With Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption having achieved critical mass over the past decade, healthcare CIOs are eager yet cautious in leveraging the cloud stack to modernize their digital investments. Digital delivery models are often best served on the cloud because of its inherent strengths in provisioning HIPAA compliant, scalable and agile platforms for IT infrastructure and operations. On the app side of things, healthcare IT is evolving with 24/7 availability and personalized models of patient engagement systems and precision health platforms. Consumers are now more involved in managing their own healthcare outcomes and have come to expect self-service digital channels for information and workflows pertaining to diagnosis, medical procedures and treatments.

A key component with healthcare cloud solutions is maintaining HIPAA compliance where electronic protected health information (ePHI) is involved. A recent HealthTech Magazine article stated that while HIPAA rules “may have been originally written before the realities of application programming interfaces and cloud computing, that does not mean that HIPAA cannot accommodate new technological developments.” HHS is regularly updating its guidelines on helping enterprises understand their responsibilities when storing or processing ePHI on the cloud. The HIPAA compliance controls guidelines published by the major Cloud Service Providers (CSP) lay out the framework to implement security, privacy, disaster preparedness and breach notification controls on the cloud. The diverse ecosystem of tech service providers on the cloud platforms catering to Compliance as a Service is often a key reason healthcare CIOs are now making the decision to move resources onto cloud platforms.

Cloud computing is changing the way healthcare providers – doctors, clinics and hospitals – deliver quality, affordable services to their patients at the point of care. A significant player in this vertical is Salesforce Health Cloud, a customer relationship management (CRM) system that incorporates vital doctor-patient relationship information and record management services. Data from multiple sources — EHRs, medical devices and even wearables— is combined into one single location called the health cloud. A component of the system, private communities, enables secure collaboration among members of the caregiver network. Through private communities, patients can view care plans, connect with health providers, find answers to common questions and fill out forms to save time in advance of medical visits.

Health Cloud is among an increasing number of platforms that support a more engaged and tech-savvy patient base. Contrary to popular belief, Health Cloud is not just a Salesforce product. Several companies including Salesforce, Kinvey, IBM, Cloud Mine and Microsoft are all providers of health cloud services. Other use cases that have found a strong partner on the cloud include big data analytics for personalized healthcare, ingesting wearables IoT data streams for population health apps and the use of Natural Language Processing AI to extract medical semantics and correlations for medical cohort analysis.

At emids, we provide cloud engineering services to a privately owned vendor of health information technology (HIT), including integrated EHR, practice management and revenue cycle management solutions. We’re transitioning one of the KLAS top three rated EHR systems to cloud. In addition, we have partnered with a leading clinical cloud company to develop modules used across 120+ countries to support clinical trials which have enhanced client productivity by 110 percent. Our Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) team is solutioning an artificial intelligence platform built upon an Amazon Web Services (AWS) service called Comprehend Medical for our client’s clinical trial recruitment use case.

It’s time to analyze your organization’s health cloud needs and adopt the platform that works best to help ensure your company remains viable, competitive and secure in today’s healthcare market; a market that is continuing to strive toward providing outstanding consumer-focused care.

Saif Islam is a cloud architect with 15 years of overall IT experience and specialist knowledge on the AWS cloud stack. He has deep domain expertise in the implementation of HIPAA-compliant solutions for healthcare organizations. Be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn.