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Healthcare sector uses cloud to improve imaging management

Hospitals are a busy place and operations can easily be slowed when physicians and caregivers cannot quickly locate and use important imaging files that may be stored in various systems. Fortunately, healthcare facilities can implement cloud computing technologies to alleviate these potential concerns, allowing organizations to improve patient care and reduce unnecessary expenses.

A report by AT&T highlighted these benefits, noting that hundreds of hospitals are already using the cloud to improve medical imaging processes and management.

The Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute located in Detroit, for example, accumulates roughly 25,000 cardiac images per year, according to the news source. Unlike X-rays, which are digital pictures, cardiac images require more data. By using the cloud, administrators improved the management and storage of these solutions, mitigating short- and long-term complications associated with generating these resources.

The Baptist Health System in Birmingham, Alabama, is also using the cloud, but not necessarily for the same resources as the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute. By implementing a cloud infrastructure, administrators in Birmingham can provide access to sensitive imaging files on virtually any device, AT&T reported. This means doctors throughout the organization can quickly pull up mission-critical files on their personal smartphones or tablets, eliminating traditional interoperability challenges.

"We knew we needed to replace our on-site long-term archive to take full advantage of the benefits of the latest innovative technology," said Richard Shirey, chief information officer at Baptist Health System. "Speed and accuracy are critical."

A report by Transparency Market Research noted that the global cloud computing market in the healthcare sector is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 21 percent between 2012 and 2018, eventually generating nearly $6.8 billion in revenue, up from only $1.8 billion in 2011.

"If you can help a health system function more efficiently, if you can save a doctor five minutes, you can provide a patient a better healthcare experience," said Eleanor Chye of AT&T.

As innovative cloud technologies continue to evolve in the coming years, using the services in the healthcare industry may become inevitable, especially as decision-makers look to deploy tools that will improve operations without jeopardizing patient care. By taking the time to realize how the cloud can help their organization, executives will be able to find the services needed to meet long-term goals.

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