The truth is that many radiologists use hard drives, desktop viewing stations, and their local PACS to store medical images. However, storing your patients’ medical records and images in any location other than the Cloud is asking for trouble.
RAIDS and Soldiers...just not that kind of raid
An infrastructure supported by the Cloud is significantly more reliable than any other alternative. With this solution, there is a built in redundant infrastructure, which means that there is no single point of failure. If you are using a vendor, they will tell you that they have data centers located hundreds of miles apart from one another to avoid data loss due to a natural or manmade disasters. Furthermore, you’ll be supported by RAIDS and fail over strategies. With this implementation, if something is to go awry, you are looking at layers of safety nets. Your first defense could be knocked out by a devastating event, but your data would remain untouched, because the redundant infrastructure would kick in, and the next layer up would serve as a protective barrier.
Think of it like this. Your medical data is the hidden treasure inside an impregnable vault inside a fortified castle. However, it is not just the vault that is guarding your treasure. Aside from the super strong walls, you have a drawbridge and moat with crocodiles and piranhas. You also have a team of soldiers acting as barriers preventing an attack from the bad guys. You have the archers who keep close to the castle, because they can target ogres and monsters from a distance. You then have the knights followed by swordsman and other foot soldiers. At the end of the day, everyone from the archer to foot soldier is responsible for protecting the treasure (your data), but each is deployed at a different level in the attack strategy. That’s how redundancy works. When a swordsman falls, a knight strategically takes their place.
It’s Not All About Redundancy
Why redundancy is great, it’s not the entire reason why radiologists around the world go with the Cloud. Here’s the thing - with the Cloud, you have anytime anywhere access to your patient’s records and imaging. So you could be commuting, vacationing, or dining out and always have immediate access to the information you need - when you need it. Which all comes down to this: you don’t need to carry around your laptop. You can access your data from your tablet, and even iPhone.
Every physician is required to keep records for a given duration. In the United States, this duration varies by state. However, there are of course certain specialties that are either encouraged or enforced to maintain records for a longer period of time. For instance, pediatricians are often required to keep records of their patients up until they reach 18 years of age and then beyond. Now, it would be ludicrous to insist in this day and age on having a filing cabinet (or a hundred) retaining records of every patient for that long. In fact, it would be daunting to retain a physical account of each patient for even 5 years let alone 18. So, instead of material equipment holding that information we recommend the Cloud. A fire would take your filing cabinet, a sinkhole would take your safe, a flood would take your hard drive, and any colossal disaster could cripple your local PACS. The Cloud, however, is untouchable -assuming your vendor knows what they are doing.
Consider a Cloud infrastructure to be like a well thought battlefield strategy. There are layers in place that come to the front in case the previous installment fails. You cannot get that security with any other solution. With data centers placed hundreds of miles apart and RAIDS in place, the Cloud done right puts in the measures to avoid the pitfalls of storage alternatives.