Providing treatment and ensuring human well-being are the main goals of every hospital or healthcare provider. For this reason, it comes as no surprise to know that the healthcare sector has always attracted global attention. Especially in the last two years, the industry has been put at the center of confronting COVID-19. In the event of World Health Day taking place on April 7th, 2022, WHO called for urgent actions to “keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.”
Even before the pandemic, the healthcare system faced numerous challenges such as cybersecurity, rising healthcare costs, regulatory changes, poor experience, and a shortage of skilled workforce. The appearance of COVID-19 only exacerbated these issues. Hybrid cloud computing has thus become a popular solution for hospitals and healthcare providers to address these issues.
What is hybrid cloud computing? How can it help revolutionize the healthcare sector? This article will address these questions.
Three Types of Cloud Computing
According to Microsoft Azure, cloud computing is “the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.” Rather than keeping them on a local storage device or hard drive, cloud computing enables storing, accessing, and running of these computing resources whenever having Internet access.
There are three types of cloud computing: private, public, and hybrid. Each has its own pros and cons.
- Private clouds, also known as internal clouds, are specifically designed for a company. It can either be provided over the Internet or via a company’s private network. Companies using private clouds don’t want to share their resources with other users. Hence, this computing service is suitable for delivering higher levels of security and privacy.
- Public clouds are different from private clouds since it is only accessible through the Internet. Famous public cloud providers’ examples are Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). This type can help companies save costs efficiently because it requires little-to-no maintenance. In addition, many cloud providers offer free resources while others sell on demand. The resources, however, are available to the public via the Internet, which can raise security concerns.
- Hybrid clouds are a combination of both private and public clouds. For more information about hybrid cloud, continue reading the next section.
What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?
Hybrid cloud computing is an approach in which computing resources are deployed in different environments. Some of them are run locally while others are deployed remotely. Besides, some seamlessly move between the two. This approach is widespread for hospitals and healthcare providers because it enables them to leverage the advantages of both public and private clouds for different purposes.
How Can Hybrid Cloud Computing Help Revolutionize the HealthCare Sector?
When it comes to the healthcare sector, the adoption of new technologies is not only about accelerating digital transformation. The main focus is on delivering better personal care, reducing costs, solving a shortage of skilled workforce, ensuring cyber security, and adapting to regulatory changes. In this section, let’s learn about how hybrid cloud computing can transform hospitals and healthcare providers in different aspects.
Provide Timely Treatment Solutions
Collaboration is one of the vital factors that contribute to successful problem-solving. It helps to leverage innovative ideas, practical skills, and valuable experiences. This factor has become more influential in healthcare as it establishes accurate diagnosis and treatment. In unique or urgent cases, medical staff may need to consult their colleagues to discuss and find the best solutions.
In such circumstances, the patient data needs to be transferred in real-time. Hybrid cloud computing can overcome this challenge by providing remote access and accelerating the exchange of information through the healthcare system. As a result, medical staff can enjoy 24/7 access, get insights, and deliver responsive treatment no matter where they are.
Diagnose Possible Future Diseases
Every minute, a mass of healthcare data is generated, for example, patients’ personal information, medical records, results of medical examinations, hospital medical research, etc. These resources are considered priceless assets that can be mined for valuable insights.
Hybrid cloud computing can offer hospitals and healthcare providers unrestricted storage for an exponential amount of data. Besides, artificial intelligence and machine learning can ensure the smooth process of massive data sets and enhance the quality of medical research. As a result, it can pave the way to diagnosing the risk of possible future diseases. Thanks to that, patients can receive treatment at an early stage.
Every day, a large amount of healthcare data is collected. With cloud computing, paper documents, external drives, and hardware are no longer needed. By eliminating these traditional storage methods, companies can save a lot of expenses.
Furthermore, companies can enhance cost-efficiency by leveraging both public and private clouds. They can use public clouds for computing resources without high-security requirements. Only use private clouds for sensitive data requiring a higher level of security. By doing so, companies can avoid overpaying for expensive services and only pay for the computing resources they actually use.
Solve Skilled Workforce Shortages
The demand for healthcare staff is growing. However, WHO predicted a shortage of 18 million health workers in 2030. After more than two years of excessive workload due to COVID-19, the challenge of a healthcare skilled workforce shortage has been exacerbated. Many healthcare staff are experiencing burnout and considering leaving their role.
Hybrid cloud computing can help prevent burnout in healthcare by providing medical staff with life-saving information. It enhances the ability to exchange data between disparate systems. As a result, medical staff can quickly understand patients’ critical insights. Their workload is significantly decreased.
Ensure Cybersecurity and Adapt to Regulatory Changes
In the process of digital transformation, there is a common challenge that all industries have to face. That is data breaches and other types of cybercrimes. That’s why client information security has always been a top concern of not only institutions but also lawmakers. This issues a considerable challenge for hospitals and healthcare providers as they always need to be up-to-date with regulatory changes.
Fortunately, the structure of hybrid cloud computing can ensure cybersecurity and adapt to ever-changing government regulations. If a healthcare provider adopts this structure, a large amount of their computing resources is stored in public servers. Meanwhile, sensitive data like patient personal information is kept in the private clouds.
For hospitals or healthcare providers dealing with big data processing, poor patient and staff experiences, rising costs, security attacks, and ever-changing regulations, hybrid cloud computing is an effective and affordable solution. According to Cheryl Rodenfels, a Healthcare Strategist at Nutanix:
“While IT leaders agree that hybrid cloud is a key enabler of this transformation, healthcare organizations need to identify IT solutions to help them on this journey, from investing in HCI-powered private clouds, to finding ways to effectively bridge their private and public cloud environments while keeping security and cost top of mind.”