The healthcare sector has operated at the forefront of technological innovations since the last century. New technologies have helped surmount some of the most challenging diseases and conditions with repeatable success.
The adoption of these new technologies has been confined to the development of new care procedures and pharmaceutical innovations. By taking a page out of this history of healthcare as a discipline, care providers can unlock new paradigms of efficiency and care delivery with the mature technologies of today. In the spectrum of such technologies, cloud is of crucial interest for the modern healthcare organizations – especially as it is enabling care providers to create patient-centric care delivery models. The growing relevance of cloud in building the modern healthcare organization is evident in the numbers – the healthcare cloud market has grown to $35bn in 2022, and cloud is expected to create $170bn in value in the healthcare industry by 2030.
See how cloud can be leveraged to rebuild the healthcare organization for patient-centric care delivery by activating high-value use cases.
A roadmap for rebuilding the healthcare organization with cloud
In the legacy healthcare organization, the IT department operated on the sidelines to support care delivery and other back-office processes. It played the role of an enabler, and providers looked at IT as a cost center that was nested within the organization.
In the modern healthcare organization, this cost center approach is not relevant anymore, and IT plays a more integral role in care delivery. Such an organization has cloud at its foundations, and is more agile, transparent, and scalable, and delivers its services in a patient-centric fashion.
However, running the healthcare organization on the cloud is not a goal, but rather a means – to activate new models of care delivery (like continuous care, mobile experiences, and smart services for clinicians), which simplify and accelerate care delivery for all stakeholders. Hence, providers must devise a value-oriented journey to the cloud. Here are the foundational steps that will be inevitable in this journey.
Step 1: Storing and managing patient data more effectively in the cloud
Today, patient data resides in siloes and is distributed across multiple media – like paper, imaging reports, and digital applications. Cloud enables the healthcare organization to eliminate these siloes, and create a single, 360-degree view of a patient by storing their data at a single location.
As a result, clinicians and patients alike, have access to all their medical history in a single place. This significantly reduces the time spent by clinicians in gathering context about the patient. Moreover, it simplifies the patient experience and eliminates the need to carry multiple documents to care providers through every visit. Finally, it also enables more significant remote care interventions in follow-up scenarios, reducing footfall in hospitals, and mitigating the need to visit hospitals in person.
By storing patient data in the cloud, care providers can build modular services atop it to activate mobile experiences for patients, and decision support for clinicians. To move the patient data to the cloud, care providers must consider its regulatory implications, and devise a strategy that enables uninterrupted care delivery through the transition period. Cloud-based patient data management is a foundational capability – therefore, care providers need to assess the use cases they intend to build atop this capability before they embark on such a transition.
Step 2: Cloud-based healthcare information systems (HIS) to build seamless patient journeys
The next foundational capability that care providers must focus on, is the implementation of a cloud-based HIS to drive back-office and front-door processes. These include appointment scheduling, billing for appointments and diagnostics services, staff management, hospital asset management, and communications.
Cloud-based HIS eliminates the friction from these processes, thereby speeding workflows, and removing friction from the patient experience. Finance teams can seamlessly find billing codes for precise procedures, clinicians can order diagnostic services for patients with web and mobile apps, and patients can book appointments and services without having to reach out to call centers.
This significantly reduces administrative costs and enables care providers to build a connected patient journey. Cloud-based HIS can also be integrated with other systems like EHRs and ERPs using APIs to activate an integrated healthcare operating model by organizations.
Step 3: Improving transparency in core care-delivery procedures with digital experiences
Finally, one of the most important outcomes that can be achieved with the cloud, is the ability to connect physical and digital worlds with IoT devices, APIs, and connected assets. In healthcare, these capabilities can be used to create more transparent, and continuous care delivery procedures.
For instance, care providers can deliver real-time updates on the status of a procedure or surgery to the patient’s family through mobile experiences. Similarly, clinicians can make meaningful interventions in continuous care by observing patient data from medtech devices. Moreover, patient behavior can be logged through mobile apps to gain deeper insights into their health – thereby enabling better outcomes for the patients.
Such capabilities can enable providers to differentiate themselves and build new revenue streams through these services.
Summing it up
Cloud is becoming an essential element of the modern healthcare organization, especially as it helps them tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the industry today. However, healthcare providers must recognize that building a cloud-based organization should not be their end goal. Instead, cloud is a foundational capability, into which targeted investments must be made. This requires decision-makers to identify key opportunity areas and build a high-ROI cloud roadmap. This will enable rapid recovery of investments, and pave the way for further innovations with technologies like generative AI, machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
As healthcare providers will typically lack the technology expertise to navigate through a cloud transition, engaging a trusted technology partner will be the best way ahead for most. It will help them achieve assured success with the cloud, and build on the learnings of cloud journeys similar to their own. With a thriving technology foundation and expert technology partners, the next frontier of care delivery is now within arm’s reach for care providers.