Open Data Capture
Open Data Capture

The Cloud in Healthcare: Challenging the Detractors

Gabriel Devenyi Gabriel Devenyi

Gabriel Devenyi, PhD

2 min read

Introduction

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the healthcare sector is at a significant crossroads. The decision? Whether to embrace the cloud’s potential benefits or to remain tethered to traditional methods of data management, including paper records and local computer systems. However, the resistance to change, often championed by so-called ethics experts, raises an important question: Are our current systems truly safer than the cloud?

The Reality of Traditional Systems

  1. Physical Vulnerabilities with Paper Records: While romanticized by some as the “safe, old-fashioned way,” paper records come with a slew of risks. From fires and floods to simple misplacement or theft, tangible documents aren’t as foolproof as some suggest.

  2. The Windows Computer Conundrum: Local computers, especially Microsoft Windows systems, have historically been prime targets for malware and ransomware attacks. Without consistent and meticulous updates, they can become security nightmares. Contrary to popular belief, the average hospital computer system may be far more susceptible to breaches than a well-maintained cloud environment.

The Cloud’s Undeniable Benefits

  1. Superior Security Infrastructure: Cloud providers invest billions in securing their infrastructure. Their entire business hinges on data safety, and consequently, they employ top-tier security experts and technologies that often exceed the capabilities of local IT teams.

  2. Constant Evolution: Cloud systems are continuously updated to ward off emerging threats. This dynamic security evolution contrasts with many local systems, which can remain outdated due to oversight or budget constraints.

  3. Accessibility and Efficiency: The cloud’s ability to provide instant access to critical patient data, regardless of location, can be a game-changer in medical emergencies.

The Real Issue: Misplaced Fears

Ethics experts and other stakeholders often voice concerns about the cloud. However, these apprehensions might be grounded more in unfamiliarity with the technology than in evidence-based critiques.

  1. Risk is Ubiquitous: No system, be it paper, a local computer, or the cloud, is entirely without risk. The goal should be risk mitigation, and when analyzed objectively, the cloud often emerges as the safer bet.

  2. Resistance to Change: The comfort of the known can be a powerful deterrent to change. But in a sector as critical as healthcare, comfort should never come at the expense of efficiency and potential security improvements.

The True Ethical Stance

In essence, the most ethical approach is one that prioritizes patient well-being and data security above all else. By resisting the move to more secure, efficient cloud systems out of fear or misunderstanding, we may inadvertently compromise the very principles we aim to uphold.

Conclusion

The healthcare sector’s migration to the cloud is not merely a question of technological advancement; it’s a matter of optimizing care and ensuring data security. It’s time to move beyond dated misconceptions and objectively assess the best way forward, with the well-being of patients at the forefront of the conversation. OpenDataCapture’s architecture is ready for whatever your institution chooses, with a service design which allows for minimal exposure to the cloud if need be, while still taking advantage of the internet for reaching patients and research subjects