Cloud computing, virtualization offer benefits to healthcare industry

Recent advancements in technology have impacted every industry, but none more so than healthcare. The emergence of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have influenced medical providers, as those devices are beginning to replace traditional monitoring and recording systems and allowing patients more flexibility in their treatment. The growing use of cloud computing has especially had an effect on healthcare, improving communication, data storage and ease-of-use.

One of the biggest advantages technology has brought to the healthcare industry is an improvement in the way doctors and patients communicate with one another. It can often be hard for patients to get ahold of their physicians, but with a variety of cloud communication options like voice and video conferencing, as well as technology focused solely on connecting doctors and patients, the burden is being eased.

Remote monitoring is another major benefit of the use of technology in medicine. Just as it can be difficult for patients to get in touch with their doctors, it can also be hard for many people to make it to the hospital at all. Home monitoring technology allows patients to use a small device designed specifically for their health problem from the comfort of their home. According to a report by Research and Markets, 2.8 million patients worldwide were utilizing home monitoring by the end of 2012. This provides patients with reliable care while reducing the cost of multiple visits to the doctor and lowering the risk of having to be readmitted. Readmission rates for cardiac patients using home monitoring dropped from 25 percent to just 2 percent, Becker's Hospital Review reported.

Cloud computing and virtualization are now also able to take remote monitoring one step further and provide patients with complete medical treatment from their homes using a telehealth platform. Just as home monitoring helped to reduce expenses, telemedicine is also cost-effective as it reduces travel times for patients and allows doctors to see more people each day. For patients living in rural or underserved areas, being able to have a doctor's visit over a video conference and receive prescriptions and medical records through a cloud-based portal is a dramatic improvement from having to travel long distances to see a physician, or not getting any treatment at all.