When it comes to running a hospital in a small community, the costs of remaining afloat can quickly prove cumbersome. According to WMAZ, that issue proved business-ending for four hospitals across the state of Georgia, which were all forced to close their doors over the past few years. Jimmy Lewis, the CEO of a network that monitors rural hospitals, told WMAZ that in addition to the recent closures, there are 15 healthcare providing facilities that run the risk of closure.

The reason for these difficulties is uniform: financial burdens. Without the influx of patients at major metropolitan hospitals, rural institutions often find themselves floundering for operating costs. This has proven especially true since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has limited the funds that remote hospitals get from insurance providers. The widespread closures of rural hospitals will have a detrimental impact on surrounding citizens, who will be forced to make long journeys in order to get medical attention. And when emergency situations in these remote areas arise, not having a healthcare facility in the area could prove potentially disastrous to a patient who requires immediate care.

"There are four contiguous counties and only one (Monroe County Hospital) in the whole bunch," said Monroe County Hospital CEO Kay Floyd. "If you have something serious like a heart attack or a bleeding injury, that could be fatal if you don't get there soon enough,"

A solution in the cloud
Fortunately, there is an answer for hospitals in these rural locations that can help them retain functionality and limit the fear of closure: the enterprise cloud. As many other company operations have demonstrated, a move to the enterprise cloud is an extremely cost-effective way to do business, and it comes with many benefits as well, including remote access to information and the ability to easily and reliably store vast repositories of patient records.

For its part, Monroe County Hospital is already looking into the possibility of moving some of its infrastructure into a cloud platform, according to Julie Windom, the hospital's director of external affairs.

"We are also looking at some sort of shared data warehouse in a cloud," she said.

This kind of effort is exactly the thing hospitals across the country should be doing in order to provide the best care possible for patients. In Part 2, we will reveal a medical innovation happening thanks to the cloud.