Cloud computing is gaining as the IT foundation for an evolving healthcare industry.

The healthcare industry is undergoing a significant transformation, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (upheld again today, this time in a 6-3 Supreme Court decision). There are also ongoing pressures to reduce cost. All of this is forcing healthcare companies to rethink their business models and supporting IT systems, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. The findings are part of Frost & Sullivan’s report, “The Future of IT in the Healthcare Industry in North America, Latin America, and Europe.”

According to the research firm, healthcare reform is shifting the industry’s traditional business model of volume to one of value, as companies focus more on outcomes and value-based payments and less on procedures and fee-for-service payments. This shift opens the door for technologies like big data and analytics that enable better use and sharing of patient information. That, in turn, helps deliver a greater continuum of care via solutions like mobile apps that give patients access to their information and also let them make appointments and remotely communicate with doctors and nurses, the report states.

Cloud computing can provide the optimal foundation. According to Tonya Fowler, Frost & Sullivan’s program director of customer research who authored the report, the amount of big data that needs to be shared to provide better and more cost-effective care and the need to communicate with people in dispersed locations are best handled in the cloud. “The capacity, flexibility, and pricing models offered by cloud providers are resonating with the healthcare industry,” she said in the report.

The study also notes that the adoption of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant cloud solutions for data storage and archiving is on the rise, as are cloud applications that support collaboration and anytime, anywhere, and any device computing.

Frost & Sullivan isn’t the only research firm noting the healthcare industry’s increased interest in cloud computing to foster data integration, improve decision-making, and more effectively manage increased amounts of data. In a new TechNavio research report, it’s estimated that the global healthcare cloud computing market will grow at a compounded annual rate of 21.95 percent from 2014 to 2019.

  1. I recently talked with a prescription drug benefits company that is using big data to help it better manage medication adherence. The better this company can understand about patients at the greatest risk of not only taking their meds but also experiencing a negative outcome because of that, the better it can be in developing and delivering outreach that focuses on each individual patient. Talk about big data to deliver value, rather than volume!

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