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An Evolving Approach to Managing Medical Device Service and Support
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Cloud computing technologies improve the efficiency and profitability of business, especially as economic challenges persist. More pronounced in the medical device industry than most others, the trend toward healthcare cloud computing promises to deliver tremendous benefits as companies seek to create markets that will generate consumer demand. The move toward the cloud comes when medical device companies feel intense pressure to lower costs and improve profits, especially as a U.S. healthcare reform law goes into effect, adding a 2.7 percent surcharge on the sale of every medical device.
Maturing cloud technologies offer new opportunities as the healthcare industry adapts to a changing business environment. In the past, medical device makers could assume creating the best, most innovative product would ensure their success. Manufacturers now realize that they must provide the best possible experience for customers. They look to consumer-based industries for inspiration. Rather than competing in the market as defined by others, Apple created new products that built their own markets with insatiable demand. Medical device companies seek to emulate that success among healthcare consumers. Perhaps the ideal solution awaiting discovery will integrate a medical device that delivers a specific service through the cloud and then process the data it collects and delivers. Because healthcare cloud computing resources adjust to demand, customers can always count on needed services.
Although healthcare cloud computing offers impressive benefits to medical device suppliers and their customers, some challenges need attention. Healthcare demands a higher level of data protection and security than most industries, but cloud computing often sends data through insecure connections. Encryption technologies seem promising but have not yet satisfied industry needs. Aided by developments from Google and Microsoft, cloud computing will surge among medical device suppliers as security improves.
Geographical storage poses another concern about cloud-based medical devices. Some countries demand that their citizens’ healthcare data must remain inside the country where their laws have jurisdiction. Cloud computing must comply with all healthcare laws before medical devices can fully benefit from it. So far, medical imaging companies have led as medical device manufacturers adopt cloud technologies. However, top medical device companies expect major benefits from cloud computing in coming months.