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The Cloud and Cloud-Computing: Pharma and Medical Device's Biggest Trend for 2012

In the past year, the cloud has taken both the tech and health industries by storm. Once its usage was established with tech giants like Google and Microsoft, the healthcare industry soon began adopting cloud-based solutions. With security concerns quelled as the cloud actually provided increased security, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries were free to join in the movement.

Cloud computing ‘eagerly anticipated’ by healthcare

The cloud offers healthcare a unique and much needed solution. With costs consistently rising and budgets continuously decreasing, it presents a way to share massive amounts of data securely and instantly for less. One of the most widespread uses in healthcare has been with electronic medical and health records. Both EMRs and EHRs (curious about the difference?) are going up to the clouds to help doctors make better clinical decisions while reducing costs. As a result, the healthcare IT market is forecasted to expand at an annual rate of 9.3% up to high of $20.5 billion in 2017.

Cloud-computing is actually transforming the pharmaceutical industry as top pharma companies have begun to collaborate on IT solutions versus doing everything in-house. Recently GlaxoSmithKline reportedly cut operational costs by 30% when they traded in their traditional IT platform for Microsoft’s cloud services. The potential of the cloud for big data is not lost on the pharmaceutical industry either. Some sets of big data so large that they crash pharma firm computers are being handed over to cloud providers. Eli Lilly uses Amazon’s cloud and Roche has expressed interest in adopting Google’s cloud for the whole company. As big data continues to well, get bigger, with the addition of genomic datasets, next generation sequencing and biologics, the cloud has reached the pharmaceutical industry just in time.

The medical device industry has not been left out in the cold, or the sun, either. Medtronic has created multiple apps for customer engagement and field use by sales reps. In combination with the cloud, these iPad apps allow sales reps to have maximum mobility and increased collaboration.

Similar apps from external providers allow both medical device and pharmaceutical sales forces to take advantage of the latest technology. Cloud-computing enables ROI-worthy analytics that provide feedback on the who, what, when of app use in the field. Although initially hesitant to fully endorse cloud-computing, the healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical device industries seem to have come full swing.