Traditionally, hospitals and healthcare providers haven’t been quick to adopt cloud-based technology – mostly due to concerns with security. But with the recent rise in cloud electronic health records (EHR) systems, along with other tech changes, more healthcare professionals are embracing it.
The survey, conducted by cloud tech provider SADA Systems, asked hundreds of healthcare IT pros about whether their organizations were taking advantage of cloud technology and, if so, in what capacity.
Advantages to cloud apps
The vast majority of those surveyed (89%) are currently using cloud-based apps in their hospitals, and the apps have boosted performance at their facilities. Out of all IT professionals working with cloud apps, 56% said the apps are improving patient satisfaction and 55% said they led to better treatment.
In addition, 64% noticed improvement in productivity and efficiency in their organizations (for both patients and staff) due to the apps, while 54% believed cloud apps and tools are helping their facilities deliver faster care.
Not only are cloud apps helping with care delivery, they’re also integral for IT’s efforts behind the scenes. Over one-third of those surveyed (35%) said cloud technology helps them better support hospital patients and staff, and 23% said it gives them greater control over the organization’s use of software and hardware.
Also, about half (51%) indicated that cloud apps help them be more innovative, and 17% said cloud tools help them deliver products and services faster.
The types of apps used by healthcare IT pros vary. Respondents use cloud apps most often for email access (68%), followed by apps designed for patient care (64%) and file sharing (55%). Most are using between six and 10 different cloud apps on a regular basis.
Keeping data secure
Advances in cloud technology have eased many healthcare IT pros’ former concerns about security.
According to the survey, out of all IT pros who plan to increase their healthcare organization’s use of cloud infrastructure within two years, 61% said they were making the move because they have more confidence in the security of the cloud.
With all the recent focus on preventing data breaches, security is top of mind for most hospitals. And although close to half of respondents had experienced some sort of data breach or patient privacy issue, fewer than 10% said the problem was caused by storing data in the cloud. (Previous research suggests, most breaches were caused by employee mistakes or lost devices.)
Improvements to cloud technology have also contributed to more widespread use of mobile devices in hospitals, which means staff aren’t always tethered to a desktop computer. Laptops (88%), tablets (80%) and smartphones (77%) are the top devices used in hospitals right now.
However, wearable devices are growing more popular – close to a quarter of those surveyed (24%) are using these tools on a regular basis in their organization.
Many patients are also using their own personal wearable devices to track their general health and vital signs, so it’s good to have IT pros on staff who are experienced with this technology and can help providers integrate this information into patient treatment.
It’s likely that cloud technology and apps will only become more significant as hospitals work on boosting their quality of care. With that in mind, facilities need to make sure their IT infrastructure can take advantage of these developments so they can keep up with their peers – and reap the benefits.