The Covid-19 pandemic has subjected the healthcare sector to an unprecedented strain. While every healthcare worker deserves all the praise on earth for fighting the stealthy and deadly novel Corona Virus, the situation is not looking good in the immediate perspective.
Firstly, the number of infected people has crossed the projected and planned number of patients in most countries in general and the USA in particular. In these testing times, Cloud based telehealth solution can prove to be a very effective and safe solution.
However, there are many dimensions to this issue and most are intertwined with the other, from an operational as well as regulatory standpoint. In this post, we will highlight some of the dimensions of this issue and how cloud computing fits in the overall picture.
Cloud Computing and Telehealth
Inherently, cloud computing solutions are ideal for telehealth for a number of reasons. Firstly, the cloud is instantly scalable and what better use of this capability than the crisis that has erupted in the form of a global pandemic.
Presently, in addition to the thousands of patients already receiving treatment for Covid-19, there is a far greater number who need medical assistance to ascertain whether they are infected and if so, to what extent.
This is where cloud based telehealth can play a very pivotal role. A person who suspects having contracted the virus can seek an expert’s opinion from the safety of the home. This will also reduce the risk for healthcare providers due to a virtual interaction.
Another key advantage of cloud based telehealth in this crisis is that the patient load can be kept under manageable levels by providing necessary medical assistance to low or mildly affected patients right at their homes, instead of hospitals.
Lack of Implementation
Healthcare IT News reported in a 2019 survey that 53% of healthcare providers surely identified cloud computing as a strategic priority, but a handful 7% of those organizations ultimately end up developing and implementing a strategy.
This wide disparity between vision and implementation speaks volumes about the failure on the part of healthcare and telemedicine providers to convert vision into reality. A global pandemic hampers your ability to implement such plans due to a number of factors.
Acclimatizing With Telehealth
However, one major challenge that has been observed is that both doctors and patients are not fully prepared for this relatively new environment. At one end of the chain are doctors who have not yet fully come to terms with seeing patients over Skype or similar tools.
On the other side of the spectrum are patients who either do not know how to use telehealth platforms or do not feel all that satisfied as the medical assistance has been provided remotely. A lot needs to be done to overcome hesitation on both ends.
Compensation of Telehealth Providers
It was lately observed that the compensation mechanism for in hospital doctors and ones who provided telehealth services was severely disproportionate. To encourage and proliferate the use of cloud-based telehealth, this anomaly needs to be removed.
Electronic Health Records
Medicine is a highly regulated sector all across the globe as human lives are involved. One more factor that has so far impeded the growth of cloud powered telehealth services is that telehealth medical records have not caught up and there are still issue to address.
This impediment can only be removed once all the medical records are fully converted into digital or electronic form and each patient’s medical record is centralized or consolidation. This will put the telehealth provider in a much better position to offer medical advice.
Safety of Medical Records
Perhaps this is the most crucial aspect to bring cloud based telemedicine in the mainstream. Healthcare is one of the most highly regulated sectors due to the very personal and sensitive nature of medical records.
To provide effective telehealth services over the cloud, medical records will also have to be made accessible over the cloud. This will expose sensitive medical records to cyber attacks and other online vulnerabilities.
In order to secure sensitive medical records over the cloud, telehealth providers will have to invest heavily in all encompassing cyber security solutions that include but are not limited to firewalls, encryption, intrusion detection and prevention.
Also Read: 12 Vital Considerations for a DaaS Solution
The Covid-19 pandemic should form a foundation stone for bringing cloud based telehealth services to the mainstream. This will result in immense facilitation for millions of patients that can fully receive medical advice from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Lastly, a cloud powered telehealth system will extend the scope of quality healthcare to millions of patients worldwide that are currently being deprived due to the sheer burden on healthcare systems all across the globe.