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Government regulation on cloud security may spur SaaS use in health care

Fred O'Connor | Oct. 23, 2014
Governments may need to tighten the regulatory screws on SaaS vendors to make them be more transparent and forthcoming about their security practices.

But government laws alone won't increase cloud computing use in the health-care space. The SaaS industry could do more to make its services intuitive to use and better suited to the needs of specific health researchers, like those who work in labs.

Giving people the ability to control their data in the cloud is a design issue, not a security problem, said Davis, who added that some user interface designs are clunky.

"There's still a significant percent of the population that aren't technologically literate and can't use these services," he said.

Cloud software developers may not realize that health researchers need applications that have audit functions to ensure that workers are complying with regulations, said Beyrouthy.

"The software has been designed by software professionals" and that can prove problematic in the highly regulated health-care industry, he said.

Instead of using industry-specific services consolidated onto one platform, scientists use Microsoft Word and Excel for document management and multiple platforms for storing data.

"Fifty to 70 percent of the time scientists are managing stats instead of doing actual work," said Beyrouthy.

As for how much of the health-care industry has taken to using cloud services, the answer varies depending on the definition of cloud computing. Hospitals haven't been eager to roll out SaaS services, said Davis. Among individual care providers, however, adoption rates are higher, especially with consumer-focused services like Dropbox.

"I talk to a number of doctors who unknowingly use iCloud," he said, referring to Apple's storage and backup cloud service.

 

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