In June 2016, COCIR published the new paper Leveraging Cloud Computing For Healthcare.
Cloud computing is internet-based computing, where shared servers provide computing power, storage, development platforms or software to computers and other devices on demand. This frequently takes the form of cloud services, such as ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS), ‘Platform as a Service (PaaS)’ or ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS). Users can access web-based tools or applications through a web browser or via a cloud-based resource like storage or computer power as if they were installed locally, eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computers and simplifying maintenance and support.
There are several possible deployment models for clouds, the most important being public, private and hybrid.
WHAT IS A PUBLIC CLOUD?
A public cloud is one in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the internet, for maximum cost-efficiency, resilience and elasticity.
WHAT IS A PRIVATE CLOUD?
Private cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single organisation. The resources have all the key characteristics of the public cloud (see above) but are dedicated to one single organisation, giving it more control over security and access, and the ability to tailor/customise characteristics offered by public cloud.
WHAT IS A HYBRID CLOUD?
Hybrid cloud infrastructure combines the first two approaches, with sensitive applications and data in a private cloud and more generic systems and processes in a public cloud.
Although considered a recent technology, cloud computing has been with us since the mid-90s.
Hotmail is an example where data was stored and interacted with through a device. iTunes is another example where the internet became a new business model allowing the music industry to radically cut back its need for factories, land, materials and, more importantly, costs. This last example also demonstrates how an industry became more efficient thanks to cloud computing. Access to music became instant and ubiquitous, opportunities for the industry to collaborate increased, “green” initiatives became more effectively supported and geographical markets were bridged at an accelerated pace.
Cloud computing offers similar benefits for the health industry, driving down costs, making administrative processes leaner and more efficient, reducing the time needed for patients to interact with health workers and providing increased access for patients to their health records. The cloud model also offers benefits specific to the health industry. It will allow healthcare companies, researchers and healthcare workers to share expertise, advance research through online collaboration and visualise, through geographic mapping, where problems are located, evaluate trends and health risks, and identify regions or municipalities not receiving satisfactory care.