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Healthcare providers eye the cloud

Cloud allows healthcare providers across the spectrum to offer better services and care to their patients, says Richard Vester, director of Cloud Services at EOH.


Johannesburg, 14 May 2014
Read time 3min 00sec

Cloud computing technologies are transforming industries around the world, and healthcare is no different. Although subject to a different set of regulatory issues and data privacy concerns, cloud solutions are on the rise in the healthcare industry, with a recent study by research company, Markets and Markets, predicting the cloud computing healthcare market to be worth $5.4 billion by 2017.

The report adds that cloud computing can significantly benefit the healthcare industry, as various healthcare providers such as doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc, need fast access to computing and large storage facilities, which traditional computing does not offer. In addition, medical records need to be shared, across many venues and geographies, which is easily facilitated by the cloud, saving vast amounts of time, and preventing patients from having their treatments delayed.

Richard Vester, director of Cloud Services at EOH, says cloud caters to these demands and more, and allows healthcare providers across the spectrum to offer better services and care to their patients.

"The healthcare industry is constantly morphing, mainly because there are increasing demands to deliver better quality healthcare and medical services for less and less money. Healthcare is an increasingly competitive industry, and stakeholders are looking for ways to increase efficiencies and lower spending."

Vester said cloud, if implemented and used properly, can allow healthcare providers to do exactly that. "Cloud allows improved services and treatment for patients, boosted operational efficiencies for providers, and lowered costs all round."

There are several reasons for this, he explains. "Firstly, cloud allows for collaboration. Often, information is needed at the same time, by more than one healthcare provider, all in disparate locations. Cloud allows information to be synchronised and shared instantly."

Secondly, cloud solutions can be upgraded and improved far quicker than their on-premises counterparts, says Vester, and at a far lower cost. "Cloud allows organisations to have the best technologies available, at a fraction of the cost of buying these technologies outright. Cloud also ensures far quicker access to important medical records and patient information."

Mobility is another huge benefit, says Vester. "Mobile apps allow medical staff to have access to healthcare information on tap. Information and medical data is stored and backed up in the cloud, allowing healthcare practitioners to access it anytime, anywhere and from any device."

Lowering costs is also an objective for all healthcare providers. "With cloud, there is no huge capital outlay or investment. Moreover, upgrades, maintenance and suchlike are taken care of by the cloud provider, at a cost already built into the monthly fees. In this way, healthcare institutions are aware upfront of any expenses, and don't get hit by nasty surprises should the technologies fail in any way."

Vester says although there were security concerns when cloud was in its infancy, security should not be the issue it was a few years ago. "Finding the right partner, who has the necessary security protocols and measures in place, should allay all but the most alarmist fears. A little due diligence and asking the right questions of a potential provider will ensure that your information is safe and secure."

EOH

EOH is one of the largest technology and knowledge services providers in South Africa and provides the technology, knowledge, skills and organisational ability critical to Africa's development and growth. EOH's 6 000 staff members deliver high value, end-to-end enterprise applications solutions, a wide range of outsourcing, network solutions, managed services and business service offerings to customers across all major industries.

EOH is the largest BEE implementer of enterprise applications constantly exceeding customer expectations.

EOH Cloud Services offers fully managed end-to-end, hybrid cloud infrastructure as well as national and global MPLS VPN solutions, voice, metro Ethernet fibre and wireless access, data centre services and a range of Internet and last-mile access solutions.

For more information, visit: www.eohcloud.co.za.

Editorial contacts
Exposure Mia Andric (+27) 82 564 0087 mia@exposureunlimited.net
EOH Cloud Services Richard Vester (+27) 11 266 4000 Richard.Vester@eoh.co.za
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