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Cloud Computing Application for Decision Making

In the age of digitalization, the operation of almost every sphere of humans activities is impossible without the application of technologies. Digital developments hardly affected healthcare by improving methods of treatment, diagnostics, and decision-making. The current paper discusses how cloud computing facilitates decision-making and describes the role of nurses in selecting and evaluating the application.

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In broad terms, cloud computing could be understood as a technology that allows storing, analyzing, and transferring the collected data on the Internet. This innovative technology makes the decision-making process faster and more flexible and makes it possible to achieve economies of scale. Klonoff (2013) cloud computing is particularly significant for healthcare because it expedites and eases the process of sharing patients data. Another essential benefit of this technology is that it allows healthcare providers to quickly access patient data that could be stored in several sources. For example, even though insurance companies and healthcare providers use electronic medical records, the problem is that patients data is stored in different databases (Sobhy, El-Sonbaty, & Elnasr, 2012).

Therefore, if a nurse needs the entire medical history and prescriptions of a patient to diagnose or prescribe treatment, he or she should request access to the databases. This is time-consuming and inefficient. Hence, cloud storage is a common place for the storage of electronic medical records that helps to “accelerate their sharing” (Sobhy, El-Sonbaty, & Elnasr, 2012, p. 161). From the written above, it could be inferred that cloud computing is an indispensable part of an effective and timely decision-making process.

As it has been already mentioned, the application has a great impact on the quality of decision-making in healthcare. The primary reason for this is that a healthcare practitioner gains access to all existing information on a patients health status, medical history, and prescriptions. And it is a well-known fact that the more a practitioner knows about a patient, the more chances he or she will make a correct diagnosis in a complex situation. For example, if a doctor is aware of the medical history, he could infer the causes of the new symptoms and propose a better treatment.

Secondly, a database with a patients information could help to avoid the issue of drug incompatibility. Patients, especially elderly ones, are not always reliable because they could forget or confuse a name or an active component of medicine that they are currently taking. Therefore, if a health professional could retrieve information that the patient is taking warfarin for any reason, he will focus attention on the prescription of ibuprofen. Apropos, the study conducted by Marsilio, da Silva, and Bueno (2016) reveal shocking statistics. The authors analyzed 100 medical prescriptions, and 68 of them “were incompatible with the intravenous drugs prescribed” (Marsilio, da Silva, & Bueno, 2016, p. 147). We can only hope that in these 68 cases, the health personnel was unaware of the preceding prescriptions.

In spite of the fact that cloud computing plays an enormous role in improving the quality of decision-making and, consequently, the quality of care provided to the patients, the implementation process might be rather challenging. First of all, the medical staff of a hospital or employees of an insurance company should know how to use upload data on a cloud and retrieve the necessary information from there. This issue could be easily solved through the education of the staff members.

Another aspect of the implementation of cloud computing that considerably affects its effectiveness is that this technology cannot work properly without the collaboration of numerous hospitals and insurance companies all over the country or at least in one town as a start. Ali et al. (2018) claim that in addition to hospitals and insurance agencies, pharmaceutical companies and medical practitioners should be willing to collaborate in sharing data on their patients. Collaboration is an essential part of the implementation of the technology because otherwise, the database would be incomplete.

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However, apart from the discussed benefits, the introduction of cloud computing has several potential disadvantages. The first one was mentioned by Ali et al. (2018), who argue that cloud applications are the value-added services that are “potentially disruptive to the medical industry” (p. 154). Indeed, the maintenance of the cloud system is not free. Some telecommunication organizations should be paid to manage the servers where data is stored, and also, the development of the universal cloud application is costly.

The second problem stems from the fact that hackers could break into the system and steal patients’ personal information for their purposes or to manipulate hospitals or pharmaceutical corporations. Nonetheless, this problem could be fixed through government intervention into privacy protection (Kuo, 2011). The third problem stems from the issue described in the preceding paragraph.

More precisely, it is hard to make companies, agencies, hospitals, and practitioners cooperate and generally monitor the system and check that every member shares information and does not hide it. Finally, Ali et al. (2018) write that the topic of the application of cloud technologies in healthcare decision-making is still poorly researched. Nonetheless, the benefits of the implementation of cloud computing outweigh the potential costs and could be mitigated.

The role of nurses in selecting the application should not be exaggerated because nurses cannot choose independently where to upload information and from where to download the needed medical records. In other words, the choice of a platform has imposed the administration of a hospital. If, in the hypothetical future, the national government will become concerned with the implementation of a common cloud platform, then even hospitals will have no choice.

Nevertheless, nurses role in evaluating the efficiency of the application is priceless because nurses are directly engaged in the provision of medical services to the patients. It is up to them to decide whether the application enables them to retrieve all necessary information and whether access to a patients data was gained easily. From this, it could be inferred that nurses could also play a significant role in modifying cloud technologies in healthcare.

To conclude, cloud computing is a breakthrough in healthcare because it improves the quality of services provided to patients. When doctors have access to medical history and previous prescriptions, the chance that they will make a mistake in diagnosing or prescribing new medicines becomes significantly lower. Undoubtedly, the implementation of cloud computing has some hidden dangers, including technological issues, the possibility of data theft, and the unwillingness of hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance agencies to cooperate, and the expensiveness of maintenance of the system.

Still, but they are not critical and could be mitigated with the help of the local or central government. Finally, nurses could significantly affect the application through estimating its effectiveness and user-friendliness.

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References

Ali, O., Shrestha, A., Soar, J., & Wamba, S. F. (2018). Cloud computing-enabled healthcare opportunities, issues, and applications: A systematic review. International Journal of Information Management, 43, 146-158. Web.

Klonoff, D. C. (2013). Twelve modern digital technologies that are transforming decision making for diabetes and all areas of health care. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 7(2), 291–295. Web.

Kuo, M. H. (2011). Opportunities and challenges of cloud computing to improve health care services. Journal of medical Internet research, 13(3), e67. Web.

Marsilio, N. R., da Silva, D., & Bueno, D. (2016). Drug incompatibilities in the adult intensive care unit of a university hospital. Revista Brasileira de terapia intensiva, 28(2), 147-153. Web.

Sobhy, D., El-Sonbaty, Y., & Elnasr, M. A. (2012). MedCloud: healthcare cloud computing system. The 7th International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions, 161-166.

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