When we talk about cloud computing in healthcare, we’re referring to the use of remote servers to store, manage, and process healthcare data. This differs from having an on-premise data center or hosting information on a personal computer.
Instead of investing in owning, securing, and maintaining their computing services infrastructure, healthcare organizations can use cloud service providers to access a robust framework of applications and storage. The shift to the cloud is improving the way organizations manage health information, patient care, and data security.
Here, we'll explore the specific benefits of cloud computing for the behavioral healthcare industry and why it surpasses self-hosting options. We’ll also provide guidance on selecting an ideal cloud platform that sets new standards in patient engagement, human capital management, and operational efficiency.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Behavioral Health
With the increasing demand for real-time access to patient information and the pressure to improve patient outcomes (while reducing costs), healthcare organizations can now partner with technology providers to create bespoke solutions.
Behavioral health and human services (BHHS), in particular, require specialized tools to track and analyze a patient's progress over time, manage appointment schedules, and securely store sensitive patient data like therapy notes and patient histories.
Given the sometimes transient nature of care in this field where patients move between systems, providers, or levels of care, it helps to have centralized cloud technology and medical data storage where the most important healthcare information is always accessible and up-to-date. Furthermore, a cloud-based solution is pivotal for integrated care and interoperability as behavioral health and human services intersect with broader healthcare needs.
When it comes to cloud computing in healthcare, look for platforms that not only streamline operations for providers but also improve access, care, and overall mental health outcomes for patients. Let’s review some of the specific benefits that stem from healthcare cloud computing.
Enhanced Data Management, Protection, and Encryption
In the digital age, addressing security concerns and safeguarding sensitive patient information is paramount. Increasing cybersecurity threats to healthcare data and medical records present major consequences that extend much further than cost. According to a 2023 Global Healthcare Cybersecurity Study by Claroty, the numbers speak for themselves.
- 78% of survey respondents experienced at least one cybersecurity incident in the past year
- These incidents impacted various asset types, including IT systems, sensitive data, medical devices, and building management systems
Impact on Care Delivery:
- Over 60% felt a moderate to substantial impact on care delivery due to these incidents
- 15% reported severe impacts compromising patient health or safety
- Financial repercussions for most organizations ranged between $100,000 and $1,000,000
- 26% of the affected entities ended up paying ransoms
Compliance With Healthcare Regulations
Cloud providers catering to the healthcare sector are well aware of government mandates to protect patient data, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and have measures in place to ensure compliance. This keeps electronic medical records safe and ensures healthcare systems avoid potential legal and financial repercussions associated with data breaches.
Automatic Software Updates
Cloud computing solutions stay ahead of threats by continuously updating and patching their systems. With automatic updates, healthcare organizations benefit from the latest security features and performance improvements without any action on their part. This proactive approach ensures that vulnerabilities are addressed promptly, keeping systems secure and efficient.
Traditional systems require manual interventions for updates, often leading to downtime, human errors, and inconsistencies. With cloud-based solutions, these updates happen in the background, seamlessly. This means healthcare operations face minimal disruptions and IT teams can allocate their time to more pressing concerns rather than the tedious process of manual updates.
Scalability and Flexibility
One of the standout benefits of cloud computing in healthcare is scalability. Organizations can easily scale their operations up or down based on demand. Whether it's an influx of patients during a health pandemic or expanding services to new locations, cloud solutions can accommodate these changes without the need for significant infrastructure overhauls. This adaptability means that healthcare providers will always have the resources they need, when they need them, without wasting resources.
Cloud-Hosted Software as a Service vs. Self-Hosted Storage
The decision between cloud computing and self-hosting is a critical one for businesses, particularly those in data-sensitive sectors like healthcare. Let's look into the reasons why cloud computing emerges as the better choice.
Reduced IT Infrastructure Costs
When companies opt for cloud computing, they’re essentially renting space and resources in a virtual environment, eliminating the need to invest heavily in physical infrastructure. Purchasing and maintaining servers, data centers, and other related equipment can be too expensive, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises. Cloud solutions allow for a pay-as-you-go model, ensuring businesses only pay for the resources they consume, leading to substantial savings.
Minimized Need for In-House IT Staff
Running a self-hosted solution requires a dedicated team of IT professionals to manage, troubleshoot, and maintain the infrastructure. This translates to hiring costs, training expenses, and salaries. Cloud providers, on the other hand, come with their team of experts who take care of these tasks. This not only reduces the burden on organizations in terms of human resources but also ensures they have top-tier expertise at their disposal.
High Availability and Low Downtime
Downtime can significantly impact patient care. The American Hospital Association found that the impact of downtime can affect patient outcomes. These events can lead to delays in care, cancellations of appointments, and even patient deaths.
Cloud providers invest heavily in ensuring their infrastructure is redundant. This means that in the rare event of a hardware failure or other disruptions, another system immediately takes over, ensuring continuous availability. Such high levels of redundancy are expensive and complex to achieve in self-hosted setups. But with cloud computing, organizations benefit from near-constant uptime, ensuring smooth operations and optimal service delivery.
Outsourced Tech Support and Efficient Problem Resolution
With cloud adoption, technical support is part of the package. These providers have teams that operate around the clock, addressing any issues that arise. Given their expertise and familiarity with the system, they can often resolve problems faster than an in-house healthcare IT team might. Additionally, healthcare companies can avoid the overhead associated with training staff, procuring specialized tools, or staying updated with the latest technological advancements as the cloud provider handles these aspects.
With the rapid advancements of cloud computing in healthcare there has been a significant shift towards digital solutions, particularly in software as a service (SaaS). These solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and enhanced capabilities, ensuring that healthcare professionals can provide efficient and optimal care to patients.
The Growing Role of SaaS Solutions in Healthcare
Behavioral health demands digital solutions that are both efficient and secure. By partnering with ContinuumCloud, BHHS organizations can seamlessly integrate patient record management, revenue cycle management, and HR while amplifying patient engagement without the need for extensive IT infrastructure.
A Comprehensive and Interoperable Electronic Health Records (EHR) Solution
A robust EHR system is essential for modern healthcare systems. It offers real-time access to patient data, ensuring timely interventions and better patient outcomes. Moreover, with the integration of various healthcare data sources, professionals can get a more holistic view of a patient's health, leading to better diagnostic and treatment decisions.
The Latest Technology in Patient Engagement
Today, information is at our fingertips. Technology bridges the gap between healthcare professionals and patients and other stakeholders (like caregivers and alumni), enabling regular communication, patient feedback, and participation, which, in turn, boosts treatment adherence and patient satisfaction.
ContinuumCloud’s CaredFor app ensures patient engagement isn’t an afterthought. With an intuitive and comprehensive user interface, the app stands out with features that keep patients informed and involved in their healthcare journey. The CaredFor app leverages cloud technology to offer telehealth visits and automations for scheduling and appointment reminders. It also lets you provide personalized CareJourneys so that patients are always at the center of care.
Efficient Human Capital Management
The backbone of any behavioral healthcare and human services organization is its staff. Efficient human capital management (HCM) ensures that the right professionals are in the right roles, leading to optimal patient care. It also involves streamlining hiring and retention with an integrated recruitment management system.
To harness the potential of human capital in healthcare, you need innovative solutions that cater specifically to the challenges of this sector. ContinuumCloud’s platform integrates HCM, payroll, and performance management to help behavioral healthcare professionals focus on their core competencies.
Explore Better Solutions Now
Digital transformation will continue to evolve and BHHS organizations must ensure they don’t get left behind. To reap the benefits of cloud computing in healthcare, turn to SaaS solutions like those offered by ContinuumCloud. Created for behavioral health and human services, our services are paving the way for a more efficient, patient-centric, and cost-effective approach.
With a comprehensive EHR system, engaging CaredFor app, and robust human capital management software, the future of healthcare is not just digital but also more integrated and personalized. To learn more about how ContinuumCloud can help you innovate and improve the patient experience, connect with us today.