Cloud computing has come quite a distance across various phases. Clients can utilize web-based tools or applications through a browser just like these were programs installed locally on their own computer. Healthinformatics the wiki of Florida State University says “The definition of’cloud’was coined as a metaphor for the Internet which comes from cloud figures representing telephone networks, then later followed closely by depicting Internet infrastructures in computer network maps/diagrams.”

Going back time, we’d the grid and utility computing, the application service provision (ASP), and then Software as a Service (SaaS). However, if you appear back, the actual idea of delivering computing resources via a global network is actually rooted in the 60s. In the year 1969, J.C.R. Licklider through his article Intergalactic computer Network enabled the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). He did actually project a vision that everyone on the globe be interconnected and access programs and data at any site. Others give credit to computer scientist John McCarthy who proposed the idea of computation being delivered as a public utility.

Because the 60s, cloud computing has evolved over a timeline. Web 2.0 being the most recent evolution. Point to notice here is, the Internet only started to give you a significant bandwidth in the nineties. Hence cloud computing for anyone has been something of a recently available development. When you have to trace a timeline it looks somewhat such as this:

1999 – Salesforce.com (delivering enterprise applications using a simple website)

2002 – Amazon Web Services (providing a suite of cloud-based services including storage, computation and even human intelligence)

2006 – Amazon Elastic Compute cloud EC2 (allowing small companies and individuals to run their very own computer applications on a commercial web service)

2007 – Google Docs (Web-based office suite, and data storage service)

There are several other factors that have enabled cloud computing to evolve. These include the virtualization technology, universal high-speed bandwidth, and established standards of universal software interoperability.

Increased storage, flexibility / scalability, and cost reduction are a number of the valuable benefits that may be derived, as the outlook that almost anything can be delivered from the cloud, becomes more and more a reality. However security, data privacy, network performance and economics remain concerns which can be being addressed through various types of cloud platform delivery including the Private Cloud, Public Cloud, along with the Hybrid Cloud solutions.

This brings us to Cloud’s footprints into Healthcare. While, as we have seen above, cloud computing has been around for decades. Hospitals and healthcare systems only recently begun to adopt the flexibleness, interoperability and affordability of cloud technologies, especially as they implement plans to utilize the federal government’s $20 billion-plus Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) financial incentive programs.

The cloud computing model is well suited to healthcare applications due to the volume and varied resources of information, that’s necessary to be accessed quickly and from any location. After all you need lives at stake. Whether it is for maintaining health records, monitoring of patients, collaboration with peers, prescribing medication, even analysis of data, we will have more and more of healthcare tapping to the cloud. With an increase of attention on the security areas of Cloud, compliance to Data Privacy standards, advanced interoperability and data sharing, and with a proper DR in place, the cloud may have a real positive affect Healthcare.