The Future of Healthcare Is Cloud Connected
It’s no secret that the world is going cloud native. In other words, a great deal of the applications that we use on a day-to-day basis were developed to be deployed on the cloud. The new modus operandi of virtualization, containerization, and orchestration (typically using Kubernetes), can and will continue to affect every industry that deploys business-critical applications. In fact, Gartner estimates that by 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, compared to 30% in 2021.
One industry that stands to change the most in this period of digital transformation is healthcare. The healthcare industry can benefit greatly from cloud connectivity because of the vast amounts of data it produces via patient records, medical devices and more.
But what does it mean exactly to bring cloud connectivity to healthcare? Literally, it is to connect, synthesize, and analyze all types of health-related data within the cloud — and then to deliver it instantly, as needed, to the provider or the consumer. Connecting to the cloud can increase efficiency, enhance privacy, reduce costs, and perhaps most importantly, enable lifesaving services. The importance of cloud computing in healthcare is highlighted by the fact that the global cloud computing market for the healthcare industry is growing by 20% a year.
Below, I have compiled a list of five key ways that cloud computing is creating better healthcare.
- Remote Surgery Performed Around the World: Until recently, the medical community was hesitant about operating on patients remotely using robotics. What if network latency prevents the operation from going as planned? Fortunately, with the new 5G cloud technologies that provide hyper-low latency, telesurgery can now be a feasible option. Instant signal transmission and VR advancements can enable surgeons to operate safely across the world. Already today, doctors can remotely perform procedures on patients who live thousands of miles away. Now patients who live in remote areas can have access to the same medical care as those who live in a city. Countless lives can be saved by bringing this technology to parts of the world that are underserved medically.
- Smart Ambulances Provide Treatment En Route: Countless lives are lost while in transit between the home and the hospital in an ambulance. Smart ambulance technology, as enabled by the cloud-based applications, would reduce these casualties. EMTs would be able to communicate with ER doctors in real-time, use VR technology to transmit patient information, and administer treatments accordingly.
- IoT Connected Medical Devices React Instantly: IoT-connected medical devices, such as monitoring devices for glucose levels, heart rate, and Parkinson’s, have revolutionized personal medical care. These instruments are able to track patients’ health 24/7 and react instantaneously to any issue. If someone is in need of an ambulance, these devices will be able to react more quickly and efficiently than any human. How do these devices achieve this? They are constantly sending the patient’s data to the cloud, where the information is stored and connected to the relevant medical professionals.
- Electronic Patient Records Improve Medical Practice: It is simple for healthcare centers to store their patient data in the cloud rather than on-premises and thus these records become part of a shared virtual network. Doctors are able to see the complete medical history of each patient, even if they have not previously treated them.
- Preventing Global Health Crises with De-identified Data: Now that medical records are being stored digitally, rather than on paper, data can be simply anonymized and then analyzed. Cloud computing allows for these vast amounts of data to be compiled and then used to create algorithms that can do amazing things. These algorithms can learn to diagnose illnesses, or track epidemiological trends to assess the current public health threats. Hopefully, experts tracking such data can recognize trends and take appropriate measures before we face another global pandemic.
As you can see, bringing the cloud to the realm of healthcare has enormous potential. The compute power of cloud native applications run by Kubernetes can open up amazing new possibilities for the healthcare industry in the ways that are described above and more. The many evolving, smart and innovative solutions that use the cloud have the power to not only reform the healthcare system, but to also save human life.