The cloud offers many benefits for medical image storage, including safety, security, accessibility, compliance, and cost savings.
- The increasing detail of medical images means larger files that have to be stored somewhere
- Creating, maintaining, and expanding an in-house medical image storage architecture is impractical and expensive
- Cloud medical image storage is infinitely scalable to accommodate your storage now and in the future
- Medical images stored in the cloud are easily accessible for patients, providers, and consults
- Cloud storage is safe from the perspective of potential hacks and natural or manmade disasters
- Patient data is secure from bad actors, and if disaster does strike, images are still accessible
Increasingly, healthcare organizations are turning to cloud-based solutions for both medical image archiving and secure daily access to those images. Medical imaging has seen significant recent improvements, from portable MRIs to 4D imaging. Technology today offers greater detail and resolution that improve patient care with better testing, diagnosis, and treatment as well as monitoring. The valuable insight provided by these techniques creates a need for robust and secure medical image archive solutions as the greater detail offered equals even larger file sizes.
Most healthcare organizations use storage methods that are not only out-of-sync with modern imaging technology but also far from secure. Cloud architecture offers a scalable, reliable, and secure option for today’s healthcare image storage.
The pandemic accelerated adoption of the cloud for things like data center footprint reduction and to optimize resources. As healthcare organizations become more comfortable with cloud-based access, they are increasingly turning to the cloud because of its advantages over local storage.
Why use a cloud medical image archive?
We’ll get into the benefits next, but if you’re still hesitating about using the cloud, there’s something you might not be thinking about – cost.
Data sets are getting larger and larger, and just the cost of an on-premises storage architecture – including the space, equipment, and energy – is prohibitively expensive. Scalability is also an issue. Your facility needs a storage solution that can grow as technology and your storage needs grow.
When you consider the future costs of scaling up, budget concerns come to the forefront, and this is where cloud technology definitely has an edge over on-premises solutions. Cloud storage usually comes with flexible plans and configuration options to optimize costs. As you need more space for medical image archiving, it’s simple to scale up.
Saving money is great, but what are the other benefits of cloud medical image archives? I’m glad you asked.
7 advantages of cloud-based medical image archives
In the not-so-distant past, medical images have been stored in on-premises servers. Radiology centers, hospitals, pathologists, clinicians, and even veterinarians and the legal community all struggled to securely store vast amounts of data and provide timely access (on CDs, no less!).
Enter the cloud. The cloud mitigates security concerns and provides real-time access for collaboration and consultation. While some healthcare facilities and hospitals think on-premises medical image archiving gives them more control, that is a complete illusion. Smart organizations know that the cloud offers many advantages that even the resident control freak will be excited to deploy:
- Access anytime, anywhere: Medical images in the cloud are accessible using internal workstations, tablets, personal computers, and smartphones via the internet.
- That secure feeling: Medical image access is completely secure with files encrypted “at rest,” meaning as they are sitting there in storage, and also while being transferred.
- Business continuity: If disaster strikes, your on-premises archiving solution can mean you lose everything. Cloud PACS archives mean your images are safe and accessible even as you’re cleaning up.
- Immediate access: A few minutes can make a real difference when you have a vulnerable patient. Traditional storage methods can have hardware failures and CDs are beyond obsolete, have to be transported, and can fail as well. Cloud-based medical image access is reliable.
- Compliance, compliance, compliance: We mentioned that medical image data is encrypted throughout its journey. HIPAA has rules for cloud computing, and it’s incumbent upon healthcare facilities to meet these requirements. Cloud medical image archives also reliably meet FDA rules and DICOM standards.
- Data privacy: This ties in with security. Healthcare consumers today are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data, and medical images are no exception. Cybercriminals can use patient data for identity theft and even insurance fraud, and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Today’s security compliance requires staying on top of countless patches and updates, and the right medical image archive storage provider will anticipate risks and do everything they can to mitigate them. This takes time and resources better left to an expert provider than your in-house staff.
- Sharing: Medical images can easily and securely be shared through the cloud for consultations and collaboration that improve patient care and outcomes. Patients are eager to get access to their images – 89.5% say they want this. Images also can be used for training and testing.
The medical field has always been known for innovation and continuous improvement. Why settle for the status quo when you can leverage a technology that will save money, improve patient outcomes, and increase customer satisfaction? When looking ahead, be sure you consider the cloud.
Secure medical image archiving at your fingertips
Our medical image storage software, Store XR, was built from the ground up based on industry standards. Our technology is truly flexible and can be implemented in any cloud (Azure, Amazon EC3, Ethereum Blockchain). It’s easy to use with an intuitive interface.
We’ve designed Store XR to provide a way to store all of your images in one place and easily access them, and we can customize our software features to suit your organization. Reach out today to learn how the cloud can help solve your biggest medical image challenges.