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Cloud helps healthcare firms meet new requirements

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As the healthcare sector evolves, moving to the cloud continues to make sense.

Businesses around the world are leveraging cloud computing technologies for a variety of reasons, including the ability to optimize storage environments and improve outdated office phone systems. While the healthcare sector was initially tentative to use the cloud, hospital administrators and other decision-makers are beginning to recognize the potential in leveraging the hosted services.

A recent report by cloud computing consultants CoreMatrix highlighted the healthcare industry's move to the cloud, noting that federal incentives and mandates for organizations to embrace electronic health records (EHRs) are among the biggest drivers for the change. In many cases, the emergence of EHR strategies means businesses will be required to capture and store larger volumes of data without jeopardizing connectivity, accuracy or the ability to deliver high-quality patient care.

Fortunately, the cloud can deliver on all of these fronts, as well as many others. CoreMatrix noted that the cloud is among the best technologies to connect traditionally disparate systems. This means that a hosted PBX solution, for example, would likely ensure physicians are able to share information with one another without sacrificing the ability to provide coordinated care.

Additionally, well-planned cloud environments can actually be much more secure than legacy architectures, reducing the chances that employees will inadvertently expose sensitive information. This is especially important as bring your own device and other mobile initiatives become more common in the healthcare sector.

"Many healthcare executives traditionally believed that keeping medical records behind the firewall was the safest choice, but this is no longer the case," said Paul Nix, co-founder of CoreMatrix. "Cloud providers must conform to HIPAA regulations and many cloud providers specialize in implementing cloud configurations to meet the needs of healthcare."

Keeping connectivity alive

Cloud services in healthcare are becoming more important as hospitals and other facilities continue to adopt social and mobile technologies in and outside of the workplace, CoreMatrix stated. The cloud can also help caregivers connect with patients through the use of advanced cloud VoIP systems, which are primarily unbiased toward the endpoints that are accessing the network. This means that an individual will not fail to receive care solely because he or she is using a smartphone or tablet that is not necessarily supported by hospital IT departments.

A separate Healthcare IT News report highlighted that the cloud is gaining momentum in the healthcare sector because of its ability to support mobile connectivity. This is especially important with regard to mobile applications, as the phone system features are often the most advantageous reasons for using the cloud-based services.

"Every great mobile app is backed up by some cloud infrastructure," cloud expert Greg Arnette said, according to Healthcare IT News. "All behind the scenes is the workhorse that powers the app. Mobile uses a lot of backend cloud services."

Healthcare IT News also said the cloud supports innovation faster than other emerging services. This means that healthcare executives who want their organization to stay on the cutting edge of technology should consider replacing their old phone system and other antiquated network solutions with cloud offerings that are more flexible and agile. In doing so, businesses will be able to improve operations, reduce costs and eliminate some of the complexities associated with maintaining outdated tools.

As hospitals and other healthcare facilities are increasingly pressured to adopt next-generation strategies, decision-makers need to keep an open mind and think about migrating processes to the cloud. By taking this forward-thinking approach, administrators will be able to improve their odds of experiencing longevity and long-term survival, which is especially important in today's economy.