Recently, I passed my AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam and Azure Data Scientist Associate exam. Right now, I am studying for the AWS Machine Learning Exam. Given that I am learning about the cloud, I thought it would be interesting to write a quick post about how cloud computing is used in public health and healthcare.
What is the cloud?
The cloud is a global network of remote servers, computers that provide data to other computers worldwide that can be accessed using the internet. If you want to learn more, I recommend this book.
Why is the cloud being used in healthcare organizations?
Based on what I have learned so far, there are three main reasons.
Cloud computing is more secure than storing data on-premise or on-site for health organizations. The data is stored offsite when in the cloud. The information is encrypted, making it more difficult to access.
With cloud computing, it is easier to keep up with technology. The cloud service provider upgrades the technology as needed, so healthcare organizations do not have to dedicate resources to this area.
Also, using the cloud makes it easier to scale up or down resources depending on what is needed. For example, you might have open health insurance enrollment for a state health exchange. You could scale up the resources on the state health exchange website, knowing that there will be an influx of web traffic coming to your website.
Overall, cloud service providers like Google, Azure, and Microsoft make it easier for organizations to manage their IT infrastructure for healthcare organizations.
How is the cloud currently being used in healthcare organizations?
Emergency Preparedness/Pandemic Response
UNC Health used AWS during the COVID-19 pandemic to build chatbots to help them to be able to reach more people during the pandemic for coronavirus self-assessments. State and local health departments used AWS to help reach out to constituents during the pandemic. There are also other uses of AWS that you can read more about here.
Hospital System Operations