By Mark Bridenstine

According to a recent report by KLAS Research, in a survey that included small clinics to 1,000 bed hospitals, 55% indicated that they already have something in the cloud. That might be email, storage, clinical applications, or communication systems.

The cloud is most certainly all around us--even in healthcare, and even though most of us aren't actively thinking about it. In fact, when a patient visits his or her local lab or hospital and provides insurance proof, that information must be sent outside of those four walls and to another party. Where does it typically go? Through the cloud. And how long does it take? Usually moments to verify.

Not only does cloud computing within the healthcare sector make it more efficient to seamlessly pass information between parties, it alleviates many of the risks associated with storing information locally. For example, consider a doctor whose laptop containing personal information for thousands of patients is stolen....or a natural disaster that destroys a physical data center and all of the patient information contained within it.

When an environment is configured correctly within the cloud, the information is available instantly, at any time and from anywhere with consistent uptime. That's because potential outages can be combated with multi-zone, multi-geography support that keep the cloud-based service running without interruption.

Given the benefits of the cloud, it's not surprising that the majority of healthcare providers within the conducted study have already embraced the cloud in some way, with even more healthcare organizations planning to do so in the near future.

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