Cloud is a new computing paradigm that can provide a variety of services to aid the patient and doctor community. It creates an expansive healthcare infrastructure at a competitive price point, informs Satish Jadhav, Director – IoT, Embedded Sales Group Intel South Asia in conversation with Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)
What are the challenges encountered in cloud computing in healthcare space?
The healthcare sector is definitely moving towards technology adoption, it’s mired with numerous challenges including budgetary constraints, ageing population and rise in lifestyle related ill-health. Technology and mobile phones have brought in a revolution in the way we live and the health care industry can significantly benefit from this revolution. Cloud is a new computing paradigm that can provide a variety of services to aid the patient and doctor community and create an expansive healthcare infrastructure at a competitive price point. Today, with a robust configuration of advanced IT technologies, from software as a service (SaaS) to managed hosting and hardware platforms, medical organisations can benefit in multiple ways from cloud computing.
What are the key benefits of cloud computing in healthcare?
Cost effectiveness is a key for hospitals to succeed. Even the largest hospitals cannot match the cost effectiveness of massively scaled cloud providers and solutions without investing heavily in hardware, software and resource. In addition cloud computing brings in efficiency with easy anytime access at relatively low capex. Personal record keeping, hospital management and increasing hospital reach through remote infrastructure based on cloud can benefit this sector immensely.
How much should healthcare industry spend on IT, out of which how much should be towards the cloud?
Healthcare industry needs urgent investment in technology to bridge gaps between rural and urban as well provide higher quality of healthcare services.
Industry is shifting from a fee-for- service to an accountable care model, which makes hospitals to invest in IT to mitigate financial risks. Investments in data analytics and modern clinical infrastructure are the foundation for hospitals to seamlessly deliver healthcare services across their inpatient, outpatient & alternative care sites.
Hospitals cloud investments and in general IT spend will make them better equipped to cater to the ever growing population while delivering the best in class healthcare services.
Many hospitals invest in private cloud; do you think safety of data is the major concern?
Several healthcare executives/ organisations have concerns about data access, privacy, cost, and resort to maintain medical under lock and key as a safer bet. The IT support needs to be efficiently managed EHR under security and compliance regulations. This can easily overwhelm even the most IT-savvy medical practices. And data breaches are becoming more common. As EHR mandates and regulations and standards are changing the practice management landscape, hospitals large and small have to adapt to these changes. Cloud computing both, private or public can definitely make a difference. Depending on the cost effectiveness and risk factors hospitals have adapted the cloud services.
Globally, Intel along with CareCloud and Terremark helped South Florida Medicine, a multi-specialty practice to move from their in-house cost prohibitive IT system to CareCloud healthcare IT platform which helped them consolidate their date and workflow for multiple locations. Practice management is life blood for medical organisations and moving on to cloud helps quick scalability on a single practice platform.
What are the reasons for many healthcare ventures, start-ups shifting to cloud?
With changing times medical practice needs advanced software and hardware to manage medical practice however IT infrastructure is hard to maintain as it requires a different domain expertise besides being an expensive proposition. Healthcare cloud computing services on the other hand are robust, scalable and flexible and aid healthcare ventures in every aspect of their business growth. Growing startups and healthcare business need rapid reporting and data access. With security, compliance, privacy and coding being a serious concern in this industry reputed cloud computing providers are the best way forward to grow business. Companies like Intel are collaborating with CloudCare and Terremark globally to provide the best cloud computing infrastructure for healthcare. The collaboration enables data centers, technology platforms and infrastructure with servers powered by Intel ® Xeon ® processors that ensure all data are monitored and secured by meeting the highest standards of compliance requirements.
What according to you should be done to radically change the healthcare service delivery with ICT intervention? Is your company doing something in this regard?
Right collaboration is the strategy to build a robust health care infrastructure. Combining right managed services that monitor compliance and governance, robust servers run on processors that provide hardware assisted security and powerful processing power and best application providers who can streamline clinical, financial and administrative management will be the key to a radically efficient healthcare management system. In India and globally Intel is using this strategy to build partnerships that can transform the healthcare business using technology as an enabler while delivering a better customer service experience.
Using Cloud Computing in sensitive healthcare field how do you combat risks like hardware/ software failure, network failure, security attacks and natural disasters?
As healthcare environment becomes more connected, safe, secure medical devices and networks are essential. Intel as technology leader believes, reliable and leading edge security should be built into every medical device from the hardware layer up.
With the creation of baseline Medical Device Innovation, Safety & Security (MDISS) standards, leading technology companies are working to address security and safety issue from IT perspective. Intel has also developed a platform approach based on Windriver’s hypervisor software, security technologies built into Intel multicore architecture and software solutions from Intel Security (formerly McAfee). The result is comprehensive approach to security at all levels from application layer to below the operating system and security technologies built into the hardware layer itself. A combination of best of breed technologies and collaboration with leading tech companies can certainly combat risks like hardware/ software failure, network failure, security attacks and natural disasters.
How useful would be digital adoption and cloud computing in rural healthcare?
The very low doctor patient ratio in India demands quicker adoption of digital infrastructure to enable reach of essential services to rural areas quickly. While urban India, has some of the best healthcare facilities with high adoption of technology, providing high quality of healthcare services. However, the scenario is completely different in rural India where the medical infrastructure lacks even the basic needs. Technology access for healthcare is still a faraway reality in remote areas therefore there is a need for sustained efforts from both the Government and private sector to create uniformity in healthcare technology adoption. Cloud technology can make healthcare applications like Electronic Record Keeping(EMR), Hospital Information system (HIS) and Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) possible. These in turn can be a valuable asset to rural healthcare system.
What is the next big thing happening at healthcare organisation by way of IT ?
Unprecedented global forces are transforming healthcare. This means that device manufacturers must adopt newer technologies that bring down compliance, privacy and security risks while delivering the best in class medical practice management. To succeed in this environment you need an architectural approach to technology that helps you meet new growth opportunities.