Back to the blog October 10, 2022

Healthcare in the Cloud: 3 Ways Cloud Data Storage Supports Safe and Efficient AI-Assisted Care

Cloud data storage is the cost-effective and efficient way to enable AI-assisted care while safeguarding the privacy and security of sensitive patient health information.

Patient Health Information (PHI) is one of the world’s most closely guarded data sets – and for very good reason.  Sensitive healthcare data demands the highest levels of privacy, security, and compliance to protect key datasets from data breaches and other potentially damaging events.

 Healthcare leaders often instinctively believe that keeping their data close at hand with on-premise solutions is the best way to achieve their privacy and security goals, but that isn’t always the case

 In reality, the cloud offers some of the most sophisticated, cutting-edge privacy and security options available with less hands-on maintenance – and it comes with the added bonus of making patient data more available and interoperable for artificial intelligence algorithms and other critical tasks.

The Cloud is simply a model that offers on-demand network access to a pool of shared resources. This may include data storage, databases, servers and other resources that can be accessed through the internet. It eliminates the need for organizations to buy and manage their own infrastructure. Instead, well-known tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, manage and operate everything for you.  

If the names alone don’t offer enough reassurance, here are three more reasons why healthcare organizations can and should trust the cloud to keep their patient data safe.

Democratizing access to clinical expertise & AI

 The digitization of healthcare is accelerating. Cloud computing can help increase efficiency and ensure access to expert care by making data sharing faster and easier.  AI-based diagnostic tools  can support healthcare professionals as they manage their growing workload from the increase in health wearables and smart watches that can generate ECGs to monitor for arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation. The dramatic increase in data calls for AI systems that can be used to remotely diagnose patients and automate early detection. There is a lot of talk about health disparities for patients who live in remote or rural areas of the world. 

Cloud technology goes a long way to address these issues because smartphones and tablets are so widely available. These technologies now are able to turn cell phones and tablets computers into powerful diagnostic systems for use at the point-of-care. 

In addition to AI being instrumental in helping to parse through data remotely and deliver proactive care to patients – the cloud is instrumental for making sure AI algorithms can access the data they need to work correctly. 

The cloud enables agile development and deeper integration across disparate data sets to support model training and ongoing refinement.  More sophisticated models based on more robust datasets lead to more accurate and precise results for more patients.

Reduce burdens of single handedly managing security and compliance

In the past, physicians who stored patients records and other personal information on-site inside filing cabinets faced significant risk of data theft or damage.

In recent years, with the development of the EU Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) mandate, healthcare institutions are investing heavily in IT infrastructure to keep that data secure. However, on-site storage requires significant investment in both hardware and software solutions. With on-premise solutions, healthcare organizations are fully responsible for maintaining the highest standards of compliance and the security of their patient data.

When it comes to cloud storage, vendors like Microsoft Azure can help share the load by providing certain services to augment and guide these processes for customers. Additionally, healthcare organizations benefit in the long-term from upgrades and reduced scaling costs. Cloud-based computing offers additional flexibility through pay-as-you-go storage and increased storage capacities.

This extra boost of confidence and support can be invaluable for entities struggling to attract and retain top security talent during the ongoing job churn of the Great Resignation, which may be opening up new threat vectors for understaffed organizations.

As we move into the development of digital health, interoperability between connected medical devices and the various systems and applications that store patient data will become an increasingly prominent issue and cloud computing can support that transition.

Offers attractive tools for scalability, reliability, and recovery

No data architecture is absolutely perfect, but cloud-based solutions typically score impressively high marks for reliability.  Most cloud services actively guarantee at least 99.9% up-time for their users, which is hard to match in the on-premise environment.

If something does happen, however, and data needs to be recovered or restored, the cloud can help.  Backup and disaster recovery options can quickly and effectively mitigate the impacts of a data breach or other event, preventing unacceptable delays in care.

When it’s time to expand, the cloud has that covered, too.  Instead of purchasing expensive new servers, finding a physical place to put them, and hiring the staff to handle the increased on-premise workload, healthcare organizations can simply add more terabytes to their existing cloud data storage contract.

The flexibility of the cloud, combined with strong privacy and security protections and ease-of-use for artificial intelligence, makes it a highly desirable option for healthcare organizations aiming to be on the cutting edge of cardiology care.

Benefits of the cloud extend beyond privacy, security and flexibility. Turns out it may even be healthier for the planet. A study found that using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform can be up to 93% more energy efficient and up to 98% more carbon efficient than on-premises solutions. US President Joe Biden’s goal of reducing nationwide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, could be within reach if the healthcare sector pitches in, and puts its faith in the cloud.

Cloud technology at Cardiologs

At Cardiologs, our mission is to democratize expert cardiac care through medical-grade Artificial Intelligence and cloud technology. 

Our solution, the Cardiologs Holter platform¹ is a unique arrhythmia diagnostic software, cloud-based, vendor-neutral and powered by medical-grade Artificial Intelligence² to streamline ECG analysis.

We understand how crucial safeguarding patient data is and that is the reason why we have implemented a security policy as well as technical and organizational measures relating to the Processing of Personal Data.

Data uploaded into the Cardiologs  Holter platform is securely hosted by Microsoft Azure who in turn is ISO / IEC 27001 certified as a Health Data Host. Cardiologs also has two backup sites for reasons of disaster safety. Additionally, we comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, as well as national laws in countries where we operate. 

In order to ensure the highest level of compliance, medical data is separated from personal information as soon as data is uploaded, in a process called pseudonymization.

Being on the cloud, Cardiologs allows for easy collaboration and Holter analysis from anywhere as opposed to proprietary software where local installations are needed. 

Discover the benefits here.