Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cloud Computing enabling better patient care and improve profitability - A short note for Clinicians.

Introduction:
Technological advancements that have been observed in most industry segments are hardly visible in healthcare / medical segments.  Rather it can be said that technology in healthcare sector has been underutilized. Paper based medical records and handwritten notes are still being used by business owners to inform and make decisions. The same can be said for processes such as consultation, revenue and inventory management. Digitized information, if any is stored between departments and applications, which make access to patients’ health records and day to day operational procedures complicated and time consuming. At the same time, the overall healthcare environment is undergoing a rapid transformation owing to a rising need for providing highest quality medical services that are economically viable. Hence, it is high time for business owners to switch over from paper based workflows and embrace new technologies in order to improve their operational efficiency and quality of patient care.
Amongst the many technologies available in the market today, one that holds the most potential to improve the way healthcare is delivered and impacting all stakeholders’ viz., doctors, patients, insurance companies and government bodies equally is CLOUD COMPUTING.

What is Cloud Computing?
In layman’s terms cloud computing can be described as services that are hosted over the internet. Cloud is basically a mix of software, data & intelligence all easily accessible and managed on the World Wide Web. It facilitates stakeholders to securely access information that is updated from time to time.
Cloud computing represents the biggest potential change to the healthcare industry since the computer. Utilizing healthcare business software through cloud technology facilitates business owners to focus their efforts on clinically relevant services and enhanced patient outcomes. What it means is; it would enable seamless access and management of patient care and information through automation and streamlining of workflows. Summing it in short, it would create an integrated healthcare ecosystem that would ultimately aid business owners to go beyond traditional methods of business management. Moreover, it also eliminates the burden of infrastructure management by providing easy access to software, while driving down costs and simplifying technology adoption.

Why Cloud Computing?
One of the key focuses of business owners today is to provide patient-centric services. Since we are living in the information age, patients expect more from business owners in terms of technology. This has led to an increasing requirement from patients to have their medical information at their fingertips. Their logic being that while internet has simplified everything else in their lives why not healthcare? for eg: gone are the days when people needed to go shopping physically, it is now very easily done from the confines of their homes or while on the move using smart phones. Cloud based electronic medical record software can do just that by enabling patients to access their medical information at their convenience.
Similarly, business owners can consult with their peers in case of doubt using customized healthcare business software to exchange medical records of patients’, irrespective of their location using cloud technology. The same holds true for other aspects associated with day to day functioning of healthcare organizations such as consultation, revenue and inventory management etc.
Simply said, opting to utilize cloud based healthcare business software can drastically simplify these procedures while offering business owners a tremendous opportunity to enhance the quality of their services and improve operational efficiency.
  
Advantages of Healthcare Business Software on Cloud:
For any new technology to be accepted by business owners it must offer some benefits. Evidently, health care business software on cloud offers several advantages over traditional models that would eventually improve operational efficiency of a healthcare organization. Some such key yet basic benefits are:-
Easy access to medical records: In a traditional model, patients are required to maintain their own records. All medical information is handed over to patients who are expected to carry the records with them during their next visit. In such circumstances it is quite possible that patients may misplace the records or forget to carry them during their next visit. Such scenarios can be entirely avoided if business owners deploy cloud based healthcare business software. Cloud based electronic health record software eliminates the need for paper based information making it easier for patients as well as business owners.
Collaboration: Time and again business owners may need to collaborate with each other to reach a correct diagnosis or outline the right treatment plan for a specific patient. If at all such situation arises, it is quite likely that collaborators are not in the same location so sharing of information becomes a hindrance. Cloud based business software can overcome this hurdle as information can be synchronized and shared amongst multiple collaborators in real time.
Speed: Information exchange through business applications delivered using cloud technology is comparatively faster than traditional methods of information sharing viz., paper based information wherein information exchange can cause sizable delays or information sharing through email which can be delayed owing to heavy internet traffic.

Conclusion:
With such obvious benefits, it becomes necessary that the healthcare industry too catches up with other industries that are growing leaps and bounds, riding on the back of cloud technology. Therefore, the need of the hour is for business owners to adopt healthcare business software driven by cloud technology which would allow them to accelerate their ability to tackle critical day to day functional challenges, bring about a radical change in their business models and provide patient-centric services while minimizing costs.