The shift to cloud platforms is leading to more innovation and collaboration
ORLANDO ― Cloud computing is doing more than helping healthcare providers save expenses on storage. Healthcare providers speaking at Sunday’s Cloud Computing Forum said the platform is helping to speed innovation.
“The cloud is a game-changer that enables us to partner with people around the world,” Intermountain’s director of innovation, Todd Dunn, said here at the Healthcare IT News Cloud Computing Forum as part of a panel discussion. His group meets with 150 startups a year as it looks for innovations that it can help develop and ultimately use to improve care delivery, if not commercialize.
Intermountain is tapping the cloud to build teams large enough to solve problems that it otherwise could not assemble.
“Harness the world for $20,000 – that’s the changing nature of business models in healthcare,” Dunn said.
He pointed, for example, to work Intermountain undertook to test and implement a Tissue Analytics app that made it possible for patients and doctors to share images of wounds and more accurately track their size and color than would have been possible if a human used a ruler and his or her color judgment.
Richard Stroup, the director of informatics at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, shared work that uses Microsoft Azure Cloud Services. The program is working to save the lives of at-risk infants with a tablet-based app that tracks patients after they leave the hospital.
After the first year, Children’s Mercy monitored 68 patients. All of them completed second stage surgery, with no interstage mortality. Stroup said that based on historical data, they would have expected six to 12 mortalities in that timeframe.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services built an analytics platform in the cloud, and among the achievements was reducing $6 million it was spending on infrastructure but only getting $1 million worth of actual services, according to Jessica Kahn, director of the data and systems group at CMS.
“We’re building the data warehouse out now, and one of the things that will be really transformational is having external APIs for system-to-system connections so people can use the data,” Kahn added.
Stroup said that Children’s Mercy has opened its application as a cloud service to Seattle Children’s and that just two weeks ago, Cincinnati Children’s signed up to use it as well.
John Houston, vice president of information security and privacy and associate counsel at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that looking back to the year 2000, about 90 percent of software was on-premise and today probably about 75 percent of apps are still on-premise because they are legacy — but only about 20 percent of the contracts he negotiates now are for on-premises.
So a widespread shift to the cloud is underway.
“The tools exist now to enable experimentation,” said Mark Johnston, director of global business development for healthcare and life sciences at Amazon Web Services.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.