Over the course of the last year, you have probably heard plenty of news about Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company that has grown to become the biggest online retailer in Asia, if not the world. However, the company’s true strength isn’t found in its sales or size: instead, Alibaba’s power comes from the considerable amounts of data it gathers from its shopping sites, its financial business and cloud computing prowess. Now, Alibaba’s cloud computing subsidiary Aliyun has announced that it will be creating the first “cloud hospital” in China, a move that could change the country’s medical care and prove how necessary the cloud is to our present and future.
On Monday, April 20, Aliyun stated that it has partnered with Xi’an International Medical Investment and DHC Software. Xi’an International Medical Investment is a company that manages departments stores, real estate and medical facilities, while DHC Software designs operating systems. Together, the three firms will create and market a hospital administration platform using Aliyun’s data analysis and clouding computing services to provide online-to-offline healthcare and online payment support.
According to the three companies, the cloud hospital will improve the quality of medical care by making it easier for organizations to manage individual patient data and analyze aggregated health information. Moreover, patients will be able to register for appointments and make payments online, improving accessibility. With this software, the cloud is pitched as a solution to everything from over-crowded waiting rooms to confusing diagnoses and communication problems between different medical centers.
The “cloud hospital” is only Alibaba’s latest foray into health care: last year, the company announced that it would be using its resources to help remake China’s health system. Other steps have included an appointment booking site and an app that helps users fill prescriptions. However, like other companies, Alibaba has been limited by China’s current laws, which do not allow the sale of prescription drugs online. These laws are expected to be reversed in the next year.
Unfortunately, the security of the information being stored in the “cloud hospital” might become an even bigger issue in the future. While the cloud is used in a number of different industries in many different ways, it relies on proper usage and secure implementation to prevent data theft and other problems. For this reason, many companies usually hire cloud consultants to perform cloud broker services and cloud assessment services to ensure that their data is safe. There is no doubt that Alibaba will follow similar steps as they undertake their latest project.