Healthcare applications in the cloud


Rolf Suurmond

Cloud computing may help streamline data processes in a range of industries, but it also presents challenges for intellectual property rights holders, says Rolf Suurmond.

Healthcare is a field that has undergone great technical development over time. For example, radiology departments have progressed from acquiring and reviewing X-ray images on film into a fully digital imaging environment.

Electronic medical records are replacing paper-based patient records, to improve administrative efficiency and make patient information instantly available to authorised healthcare personnel without geographic limitations. Having the information available in digital form also means that data can be communicated quickly and cost-efficiently.

Nationwide electronic health record systems also use distribution servers outside the local hospital network. This generally means outsourcing data storage and data processing to third party organisations which operate hardware in data centres that are not under the control of the healthcare organisation. Such a trend is also prominent in consumer products, such as the email and mapping applications provided by Google and other companies.

cloud computing, healthcare