Abstract

Early use of cloud computing is already transforming the nature of competition in commercial sectors (see Amazon, Google and Facebook). In the next few years, health industry organizations will likely see similarly sweeping changes by leveraging cloud computing. Development of a health industry information ecosystem, centred on electronic health records located in highly secure cloud-based environments, is one major area of expected change. Increasing digitization of health information (e.g., images, test results) will be another likely outcome, as will the growing integration of mobile devices with cloud-based applications to support wellness programs and remote health monitoring.

Cloud computing is too important to the future of any organization to be left entirely to its technologists. Decision-makers outside of IT organizations have important roles to play in making sure their organization achieves the desired benefits and reduces the risks of cloud computing. Among other issues, health industry leaders must address a high-level of sensitivity around data security and privacy, and thus need to scrutinize their decisions around cloud computing through a more powerful lens than many commercial sectors.