The American Medical Association (AMA) reports cloud computing experts say health care will soon follow other industries in assimilating cloud-based computing to store and maintain patient records and claims, citing cost and speed benefits.
This means that health and claim information will be stored on designated sites on Internet, where it can be more easily accessible, organized, and shared with a patient's other caregivers than if stored in a physical computer server in an office. For physician offices adopting electronic health records (EHR), this means savings as far as hardware, but it raises specters of personal health information (PHI) breaches, requiring vendors to develop sophisticated security mechanisms.
The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) concept will drive data-sharing on the cloud, the article said, as providers seek information to coordinate patients' care. Industry analysts predict providers will turn to hand-held devices to access and document patient information.
AMA said a July projection by Dallas-based consulting and forecasting firm MarketsandMarkets quantified the expected growth, predicting the global health care cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion in 2017, up from $1.8 billion in 2011. Health system reform and payment changes are part of what will drive that growth.
“Health care organizations are expected to deliver more while limiting health care costs at the same time,” the report said. “Despite this, a few factors restrain the growth of this market, with security and privacy concerns being the primary reasons for slow adoption of this technology.
Other analysts and vendors who work in and are closely tracking cloud computing said they also expect rapid growth in cloud computing in health care. Some organizations are not waiting. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in February that UnitedHealth Group's Optum division was developing a cloud environment for storage and management of claims with IBM and other computer and software companies. See UHG Launches Health Care Data Through Cloud for more information.
Tags: Practice Management