Public cloud in healthcare in India

Public Cloud Integration could be the Answer to India’s Biggest Healthcare Challenges

Public cloud could prove to be a boon for the healthcare sector as it can integrate data from across hospitals and third parties, making national health records readily available for analysis

Public Cloud Integration could be the Answer to India’s Biggest Healthcare Challenges

Public cloud could prove to be a boon for the healthcare sector as it can integrate data from across hospitals and third parties, making national health records readily available for analysis

With increasing need for mobility, digitization and instant accessibility in the healthcare industry, public cloud is gaining traction. Data creation is increasing exponentially and bringing it to public cloud can mark a giant step towards effectual analysis and implementation. According to the recent Enterprise Cloud Index Report the healthcare industry is embracing public clouds at a 13% penetration rate compared to the 12% global average demonstrating the confidence in this technology to deliver services efficiently and achieving cost savings.

Public cloud for Indian healthcare

Adoption of public cloud can have huge advantages for India’s healthcare infrastructure, including integration of data across hospitals and third parties, making national health records readily available for analysis. Medical images captured using handheld devices such as mobile phones can be immediately archived for posterior use. In fact, this is already facilitating telemedicine where patients can consult physicians through video conferencing and receive prescriptions through SMSs or images. The big data generated from such national health records will also help the government and healthcare regulatory bodies to clearly identify the medical challenges that the country is currently facing with concrete figures in real-time as opposed to basing insights on longer surveys.

The data storage infrastructures challenges that are faced by both public and private healthcare parties in the country till now, can also be addressed through cloud technology. A splendid example of this can be insurance firms who, with the right insights, can design the right plans at the right cost. Similarly, the government health agencies can design the right policies and campaigns for target populations with the right kind of intervention. Further, this could become an effective waste management measure as well.

Implementation of cloud – India vs the World

Globally advanced economies such as the US and UK are focusing on implementing health data interoperability and paying more attention to data standards that will enable seamless, on-demand information exchange. In India, however implementation of such a system has hardly seen any exposure. The problem here is two-fold, recording and tracking of health metrics through Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is scanty and to top it, the absence of a comprehensive data privacy law is a major hindrance.

However, innovative healthcare delivery mechanisms such as Telemedicine, mHealth etc., are giving hope to people by reaching far-flung locations to enable remote consultation and provide opportunities for population health management. In fact, India ranks 2nd among developing countries on maturity for mHealth adoption. Additionally, the recent governmental reforms promise tremendous possibilities for adoption of public cloud on the data security and privacy front.

Hindrances in adoption of public cloud

Globally, the biggest roadblock to adoption of public cloud is data security and privacy. The adoption of public cloud is low due to a perceived loss of control, including a hesitancy to adopt the new technology among medical professionals despite it being simple to use.

Public cloud service providers are attempting to address some of these concerns by arranging subject-matter experts or initiating education series aimed to bringing people up to speed with tech-friendly courses. These EHR systems have inbuilt tutorials on how to use the system and are readily deliverable via mobiles and tablets etc. These measures may go a long way in addressing the technology transformation issues.

The road ahead

Adoption of cloud computing in the healthcare industry will continue to evolve and accelerate in the coming years. However, for the effective implementation of public cloud, efforts need to be put in by both private and public sectors. Leading private players in the industry are already well armed with subject-matter experts, and innovative products to handle revenue cycle management, claims settlement, data analytics for insurance and assisting healthcare providers. Working in tandem with the country’s healthcare goals, the two sectors can collaborate to make public cloud adoption easier on state and national levels, and create the necessary infrastructure to bring quality healthcare to a billion+ Indians.

By Ashutosh Singh, Senior Director, Product Engineering, Optum Global Solutions

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