Guest Column | March 8, 2016

Finding Comfort In The Cloud

Data Governance, Security Concerns Drive Adoption Of Private Cloud Solutions

By Joel Rydbeck, Healthcare Strategy Director, Infor Healthcare

“The purpose of business is to create a customer” – Peter Drucker

Change doesn’t always come in beautifully wrapped packages. Uber created an on-demand transportation market that didn’t exist before, but the process was violently disruptive for the taxi industry.

Computing in the cloud is no different. Forty-nine percent of 150-or-more-bed hospitals in the U.S. run Infor as their ERP (HIMSS Analytics 2015). Two years ago, most hospitals didn’t want to speak with Infor about cloud, today 56 percent of new Infor hospital ERP deployments are in the cloud.

Because cloud computing drives down operating costs, this has enabled small critical access hospitals to run industrial strength healthcare-built financial and supply chain systems to power their work. This means their EMR’s surgical instrumentation management systems are initiating just-in-time order processing because they’re directly wired into their purchasing system, which in turn means hospitals can reduce inventory, increasing capital and cash on hand so they can invest further in patient care.

At the end of the day, it isn’t really about cloud. It isn’t about technology either. It’s about delivering improved patient care — and doing it so well that patients become lifetime customers and look to health organizations to improve their quality of life. By transitioning to the cloud, hospitals are able to standardize and update their systems opening them to improved levels of interoperability with newer and more disruptive systems. Some of these systems may only support the latest integration standards. This trend is snowballing and accelerating and will soon blow far past anything we know as cloud today.

According to Google’s search analytics, FHIR now outperforms HL7 in search terms by three ton one. FHIR offers the promise of improved and more flexible data exchange, in the case of some EMR vendors more open API’s, and in the case of all of us a broader path to interoperability.

Over the next few years, I fully expect health organizations to migrate their interoperability platforms into the cloud. This enables the integration discussion to elevate; application owners and business analysts can reach out to each other to connect their systems without getting mired in technical detail. All of this still happens in an even more scalable, reliable, and managed fashion.

By shifting data to the cloud doors start to fly open for additional storage and processing capabilities. Imagine electronifying and streamlining patient registration like UMC Hackensack has done. Or throw a switch and have a machine learning engine start analyzing all your clinical interoperability traffic — for the past four years. What kinds of insights would you glean? What about throwing another switch to semantically overlay your data and enable employees to answer basic questions like: How many patients visited my radiology labs yesterday? Which floor of my hospital costs me the most — right this minute?

Today, this could mean throwing a switch, allowing your nurse scheduling solution to monitor patient admissions and dynamically schedule nurses based on admitted DRG’s. Patients would have enough nurses, who wouldn’t be overworked, patient satisfaction would rise, and lifetime customers would be created.

This isn’t about technology, it isn’t about cloud, this isn’t even about systems; it’s about creating so much value for our patients that they see healthcare as helping them improve the quality of their life.