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Survey: Cloud Technologies Helping Healthcare Organizations Improve Productivity, Efficiency

September 23, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Ninety-five percent of current healthcare organization cloud infrastructure users are planning to increase their usage going forward, and among healthcare organizations not using cloud today, 58 percent of respondents said they are likely to do so in the next two years.

The survey results from SADA Systems survey of 300 healthcare IT professionals indicate that healthcare organizations are consistently adopting cloud-based IT infrastructure and apps. SADA Systems is a cloud solutions vendor.

Beyond just increased adoption, the survey results also indicate that among healthcare organizations using cloud technologies, many healthcare IT leaders at those organizations see cloud tech having an impact on patient care and patient satisfaction, as well as improving the organization’s productivity and efficiency.

According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents said cloud-based apps are improving patient satisfaction, while 55 percent said these tools were leading to better treatment. Another 54 percent believe cloud apps and tools used by their organizations are resulting in faster care, and 64 percent said they believe cloud technologies are helping their organizations improve productivity and efficiency for both staff and patients.

Within the healthcare industry, some healthcare IT professionals have expressed concerns about data security and patient privacy with cloud technologies. According to the survey, these concerns seem to be abating.

Among respondents who said they plan to increase their organization’s use of cloud infrastructure in the next two years, 61 percent cited increased confidence in the security and reliability of cloud providers as the primary reason. Half of the respondents said their organizations had experienced a security breach or patient privacy leak, however, less than 10 percent attributed the issue to their cloud provider. The healthcare organizations respondents cited employee error or lost device as the most common reason for a security breach.

The survey results also indicate that IT management and innovation are other areas where cloud is having a growing impact on healthcare organizations. One-third of healthcare IT professionals said cloud apps and tools allow them to better support patients and staff, and 23 percent said cloud enables greater control over the organization’s use of hardware and software. F

Furthermore, a little more than half said the increased use of cloud apps and tools allow them to be more innovative. Only 17 percent said cloud technologies allows them to deliver products and services faster.

Healthcare organizations are increasing their use of mobile devices with the survey results indicating that laptops (adopted by 88 percent of organizations), tablets (80 percent) and smartphones (77 percent) are most common. Most respondents (88 percent) have adopted laptops, while 80 percent have adopted tablets and 77 percent use smartphones. Wearables gaining traction in healthcare organizations as well with 24 percent of respondents reporting adoption of wearable technologies.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of respondents said mobile devices have improved communications with patients and other healthcare professionals, and 38 percent said remote access to information was the primary benefit.

Among respondents who have adopted cloud infrastructure, the top cloud infrastructure platforms are Microsoft (42 percent), Google (29 percent) and Amazon (27 percent).

As noted above, 95 percent of current healthcare organization cloud infrastructure users are planning to increase their usage going forward, with 65 percent citing its ability to decrease the burden on internal IT resources. Additionally, about two-thirds of those respondents believe cloud infrastructure is more cost-effective than traditional IT infrastructure.

A little less than half (45 percent) of healthcare organizations report using between six and 10 cloud apps. Email is the most popular cloud app, used by 68 percent of responding healthcare IT professionals, followed by apps for patient care (64 percent) and file sharing (55 percent).

Unsurprisingly, IT departments are the top users of cloud-based apps and tools, with 85 percent of healthcare organizations citing this department, followed by human resources as the next most consistent user (57 percent), with Finance and Marketing also cited as consistent users (at 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively).

And, of the survey respondents, 55 percent are using Microsoft technologies for mobile device management, with 27 percent using IBM. MobileIron (5 percent) were the third most common technology.

“Cloud-based IT infrastructure and applications are apparently providing healthcare organizations the opportunity to operate more efficiently, innovate faster and better engage so-called Millennials,” Tony Safoian, president and CEO at SADA Systems, said in a statement. “This is consistent with what we’re hearing from customers and partners. Cloud apps and tools that connect administrators to suppliers, doctors to patients and hospitals to staff are increasingly important – not only because they improve productivity and enhance patient care and satisfaction, but because they distinguish modern organizations from legacy providers, which is attractive to the younger generation of healthcare users.”

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Challenges and Opportunities: Genomic Data, Patient Care, and the Cloud

Please register to download


Patient care organizations are moving forward to connect the academic research arms of their universities to the patient care delivery operations in their clinical organizations. And that is leading both to opportunities and challenges.

On the opportunity side, genomic data is now actively being used for rare disease diagnosis; for cancer detection; for the tracking of mutations; and for medication selection for patients.

But the data challenges involved in working with genomic data, particularly in participating in any activities connecting genomics to patient care, are many, and complex.

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Microsoft Healthcare Rolls Out FHIR Server for Azure

November 13, 2018
by David Raths, Contributing Editor
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Developers could use the server to quickly ingest and manage FHIR datasets in the cloud

Microsoft Healthcare has announced the release of an open source project, FHIR Server for Azure, to offer developers access to software that supports the exchange and management of data in the cloud via the FHIR specification.

FHIR Server for Azure on GitHub provides support infrastructure for immediate provisioning in the cloud, including mapping to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and the ability to enable role-based access controls (RBAC), the company said. Developers can save time when they need to integrate a FHIR server into an application or use it as a foundation to customize a unique FHIR service.

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In August 2018, Microsoft joined with Amazon, Google, IBM and other companies in a commitment to remove barriers for the adoption of technologies that support healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI and especially FHIR.

Among the points the companies agreed to was: “We understand that achieving frictionless health data exchange is an ongoing process, and we commit to actively engaging among open source and open standards communities for the development of healthcare standards, and conformity assessment to foster agility to account for the accelerated pace of innovation.” 

As an example of how FHIR Server for Azure will work, Microsoft said developers can use the server to quickly ingest and manage FHIR datasets in a cloud environment, track and manage data access, and begin to normalize data for machine-learning workloads.

In August, Josh Mandel, chief architect of Microsoft Healthcare, noted that the company had added support for FHIR to the Dynamics Business Application Platform through the Dynamics 365 Healthcare Accelerator, and developed an open source Azure Security and Compliance Blueprint for Health Data and AI for deploying a FHIR-enabled, HIPAA/HITRUST environment in Azure.

 

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