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GE Healthcare, Intel Partner to Improve Digital Imaging Technology

December 28, 2017
by Heather Landi
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GE Healthcare announced an expanded partnership with Intel that aims to enhance patient care and reduce costs for hospitals and health systems using digital imaging solutions, deployed via edge and cloud technologies.

Together, the companies anticipate their solutions will offer greater hospital efficiency through increased asset performance, reduced patient risk and dosage exposure – with faster image processing – and expedited time to diagnosis and treatment.

Through the expanded partnership, GE Healthcare will use the new Intel Xeon Scalable platform with an aim towards lowering the total cost of ownership for imaging devices by up to 25 percent. Paired with GE Healthcare’s imaging solutions, the Intel Xeon Scalable platform may improve radiologists’ reading productivity compared to the prior generation by reducing first image display down to under two seconds and full study load times down to under eight seconds, according to a press release.

“Radiologist workdays can be enhanced by use of real-time data analytics and increased performance,” Jonathan Ballon, vice president Internet of Things Group at Intel, said in a statement. “The combination of innovative imaging solutions from GE Healthcare with the breakthrough speed of Intel processors promises great advances in imaging that could make a real difference in patient care.”

Building on their 20-year relationship, GE Healthcare and Intel are also investing in a new digital development lab in downtown Chicago. The Joint Performance Acceleration Lab (JPAL) will be dedicated to the development, testing and validation of new innovations across a wide spectrum of GE Healthcare imaging hardware and software solutions.

“Some of our longest-standing modalities are now being infused with the latest in digital technologies – which requires security, precision, speed and efficiency,” David Hale, senior vice president of enterprise imaging digital solutions at GE Healthcare, said in a statement. “To ensure we are delivering the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost in this digital age, GE Healthcare is partnering with Intel to co-develop on and off premise solutions through our new lab and accelerate these with the Intel Xeon Scalable platform.”

As part of the expanded GE Healthcare and Intel relationship, the two companies will use the workload-optimized Wind River Titanium Control software virtualization platform to enable hospitals and health systems to deploy more secure, edge solutions that improve agility and reduce operating costs in healthcare environments that require real-time performance and continuous service availability.

“The combination of powerful Intel processing at the edge with Wind River’s virtualization technology allows GE Healthcare to deliver a high availability end-to-end secure healthcare solution that is game changing for the industry,” Jim Douglas, president, Wind River, said in a prepared statement. “Through this collaboration, healthcare applications can achieve the uptime, security and low latency that is required for critical services installed at the healthcare edge.”


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NIH STRIDES Toward the Commercial Cloud

August 29, 2018
by David Raths, Contributing Editor
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Initial agreement will allow NIH researchers to make use of Google Cloud’s storage, computing and machine learning technologies

The National Institutes of Health has launched an initiative to give NIH biomedical researchers access to the most advanced commercial cloud computing resources.

The STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) Initiative launches with Google Cloud as its first industry partner and aims to reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances.

The NHI said the initial agreement with Google Cloud creates a cost-efficient framework for its researchers, as well as researchers at more than 2,500 academic institutions across the nation receiving NIH support, to make use of Google Cloud’s storage, computing, and machine learning technologies.

In addition, the partnership will involve collaborations with NIH’s Data Commons pilot — a group of projects testing new tools and methods for working with and sharing data in the cloud — and enable the establishment of training programs for researchers at NIH-funded institutions on how to use Google Cloud Platform.

In line with NIH’s first-ever Data Science Strategic Plan, released in June, STRIDES will establish additional partnerships to broaden access to services and tools, including training for researchers to learn about the latest cloud tools and technologies. Services are expected to become available to the NIH-supported community after a series of pilot activities to refine policies and test and assess implementation approaches.

A central tenet of STRIDES is that data made available through these partnerships will incorporate standards endorsed by the biomedical research community to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). NIH’s initial efforts will focus on making NIH high-value data sets more accessible through the cloud, leveraging partnerships to take advantage of data-related innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and experimenting with new ways to optimize technology-intensive research.

“By launching STRIDES, we clearly show our strong commitment to putting the most advanced cloud computing tools in the hands of scientists,” said Andrea T. Norris, NIH Chief Information Officer and director of NIH’s Center for Information Technology, in a prepared statement. “Beyond our partnership with Google Cloud, we will seek to add more industry partners to assure that NIH continues to be well poised to support the future of biomedical research.”


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CIO Survey: Slow Migration to the Cloud Due to Ongoing Security, Privacy Concerns

May 30, 2018
by Heather Landi
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Hospital information executives cite cloud hosting as one of their organizations’ top priorities, yet the transition to the cloud is happening slowly as many chief information officers (CIOs) continue to have concerns about compliance as well as data security and privacy, according to a new survey from Datica, a company that provides a cloud-based digital health platform.

The 2018 CIO Cloud Perspective Survey, titled “Healthcare Cloud Take-off: Waiting for the Fog to Clear,” sought to take an in-depth look at the current state of the cloud from the seat of the CIO of leading hospital organizations. The report examines why CIOs mark cloud migration as a pressing priority and provides details on why shifts to the cloud are happening slowly.

Datica’s Hospital CIO Survey was conducted around the 2018 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in Las Vegas, and with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) CIO members. CIO leaders from 175 leading healthcare organizations participated in the survey.

Among the respondents, 17.7 percent work with healthcare organizations that have more than 50 percent of the existing software infrastructure remotely hosted or in the cloud. Nearly 15 percent of those who took the survey say 25 to 50 percent of their infrastructure is cloud-based.

About 55 percent of respondents reported that they do not host their primary electronic health record (EHR) system outside of their data center; about 35 percent said they are using the EHR vendor’s hosted offering and about 10 percent are using a third-party hosting solution.

Even though new tools and changes in the regulatory environment have made cloud a safe option for storing sensitive information, including Protected Health Information (PHI), the survey shows that the majority of survey respondents do not have a strategy for moving their data centers to the cloud.

Nearly 60 percent of those who took the survey place cloud hosting in their organizations’ Top 10 priorities and 30 percent list cloud hosting as one of their organizations’ Top 5 priorities, however, only about 30 percent have a strategy in place. Twenty percent of the survey respondents shared that cloud hosting did not hold a present priority.

What’s more, the report notes that healthcare organizations’ current efforts to migrate data to the cloud is akin to the experience of waiting at the airport. “Healthcare organizations are not 100 percent convinced that cloud storage is safe for the PHI of their patients and therefore remain grounded for takeoff,” the report states.

Almost 40 percent of respondents said they don’t see a clear business value in migrating to the cloud, and an even larger portion (50 percent) of those surveyed cited concerns about security as a primary worry when it comes to cloud migration.

A move to the cloud is slowly accelerating for a variety of reasons, and evidence shows one is simply demand. Healthcare professionals need access to simple-to-use secure messaging; applications that will improve patient safety, and the ability to analyze data for research, business, and patient care purposes.

The presence of some of tech’s heaviest hitters at HIMSS18—Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Google—also signaled an indication of cloud’s importance to healthcare, if not at the current moment, in the very near future.

Healthcare systems that have taken an on-ramp to the cloud are still in the minority, but the survey respondents who have made the cloud shift a reality are learning what works and what doesn’t, according to the report.

In 2015, and prior to cloud hosting becoming a mainstream topic in the medical industry, a paper from the Journal of Healthcare Informatics Research concluded that hospitals of all sizes would use cloud-based Healthcare Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Platforms to deliver healthcare information services with low cost, high clinical value, and high usability. Now, three years later, roughly 20 percent of hospitals have adopted those cloud-based infrastructures.

Of those executives who completed the survey, roughly 34 percent of those healthcare technology professionals surveyed said their organizations presently use the cloud to develop applications or manage PHI. But, of those, the majority (nearly 64 percent), expect to have two to five internally-developed, cloud-based applications deployed in the next two years. About 70 percent of respondents are using the cloud to create applications for data analytics—other purposes included population health (46 percent), community care applications (37 percent), and applications specific to a clinical specialty (36 percent).

About 32 percent are using the cloud to build machine learning applications for healthcare, which are likely to open the door for the many possibilities that artificial intelligence (AI).

The report also found that compliance, security, and privacy are the three primary concerns for those hospital CIOs who have considered implementing digital health technology from outside vendors. More than half of the respondents (52.5 percent) have concerns, and slightly less than half say they are comfortable assessing compliance of vendors (44 percent). A mere 3.43 percent stated no concern for cloud-hosted applications because they weren’t allowed.

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The Value of Cloud Fax for Hospitals and Health Systems

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For better or worse, faxing in the healthcare environment persists today.

Because so many entities that your company deals with regularly still use fax, your organization has to keep using this 1980s communication protocol as well. But, keeping your organization operating on an old, analog fax infrastructure is likely creating real business problems for you — including:

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