All around the world, particularly due to the pandemic, the healthcare industry has underdone huge bouts of digital transformation. COVID-19 had a major disruptive effect on the way that the sector delivers care – with a huge boom in telehealth, and a renewed urgency among healthcare institutes to modernize their operations. We spoke about this with TechQuarters, a London IT company with experience providing business IT support London-based healthcare institutes use. In particular, we asked them about hybrid clouds, their relevance to healthcare, and what kind of security is necessary for them.
The Challenge of Health-Technology Integration
Thanks to the increasing integration of technology with the healthcare industry, there have been some impressive advancements in the capacity to deliver care to patients. But like with any kind of new ground that gets broken, there are challenges that come with integrating new technology with healthcare.
As healthcare institutes modernize some areas of their business, other areas remain stubbornly outdated. According to TechQuarters, mixing modern and legacy systems and solutions can lead to inconsistencies in security for organisations; so, it is important that institutes looking to modernize ensure that they undergo full digital transformation, rather than simply digitizing some aspects or their operations, while leaving others be. This is where hybrid clouds come in.
What is a Hybrid Cloud?
Most people know what the cloud is now – it’s a network model that relies on distributed datacentres, allowing for centralised resources that are not tethered to a specific location. The flexibility of cloud computing has been ground-breaking for many sectors, and cloud security has come a long way. There are three main types of cloud environment: Public, Private, and Hybrid.
An example of a public cloud would be Microsoft Azure; they are normally large, with a global network of datacentres supporting them, and businesses pay to access them and built their own environments in them. Them, you have private clouds, which is where an organisation builds their own cloud to host their environment – paying for all the hardware, software and setup themselves.
When organisations create a cloud environment that comprises of both public and private clouds, it is know as a hybrid cloud.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Infrastructures for Healthcare
There are many great benefits with hybrid cloud infrastructures, which apply to any type of organisation. For example organisations get all the benefits of both public and private clouds, and can distribute their workloads between the two clouds based on how they fit – in other words, there is much less compromise with hybrid cloud environments, compared with just picking one type. In terms of benefits within the healthcare sector, there are plenty of those, too – including…
Heightened Data Control – Considering the data governance requirements of healthcare institutes, it is hugely beneficial to keep certain data and processes ‘in-house’ by hosting them in the private component of the hybrid cloud infrastructure.
System Integration – In general, the cloud is great for linking different systems together; so, for hospitals, which use a diverse array of systems and solutions, they can achieve greater integration between their digital resources.
Organisational Collaboration – Some healthcare establishments may have the resources to perform some types of care, but also work together with other institutes to ensure their patients can access other types of care. In these situations, cloud platforms that link different establishments together, allowing for easier (and more secure) sharing of information and workflows can help to improve the patient experience.
Cybersecurity – Security is a high priority for all businesses, but none more so than with healthcare. According to TechQuarters, in all the time they have been providing IT support healthcare institutes use, support for security has consistently been the top demand from their clients in the sector.