Guest Column | October 7, 2020

Healthcare 2.0 And The Power Of The Cloud

By Todd Stonestrom, Infor


Current events, rapid market changes, and intensified scrutiny on healthcare systems and patient care have created an urgent need to accelerate industry transformation.

The past several months has placed a magnifying glass squarely on every aspect of healthcare systems and patient care. Whether it’s supply chain gaps, heightened awareness and protocols around infection control, or concerns about financial viability in an era of lowered elective surgeries and unknown reimbursements, the times are begging for transformation.

Add to that the industry mandates around interoperability and the CMS, HHS Patient Access proposed rule, and there is more evidence that it is no longer sustainable for varied functions that power the health system to continue to operate in siloes. Instead, the mission of all health systems and caregivers – patient care – depends on the integration of operational and clinical data. To do this, healthcare organizations must start deploying their systems in the cloud.

Competition Becomes Cooperation

While it may seem that healthcare leaders can sometimes appear to have competing priorities around resources, leaders do coalesce around one simple goal: quality, affordable care.

Connecting clinical and operational systems creates a single source of truth across functions and enables the smart use of real-time data. Kickstarted by the proliferation of the EHR, that information, used the right way, can improve diagnosis and further personalize treatments. At the staffing level, responsive scheduling, combined with patient acuity levels, matches care staff to patient need. Operationally, applied analytics optimize financial, supply chain, and HR functions.

Security And Flexibility In The Cloud

The cloud brings industry-specialized solutions in a pay-as-you-go model. Any organization, of any size, is provided leading-edge technology through automated updates, and new version releases. All of that functionality and power is readily usable, no matter what the technical abilities of staff.

Healthcare is, and will always be, about people. Moving on-premise legacy systems to the cloud has already enabled many healthcare organizations to rapidly and effectively move large numbers of staff to work remotely. As essential and now non-essential workers return to facilities, that same cloud-based workforce management system can easily scale to ensure operational and clinical continuity.

Another very visible example of cloud flexibility was the ability of clinics and hospitals being able to pivot quickly to telemedicine. This means not only safely evaluating and treating patients, but also providing peace of mind to those who need care but may be hesitant to enter a facility. Beyond the pandemic, this accelerated leap to telemedicine should help lay the foundation for a more stable future, by proving there is a way to virtually connect the complex data needed to treat individual patient need.

Cloud deployment also provides flexibility to accelerate the delivery of predictive dashboards, so leaders have access to up-to-the-minute reporting on crucial operational data. This allows insights into vendor contracts, cost outliers, and even ways to streamline staff deployment.

Protecting The Health And Safety Of The System

One of the biggest concerns we hear from healthcare organizations is the perceived risk of collecting growing volumes of personal patient information. In looking at cloud deployment, it is as important to look for industry-specific and redundant security protocols that not only protect patient identities but also proprietary -and often competitive - business data. It is also important to trust that the platform hosting this critical, sensitive data is developed and managed by a partner who implements rigorous protections against the relentless threat of hacking, as well as any internal threats for unauthorized data access.

Moving from an on-premise system to the cloud fulfills on the promise of better patient care and affordability. Connecting role-based data to the right stakeholder, while reducing administrative burden, simply allows organizations to put more focus on the bedside.

In times of uncertainty, it’s even more important for provider organizations across the care continuum to look to the cloud as a trusted path to resiliency, as well as a way to consistently foster innovation and agility.

To learn more about the topics covered in this article, read this white paper from Infor and AWS, Be resilient in the face of healthcare changes