Applying Cloud Computing in medicine part #1
Cloud computing is the term that been buzzing in web 2.0 space for sometime now , many companies claimed that they are having cloud solutions , or cloud OS , even cloud applications framework . Those companies already existed years ago with the same solutions they claimed to be cloud . So long story short i believe its a term that describing already existing services and systems nothing more nothing less .
So what is this term means ? and what cloud computing has to do with medical applications ?!
What is cloud computing ?
Cloud computing is a general term describing anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet . Those services listed in 3 categories Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service ( PaaS ) and Software-as-a-Service ( SaaS ) . The market target and the goal for every type of those categories are different , but they all share common features as they are listed under the name ” Cloud computing ” , and to be able to know the capability and use of cloud computing in medicine , we need to know and see what are those category of services with examples .
IaaS ” Infrastructure as a Service ” :
IaaS means delivery of computer infrastructure, typically a platform virtualization environment . as an example Amazon Web Services provides virtual server instances with unique IP addresses and blocks of storage . Using the API the customer can manage ( access , start , stop , configure ,… ) their servers and storage . Most feature Infrastructure-as-a-Service has , is sharing resources as hardware resources ( servers, networking features, memory, CPU, disk space, data center facilities,… ) . sometime before someone called it ” Hardware as a service ” which it suppressed ( regarding wikipedia ) and replaced with IaaS .
PaaS ” Platform as a Service ” :
PaaS is more about development ,The platform provide the developers , development tools ( APIs , debugging , deployment ……) to create their applications on the cloud to work in this platform . The developer does not have to worry about the interface ( sometimes ) . Many WebOS considered as a Platforms , as they have API and development tools . GoogleApps also as an example of PaaS . PaaS is reducing the cost on many axises , especially using built-in infrastructure services . But the only issue should concern developers that there is no portability for their applications to move to another platform .
SaaS ” Software as a Service ” :
The target in here is the end user when the vendor has almost everything starting from the infrastructure , the software and the end user interface which the user will interact with the software ( service ) through it . The vendor also has the customer data , files and informations . Web emails , online office suites ( google documents , Zoho ) and other services alike , can be consider as a SaaS .
Cloud computing and Medical applications :
Medical applications and solutions as a service are not brand new idea , There are many companies providing medical solutions as a service , though there are many other web based solutions targeting medical and health care field as EMR ” electronic medical record ” , EHR ” electronic health record ” , PHR ” personal health record ” , also HIS ” Hospital Information Systems ” . Some large corporations also get into the market providing their services in health care area as Google and Microsoft .
Most of those services and applications are classified under SaaS ” Software as a Service ” , there is no Platform built to target medical or health care area under the classification of PaaS , also even there is many Web based application and services , along with many open source web based medical and health care solutions , there is no application begin built on specific platform yet .
Some fear buzzed up for security of medical and health care related data and information , also seems the developers not interested yet to move from their own web based services to someone else platform . especially with the portability issue .
Somehow some already joined the cloud , i believe I should mention that some research centers and educational facilities already using some Cloud services and platform to provide the collaboration , sharing and increase the productivity to the team work .
Key Characteristics for cloud computing in medicine and health care field :
-Cost effective it reduces the cost on many levels starting with the infrastructure level and ending with the development cost .
-Centralization : -All things in one place .
-Batch update and upgrade ,
-in SaaS ( Software as a Service ) `s level the user does not has to worry about updating , upgrading , security and support the application .
-in PaaS ( Platform as a Service ) `s level the developer does not has to worry about many development issue including the infrastructure and integration with other services .
Cloud computing and patients privacy :
The interest of protecting patients privacy is so aggressive when it comes to cloud computing , in general the people in this sector don’t suggest using PHR ” Personal Health Record ” systems provided by large companies , and the cloud services ( web based services ) provided by their insurance companies or employers . Also as many of those who are into protecting the patients privacy , most of them believes HIPAA-compliant is not that solid for cloud concept so far ( says Stuart Johnston , the associate editor of WindowsSecrets.com )
There are some questions still need answers :
1-Are the clouds will be in illegal position if it store patients record ?!
2-Hosted online web based medical application as they considered to be Software as a Service is classified as a private cloud , are they different from public cloud when it comes to store patients records ?!
3-Security of the clouds , Clouds is secured ,managed , updated and upgraded by one corporation what about security leakage , hacking , or even stolen information and data ?!
upcoming part #2