Cloud fever grips Asia Pacific healthcare market

  • US$194.4mil market in 2012; nearly 19,000 hospitals across APAC expected to adopt cloud by 2018
  • Healthcare providers looking for tech partners who can address data privacy and security concerns

Cloud fever grips Asia Pacific healthcare market HEALTHCARE is opening doors to cloud technologies all over the world and Asia Pacific is in a hurry to explore innovative solutions that support patient-centric care through the efficient capture and dissemination of medical and health information, according to Frost & Sullivan.
In its ‘Analysis of Healthcare Cloud in APAC’ research, it found the market for cloud technologies, which include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings, was worth US$194.4 million in 2012.
The market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3% between 2012 and 2018, the consultancy firm said in a statement.
“Healthcare providers are cognisant of the long term cost benefits of cloud solutions. What they are looking for now are reliable technology partners who can address their concerns over data privacy and security,” said Natasha Gulati, connected health industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific.
While many healthcare IT vendors emphasise the enhanced security and back-up support provided by cloud technologies, the message has not successfully reached hospital CIOs (chief information officers) yet, Frost & Sullivan said.
This is why healthcare continues to invest in private clouds while other industries are rapidly moving to public or hybrid cloud models.
Moreover, given the current pressures of rising costs and diminishing margins, healthcare CIOs are unable to justify the significant investment required for transitioning to a cloud environment.
Given the versatility of a cloud environment, Frost & Sullivan predicts that the cloud will be the single most important enabler of healthcare ‘megatrends’ in the future.
Gulati pointed out three major industry transformations that will be catalysed by cloud solutions:
Healthcare industry vertical clouds

Healthcare expenditure across Asia Pacific is expected to almost double over the next six years owing to the expanding elderly population.
On the other hand, R&D expenditure on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology is not reaping the returns that were expected. Stakeholders across the industry, including government bodies and research organisations, are seeking tools to carry out cost effective outcomes-based research.

Enter industry vertical clouds – secure cloud environments that allow healthy information sharing amongst all healthcare stakeholders, thus delivering efficiencies at all stages of the value chain.
Adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs) has spurred a wave of interest in industry vertical clouds as these can help extract maximum value from the digitisation of healthcare.

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring
Aging populations and rising incidence of chronic diseases is driving Asia Pacific consumers to seek tools for continuous health monitoring and assurance.
Not only do cloud technologies provide the software and infrastructure required to share vital information over a distance, they also enable real-time analysis of information gathered from remotely located systems.
This has enabled telemedicine and patient monitoring devices to capture critical physiological data and action it on the fly so that the time taken to respond to an adverse situation can be minimised.
The implications of this advancement are phenomenal when one considers the volumes spent on critical care even in developed countries as well as the emotional stress a care-giver must go through when help does not arrive when needed most.

Consumerisation of healthcare

Consumers are still waiting for the day when a single, convenient biometric identifier or a mobile phone will be sufficient to secure healthcare services.
Asia Pacific consumers are still stuck in the rut of carrying large sums of cash while visiting a hospital and insurance portability remains a distant dream.
Data collaboration, not just amongst healthcare organisations but also across industries, is a critical component which is missing from the whole healthcare delivery value chain and this alone can enhance patient experience.
Cloud technologies will play a pivotal role in establishing the healthcare industry of the future, Frost & Sullivan said.
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