With mandates from the Affordable Care Act, companies are spending more on healthcare than ever before. This year alone businesses in the U.S. will spend almost $620 billion on employee healthcare. Many companies know they’re overpaying, but most don’t know what to do about it. According to Naomi Allen, vice president of strategic alliances for Castlight Health, the most common cause of added costs is employers paying for services and programs that employees aren’t using. At the same time, workers aren’t aware of programs that can give them less expensive, better care, so they sign up for more costly programs that aren’t giving them what they need. Healthcare providers don’t release much information to employers, making it difficult to know what services employees are utilizing, so companies continue paying for inefficient programs and costs go up. Cloud-based healthcare platforms help reduce employer costs by lowering expenditures and managing complex healthcare processes. These programs also allow employer and employee incentives to be better aligned, which improves outcomes and cuts costs. Virtualized enterprise healthcare platforms make medical technologies and benefits programs available in an integrated, central solution by offering real-time information sharing. Better choices with big data Cloud-based platforms are also able to utilize big data tools to analyze claims data and employee behavior to create a more personalized experience and offer more informed options for healthcare programs and services. “…We present messages to them like ‘based on what we’re seeing you are eligible for a second opinion program’, or if an employee searches for a service that can be done via telehealth or an on-site clinic rather than an emergency room, we message them to make them aware that those services are available,” explained Allen. Enterprise cloud healthcare platforms also utilize other information to give employees a more complete understanding of their healthcare options. Records of medical and pharmacy claims and national and regional quality data can all help employees find the program that best suits their needs. According to information from Transparency Market Research, the global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to reach almost $7 billion by 2018, an increase of nearly $5 billion from 2011. The rapid growth of the industry suggests that the use of cloud technology in healthcare won’t be slowing down anytime soon.