Why the Future of Healthcare is Being Driven by Data

Healthcare DataBy Matt Watts, Director, Technology and Strategy EMEA at NetApp

 

Healthcare organisations are facing unprecedented demand for high quality, affordable clinical services.

 

This demand is driven by the ageing population, rapid advances in medical technology and pharmacology, and a better informed and litigious population.

 

Organisations globally are under immense cost pressure as consumers demand demonstrable value for their money. Fortunately, NetApp offers a number of solutions with the sole goal of delivering improvements in the delivery of patient care.

 

Working with a small ecosystem of specialist software/application developers, migration and transformation consultants, and experienced infrastructure partners, NetApp has developed 6 “out of the box” data centre solutions. These can be utilised and managed by either the healthcare organisation or by a service provider as a private cloud offering.

 

Legacy Application Retirement

A typical 600+ bed hospital will have between 350 and 600 stand alone clinical applications and databases that are not available on the intranet; in fact, many are no longer even used. Often these and are not managed or backed up centrally, which creates security and business risk. By consolidating the data and breaking the connection to the application, healthcare organisations can make data available to share with other departments and also reduce the significant cost of ongoing maintenance of the hardware, delivering a quick ROI.

 

Clinical Application Back Up and Business Continuity

The reliance on applications and need to access to all clinical data 24/7 increasingly burdens infrastructure management. In an effort to cope, a myriad of solutions, both proprietary and open, exist in all hospitals. By introducing an independent clinical repository that stores, secures, and manages these essential functions seamlessly, the risks are mitigated and significant cost reductions can be delivered to the organisation on a recurring basis.

 

Health Information Exchange

The drive towards sharing of key clinical, patient-centric information with external organisations continues unabated. This sharing allows healthcare organizations to ensure integration of social-care services and improve primary care delivery. We facilitate the sharing of this data through the creation of a consolidated storage platform, hosting the independent clinical repository that indexes all structured and unstructured data with the patient at the centre. This allows data to be shared both internally and externally to those clinicians that have the appropriate authority.

 

Clinical Information Security

The vast range of clinical applications creates a significant risk of security breach; thus, the emergence of many ransomware-type threats being experienced by healthcare organisations requires a robust response. This can be rapidly achieved through the introduction of a centralised and protected independent clinical repository. The financial penalties imposed nationally for noncompliance of statutory requirements are significant and becoming more frequently levied.

 

PACS Vendor Neutral Archive

Many healthcare organisations have embarked upon the creation of a vendor-neutral archive to store PACS  images and facilitate their viewing via multiple radiology application vendors. The migration of images from the proprietary vendor into the VNA is an extremely slow process, but even when complete, the concept of a silo of data remains and can only be viewed inside the radiology department, not shared across the enterprise or, indeed, externally. By introducing an independent clinical repository the images are stored, managed, secured, and maintained within the same environment as all other key clinical data. This consolidation lowers running costs and provides the clinical benefit of having a holistic view of the patient to aid decision making.

 

3D Imaging

Utilising rapidly emerging third-party technologies that enable the rendering of images on a variety of devices, from iOS/Android mobile telephones to tablets and PCs, has a significant impact on the ability of the clinician to view, in HD, 3D images relating to the patient either at the bedside, in the operating theatre/room, accident and emergency rooms, GP surgery, or in the patient’s home. Previously extremely expensive, stand-alone, proprietary viewers were required to look at the images, but this is no longer the case. The potential for 24/7 or follow-the-sun diagnostic services could create significant cost savings for healthcare organisations. This can only happen with the introduction of an independent clinical repository with a 24/7 availability guarantee.

 

The future for healthcare is to ensure that the vast quantity and variety of patient data created is accessible to inform rapid and accurate decisions.

 

If any of the topics I’ve dicussed are of interest, then please just get in touch.