Benefits of cloud storage in healthcare

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Using cloud storage, healthcare organizations store, manage, and access patient data from anywhere with an internet connection. You facilitate collaboration among care teams and enhance data security and compliance with regulatory requirements, while also enabling the adoption of advanced analytics and telemedicine technologies to improve patient outcomes and streamline healthcare delivery. 

In this blog, we break down all the benefits of cloud storage in healthcare.

What is cloud storage in healthcare?

Cloud storage in the healthcare industry refers to the secure and scalable storage of patient records, medical images, clinical data, and other healthcare-related information on remote servers managed by cloud service providers.

With the increasing digitalization of medical services, the healthcare data storage market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% during the 2024-2032 period — with the cloud considered the backbone of healthcare data management.

Explore the top benefits of digital transformation in healthcare.

Top use cases of healthcare cloud storage

Eight out of 10 health services executives responded to a PwC survey saying their organizations have already adopted the cloud. Here are the top healthcare cloud use cases:

  • Storing personally identifiable information and patient health information, including medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory test results 
  • Archiving data collected during clinical trials, observational studies, and epidemiological research to support evidence-based medicine, drug development, and public health initiatives
  • Facilitating the secure data exchange between healthcare providers, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, and other entities involved in patient care
  • Aggregating and analyzing data from diverse sources to monitor the health status of populations, identify disparities, and design targeted interventions for disease prevention and health promotion
  • Storing data generated from remote patient monitoring devices, wearable sensors, and telemedicine consultations to track vital signs, symptoms, and treatment adherence outside traditional healthcare settings
  • Implementing backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure the availability and integrity of healthcare data in the event of natural disasters, cyber threats, system failures, or other emergencies, as a way to ensure the continuity of patient care
  • Enabling patients to access and manage their health records through portals and mobile health applications
  • Ensuring compliance with healthcare data privacy and security regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

What you gain with cloud technology in healthcare

The benefits of cloud technology in healthcare go from enhanced data accessibility to improved quality of care. Let’s take a look.

Top benefits of healthcare cloud storage

1. Enhanced data accessibility and availability

Uploading health records, patient history, test results, and other diagnostic findings into the cloud means that members of the care team can act on the latest information. Fast and easy access to important medical information — from any location with an internet connection — streamlines diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. You coordinate care more effectively and provide timely interventions. Plus, you don’t need to rely on patients to provide information on their medical history. 

2. Simplified healthcare collaboration 

Having data across disparate systems and formats creates silos and hinders collaboration. With the cloud, a physician could easily and securely transfer a patient’s medical history and exams to a specialist. This way, specialists have access to all relevant information to make informed decisions — without the need for the patient to repeat diagnostic tests, for example.

3. Opportunities for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring

During virtual consultations, healthcare providers need easy access to patient records, diagnostic images, and other medical data. Cloud storage allows healthcare organizations to securely store this information in centralized repositories accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.  

The cloud also enables remote patient monitoring. Wearable sensors or home monitoring kits collect and transmit health data — vital signs, glucose levels, and more — to cloud servers in real time. Abnormal readings generate alerts, allowing timely interventions and proactive care management. 

4. Unlimited healthcare data storage

The cloud offers scalability, which means you can expand storage capacity as your demand grows. This is particularly crucial for X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds, which generate vast amounts of data due to the high resolution of medical images.

5. Reduced storage costs

Healthcare organizations often experience fluctuating data volumes due to fluctuations in things like patient admissions, diagnostic tests, and medical records. 

With traditional on-prem storage, you need to predict your requirements accurately and invest in sufficient hardware and infrastructure upfront to handle peak volumes. This approach often leads to overprovisioning, where resources remain underutilized during periods of low demand, resulting in wasted capacity and higher costs. 

With cloud data storage in healthcare, you don’t need hardware upgrades. Instead, you scale resources up or down dynamically based on actual usage, minimizing operational overhead.  

Learn how scalable cloud data storage enables business growth.

6. Improved data security and compliance

An Armis survey reveals that breaches resulting in the loss of confidential patient data, followed by cyberattacks on hospital operations, are the top concerns of healthcare IT professionals. Hospitals and medical centers deal with sensitive data — for example, medical and payment information — and, for this reason, are subject to stringent regulations to ensure privacy. For example:

  • HIPAA sets requirements to secure protected health information (PHI)
  • PCI DSS ensures that all companies that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information protect sensitive cardholder data from breaches and unauthorized access

Cloud storage providers offer advanced security measures, including encryption, access controls, and audit trails, to ensure compliance with these regulations while maintaining data integrity and confidentiality. Case in point: 84% of healthcare professionals say it became easier to maintain compliance after their organizations migrated to the cloud. 

When choosing a healthcare cloud provider, make sure to check their list of security compliance certifications

Statistics suggesting that cloud adoption makes it easier to meet healthcare compliance requirements

7. Streamlined disaster recovery and continuity of patient care

Data leakage or loss can have a direct impact on the quality of care. If a medical provider loses patient records, it might not be able to administer proper treatment. Without access to their databases, hospitals might have to shut down entire operations. 

Cloud storage platforms often have built-in data lifecycle management capabilities. In the event of a failure or outage in one data center, you can enhance availability and resilience with:

  • Failover mechanisms, whichautomatically redirect traffic and requests to alternative, functioning data centers 
  • Redundancy mechanisms, which ensure that there are redundant copies of the data stored across multiple geographically distributed data centers

8. Advanced analytics and AI tools

US healthcare organizations expect 38% of their employees will use AI-powered tools by 2028. But for a successful AI adoption, you need a comprehensive data strategy. 

With the cloud, you first get a centralized infrastructure to store, organize, and secure the massive amount of data that your healthcare organization generates, from lab reports and medical imaging to medical notes and discharge summaries. And with AI, you gain actionable insights from all this healthcare data to identify patterns, make correlations, accelerate diagnosis, and personalize treatments.

Store healthcare data in the cloud with Box

Box is a HIPAA-compliant cloud platform that can help you improve your healthcare content workflows. 

With the Content Cloud, you store, secure, and manage your healthcare data from one single location. You easily collaborate on patient care without compromising security and compliance.

Doctors can access critical patient records, while patients e-sign forms on the go. All protected health information stored in Box is secured in compliance with HIPAA and other regulations. You also benefit from data encryption, granular access control, audit trails, threat detection, and more. 

Contact us and start enjoying all the benefits of cloud storage in healthcare with Box.

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**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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