Is Cloud Technology Necessary for Provider Organizations?

Cloud-enabled data automation is helping to streamline clinical processes for doctors and nurses – breaking down data silos and showing relevant patient information where it is needed most. It also helps to reduce the burden and burnout on health system workers.

Everyone knows that healthcare data is growing at an exponential rate. Are healthcare organizations prepared to keep up?

Organizations that set up cloud-native infrastructure and support processes will not only be able to gain insights from their data to better serve their patients and staff, but also open up A whole new set of tools disrupts product development across the industry, said Anders Brown, chief executive officer at Tegria, a healthcare and technology services company founded by Providence.

We sat down with Brown to talk about the cloud in healthcare. Prior to Tegria, Brown held multiple roles at Microsoft and built scalable consulting businesses where software, hardware, and new markets intersect.

Q. What are the pros and cons of cloud infrastructure for a healthcare organization?

ONE. While we fully believe in the importance of the cloud for healthcare – we see it as a positive trend for providers and payers – we understand that too. That doesn’t mean organizations should do everything at once. Our clients think of this in terms of balance and opportunity.

To begin with, there is certainly consensus on the benefits of an “elastic” infrastructure. The ability to easily scale workloads up and down and pay for what’s used instead of managing the fixed costs of IT infrastructure is certainly a positive.

Another benefit is faster adoption of new technology. It’s easier to integrate the latest, cloud-native tools into a cloud-based ecosystem.

You can’t really use modern innovations like natural language processing or real-time data analysis with on-premises hardware. Those workloads really need the processing power that can only be found today with cloud service providers.

The pace of innovation happening within and near the leading cloud service providers supports faster technology adoption. We will increasingly see new technology first in various cloud markets, and we will continue to see cloud service providers adding more built-in features that can be deployed quickly and easily.

At the same time, customers can streamline their application portfolio by more accurately inventorying what is actually used and needed, and implementing subsequent cost reductions as appropriate.

Related to that is the reduction of cybersecurity risk. Extracting core systems from the user base, which is the most likely attack vector, is a clear benefit to our customers. Cloud environments also provide our customers with access to better log analytics, network and behavioral analytics, and more sophisticated security and monitoring tools.

Finally, there is data. Patient data from wearable devices, remote patient monitoring, etc., is growing exponentially. And while you can store your data on-premises, the cloud is really the only place where you can effectively scale, organize, and analyze all that data for better, more efficient care. than.

Without question, there are also trade-offs and considerations that are unique to each of our clients. Of course, cost is often the most common topic.

Determining the value proposition for any given customer depends on where they are and where they want to go next. It certainly exists, but it takes a fair amount of work up front to identify and change from one customer to the next.

Also, most of the IT teams we work with are stretched and have little patience for purely long-term projects for their benefit. We get that. So we try to take every step to bring the win quickly.

Q. What are the pros and cons of a cloud electronic health record system for a provider organization?

ONE. Undoubtedly, our customers benefit from moving away from the capital-cost “capex” model for IT investments that require expensive infrastructure refresh every few years to a high-cost “opex” model. The dynamics can vary according to need and can scale, depending on the use.

You can also take advantage of newer and faster technologies as they become available without having to wait for that refresh cycle. If your Epic database is running on a certain cloud server and Intel releases a faster chipset, you can easily swap to a new cloud server with that chipset and get the benefits right away. instant from speed and reliability.

The offset of that won’t surprise many readers. Most healthcare software is not cloud-native, and some have a long way to go to get there. That has an impact on the ability, effort, and cost to get the most out of the cloud.

IT admins can leverage on-demand cloud services for non-production systems – to pay only for what they’re using. And the overall resiliency of customers’ systems is improved at a lower cost by implementing disaster recovery solutions.

Some of our customers also report more consistent uptime, easier integration of third-party applications, and easier real-time data integration. But it’s also important to play a key role in IT staffing’s efforts as you go along – our clients find they need to invest in a skill set shift towards more capabilities more cloud-based.

With each live stream to organize interaction, our customers can feel the excitement – ​​and more than just a measure of relief when everything goes according to plan. I see a growing recognition in the healthcare IT community for the opportunities available to their organizations in the cloud, whether they choose to be private, public, or hybrid.

Q. You say organizations with cloud information technology can gain insights from their data to better serve their patients and staff. Why can’t they do it with on-premises IT? Or how do you think it could be done better with cloud technology?

ONE. Great question. Most customers may not face this problem now, but eventually – and we believe, soon – they will face restrictions on their ability to use the data they are storing, unless they move to the cloud.

The wave of data coming from remote patient monitoring, wearables, other in-home devices – all of which will slow down the data set generated by EHRs. To the extent that customers want to move beyond pilot projects to machine learning and artificial intelligence, on-premise solutions will quickly become obsolete.

What we’ve seen from our work – which includes projects like identifying hundreds of millions of patient notes – is that advanced analytics simply wouldn’t be possible without the cloud. You can certainly store petabytes of data on-premises, but you can’t quickly perform modeling and analysis that requires significant scale and immediacy.

You can try things, fail quickly, and try again until you get the right result. This is what the scale of the cloud infrastructure offers you.

Q. You also suggest that cloud information technology opens up a whole new set of tools that can disrupt the product development process. What are the tools, and how do they break better?

ONE. Yes, there are a lot of great tools out there. For starters, we’ll be citing cloud and digital native tools from companies like Microsoft and their Power Platform services, as well as Amazon and the Honeycode and AWS approaches for their people. These tools enable frontline healthcare workers to directly build products that integrate into the cloud-enabled infrastructure.

We fully believe that this should and will happen. Clinicians are a relatively untapped population for incredible ideas on how to improve things. They are living with challenges every day.

Our thinking is that we should democratize healthcare IT innovation by training doctors to build their own solutions, securely and reliably, with development tools. appropriate development and technical support. We think this is a powerful idea and will usher in unprecedented innovation in healthcare.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.


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