Cloud computing technology has become a vital tool for the healthcare industry everywhere. Electronic Health Records (EHR), analytics and imaging systems are few areas that have been successful by using cloud technology. Medical device companies are encouraging its adoption. For example, Johnson and Johnson (J&J), a reputed medical device company, targets to run 85% of its applications in cloud systems by 2018 due to its wider applications in medical imaging systems.
Cloud computing is an on-demand subscription based infrastructure which makes flexible computing resources accessible for healthcare professionals from any location. Cloud computing technology can aid healthcare physicians to provide better advice, analyze, store and transfer the patient’s data, and discuss with patients the best practices of treatment in order to deliver high quality healthcare. Patient monitoring devices, such as Electrocardiogram (ECG), Electroencephalogram (EEG) and pulse oximeter, can be connected to cloud, to observe and monitor patients on a regular basis.
Cloud technology allows a physician in one location to consult or seek guidance from an expert in another location through data transfer. Patients with chronic ailments such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes need constant medical attention, which can be achieved by using cloud technology. Varian, a leading company that offers various types of advanced radiation treatment systems for cancer, has developed a cloud community called ‘Oncopeer’ wherein it provides an opportunity for its customers to publish and share data, exchange treatment techniques and discuss best practices to broaden its professional oncology network.
With the help of cloud technology, industry leaders look for an efficient cost management. Medical imaging cases are growing at a rate of 3% to 5% annually. Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CT/MRI) cases are growing rapidly with an increasing demand for internal data storage requirements at a rate of 10% to 25% annually. Additionally, there is a global trend for cost cutting, which makes the healthcare industry leaders fret about the additional expenditure incurred on frequent installation and update of hardware/software systems. The healthcare industry can develop a cloud computing technology, which will minimize repetitive installation and update of hardware/software, resulting in cost saving. In cases where the hospital premises needs to be shifted, storage and loss of medical data becomes less of an issue.
To advantage medical device manufacturers, cloud computing offers services in administrative areas such as inventory and workforce management, sales optimization, revenue and order tracking, and quality checks. Terumo Medical Corporation, with the help of Esker’s cloud based automation system, has created an effective and faster customer order processing system. However, technical and security issues, lack of awareness and legal issues can hinder its adoption and utility in the medical device industry.