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Health IT viewpoints: The cloud is the future

February 19, 2016
Rasu Shrestha
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Health care is exploding at the seams with data, spilling outside the traditional four walls of the hospital and impacting the entire health care ecosystem. Industry consolidation and cost pressures are squeezing margins and pushing providers to find innovative, data-driven and cost-effective solutions. In this challenging environment, health care leaders are joining with software developers to explore a new, much larger space: the cloud.

Information overload
The exponential growth of data in recent years impacts health care as much, or more than, other areas of life. The complexities inside hospitals have increased as radiologists and clinicians have shifted from manila folders, traditional film and analog data to computerized imaging data sets, complex algorithms, pre and post-processing requirements and increasingly distributed needs.

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Data management becomes even more complex as we look to manage various data types, such as video and 3-D imaging, PDFs and wave forms. Together, these intricate data sets combine to create upwards of 2.5 exabytes of data globally, every day.1 As we look to the future with genomic, next generation sequencing and live-streaming data, it’s expected that health care will see data grow even more — up to 50 times by 2020.2

This data deluge is making radiologists, clinicians and other health care professionals rethink the way they interact with patients and patient information. The rationale behind this is clear, as recent survey data show that up to 35 percent of patient cases are under- or misdiagnosed in part due to a lack of access to images, data and records. This makes improving health care data management and analytics an imperative.

The health care industry — radiology departments specifically — is data rich, and insight poor. Everyone is searching for ways to convert the data pools available at their fingertips into meaningful, actionable insights. Cloud computing will offer health care systems and radiology departments of the future the tools they need to manage data much more intelligently.

Evren Eryurek

Why the cloud matters
One of the greatest challenges health care systems face today is connecting the dots between disparate data to derive meaningful insights. The cloud can help answer this challenge — essentially freeing data from its traditional silos of machines, hospital departments and physically separate locations.

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