Lifting the barriers to the use of cloud computing in healthcare
The cloud has a huge potential to modernise healthcare delivery, increase efficiency and contain costs by pooling resources. However, significant barriers need to be lifted before the cloud can realize its full potential in the healthcare domain:
• Establish trust and confidence: Highly publicised data breaches have created disproportionate fears about security in the cloud. However cloud-based defenses can be more robust, scalable and cost-effective than in-house security solutions. In addition, many security measures are cheaper when implemented on a large scale. Public authorities and healthcare providers should weigh the risks and benefits of the cloud to reassure users about security in the cloud.
• Adapt business models to innovative cloud solutions. Many procurement policies favor capital investment, hence restraining the funding available for cloud. While the cloud present many demonstrable benefits, its adoption and implementation is lengthy for a variety of reasons: its requires change management, new business models, an initial roll-out cost and time to put new processes in place. Public authorities have a role to play in supporting this initial effort, notably through smart public procurement policies.
• Foster standardization and interoperability: Information systems built on common standards and on open access technologies are easier to move to the cloud than disparate systems build on proprietary technology. Public authorities should support market-driven standardization initiatives and encourage their referencing in public tendering.
• Clarify the legal framework: New liabilities for cloud service providers as data processors as proposed by the draft data protection Regulation, create confusion on responsibilities and create additional burden on cloud providers, especially on SMEs. A clear and sensible approach is needed, as per the current division of roles.