Skip to Content
SBMI Horizontal Logo

The Security and Trust Barrier in Cloud Computing and Healthcare: A Review of the Literature

Author: Kim Son Tran, BS (2013)

Primary Advisor:  Juliana Brixey, PhD MPH RN

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston.


In today's fast paced baby boomer aging society, the demand for a robust storage of health data requires healthcare organizations to have massive costly IT storage infrastructures. Cloud computing has drawn a lot of attention recently in healthcare because it promises to lower the health systems’ costs, boost interoperability and enhance patient care quality for healthcare organizations (Samson, 2012). Currently, only five percent of the healthcare industry has adopted cloud computing due to security and trust barriers (Webb, 2012).

Protecting sensitive patient data and medical records is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of healthcare organizations and this paper is a retrospective review of the previously published literature. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of trust and security barriers in cloud computing and healthcare from the perspective of both healthcare organizations and cloud services. The literature review crosses a number of disciplines including communication, psychology and information technology. Currently, there is a call for cloud service providers to amend more effective security encryption of data protection, resiliency and trust management through federal regulations for a higher percentage of cloud implementations in healthcare organizations.

Currently, there is a call for cloud service providers to improve their practices of providing securely encrypted data. It is only through improved data protection, together with the resiliency and trust management provided by federal regulations, that healthcare organizations can be expected to increase their utilization of cloud computing for storing sensitive patient related information