continue to use paper for collecting and managing primary data when it should and could be stored electronically. Industry pundits have advocated EDC or Electronic Data Capture for a long time, which allows electronic capture, retrieval and analysis of this data in forms that could healthcare better.
Yet, healthcare industry has seemed slow in adopting what looks like a fundamental system, especially in developing countries and countries with high population/health risk count, where such systems would be highly beneficial. And, there is a big reason for that.
EDC systems though are very beneficial they introduce a very high startup cost, which is not directly translatable to diagnosis like in case of an MRI machine. Ongoing costs also pile up and constant resources are needed to maintain, secure and sufficiently backup such systems and the data. This takes away the health care professionals from doing what they do best into ‘gray’ areas, like programming.
But, there is a way, which could help - SaaS or cloud based systems. By using a hosted model, it’s possible for health care providers and clinical research organizations to use EDC and other forms of data capture and analysis without the pain associated with building IT in-house. Saas based clinical trial software for example, and significantly reduce time taken to do studies to days instead of weeks.
Cloud based systems are not expensive and are easy to deploy. Most customizations can be done with drag-and-drop and data can be made available for use anywhere without the risk to security.
In the future we would profile a few of these providers and their products in detail.