Technologies in the healthcare IT industry are converging with time and are far outpacing the legacy systems used by hospitals and healthcare providers. Pronouncements by various countries such as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) laid down by the U.S. government are encouraging businesses in the healthcare industry to utilize certain applications of electronic records. Recently, cloud technology has started replacing these legacy systems and offers easier and faster access to this data as defined by the way it is stored i.e. public, private or hybrid.
Cloud computing offers significant benefits to the healthcare sector; Doctor’s clinics, hospitals, and health clinics require quick access to computing and large storage facilities which are not provided in the traditional settings, moreover healthcare data needs to be shared across various settings and geographies which further burdens the healthcare provider and the patient causing significant delay in treatment and loss of time. Cloud caters to all these requirements thus providing the healthcare organizations an incredible opportunity to improve services to their customers, the patients, to share information more easily than ever before, and improve operational efficiency at the same time. The flip side of this advantage is that healthcare data has specific requirements such as security, confidentiality, availability to authorized users, traceability of access, reversibility of data, and long-term preservation. Hence, cloud vendors need to account for all these while conforming to regulations such as HIPAA and Meaningful use.
All the above factors bring the market for cloud computing to grow at a CAGR of 20.5% from 2010 to 2017 in healthcare. Although cloud computing offers significant advantages to HCOs and other stakeholders, it has set of restraints. Security of patient information, interoperability and compliance with government regulations are some of the factors which are slowing down this market.
Cloud technology has been adopted only in certain regions of the world, the majority share being held by the developed nations. The geographies studied include North America, Europe, Asia, and ROW. North America accounts for the lion’s share in the cloud computing market with U.S. being the largest contributor to this region.
The healthcare cloud computing market is a fragmented one with no player occupying a share more than 5%. A few players in this market are CareCloud (U.S.), Carestream Health, Inc. (U.S.), Merge Healthcare, Inc. (U.S.), GE Healthcare (U.K.), and Agfa Healthcare (Belgium).