Between technological advances and patient expectations, healthcare providers find themselves in the middle of a digital healthcare revolution. What once was an analog world, is now transforming into an online highway, fully equipped with new tools and new ways of providing care. These digital healthcare tools make many aspects of practicing medicine easier by allowing for more medical care to happen outside the office setting and giving care teams more access to data.
And while this technology is creating efficiencies, privacy and security concerns around sensitive patient data have slowed the adoption of these tools. To ensure a successful and forward-thinking approach to digital tools, healthcare providers need the proper infrastructure – one that fosters agility and growth.
The proliferation of digital healthcare tools
The increased popularity of the mobile phone and medical apps has made digital healthcare tools such as telemedicine and IoT more accessible to care teams and their patients. Gone are the days of playing “phone tag”. Now through the use of patient portals, routine tasks, such as reporting test results, addressing questions, and scheduling appointments, can all be done online. These tools give patients a sense of control over their care, while in turn, empowering care teams and making administrating care that much easier and more accurate.
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With IoT, the remote monitoring of patients has made great strides for those with chronic diseases. Doctors can access real-time data, improving decision making and leading to more accurate diagnoses and better treatments. Monitoring devices also give patients more control over their own health. Having a better understanding of their treatment plan and more open communication with their care team creates a more productive partnership. A recent article in HealthTech Magazine, Why Healthcare Organizations Should Embrace Microsoft Azure[i], explains how a cloud-based platform is enhancing provider access to healthcare information. “A chronic-care patient can now be monitored at home via a wearable device, and data collected from that wearable can feed into the Azure cloud. Layering on analytics would help healthcare entities harness meaningful and actionable data to positively improve outcomes, prevent re-admissions and reduce the cost of healthcare.”
Looking to the cloud for digital healthcare solutions
Healthcare has the opportunity to grow leaps and bounds by utilizing the latest in medical technology. But many healthcare companies ask the question: how do we make this possible and where does all the data get stored?
One company at the forefront of the healthcare IT movement is Allscripts. Their cloud-based solution offers the same capabilities as their on-premises version, but enables faster implementation and lower annual upgrade costs, helping organizations leverage the technology with less dependence on internal IT resources. The impact of their solution has shown to reduce the cost of care delivery, enable physicians to provide more informed patient care, and drive clinical outcomes to improve patient satisfaction and confidence in their care.
Moving to cloud computing has many benefits including cost efficiencies and scalability. It is easy to add and remove storage and technology solutions based on the needs of the hospital or healthcare provider. The cloud also alleviates on-premises infrastructure requirements, adding to the cost savings.
At the same time, “the cloud” can sometimes sound and feel ominous, especially when it comes to privacy and security. Allscripts recently stated[ii] “Healthcare providers must be able to exchange patient data and coordination activities across the care community. They need interoperable, secure technologies that enable compliance with multiple industry standards.”
Health data is especially sensitive and needs to be protected from cyber threats. Compliance is especially imperative with the HIPPA and HITECH ACT. Microsoft does not take security or compliance lightly, creating strict guidelines with Azure to ensure the safety of health information, including undergoing audits by accredited independent auditors. Azure has the largest compliance portfolio in the industry with over 63 certifications.
Engaging with the right technology partner
Healthcare organizations are often strapped for time and resources, and aren’t necessarily equipped to handle the challenges that come with moving to a cloud-based solution. This is why engaging a technology partner, such as TierPoint, can help providers take full advantage of a solution like Microsoft Azure.
TierPoint’s managed Azure solution helps improve agility, drive performance, and manage risk. TierPoint offers multi-tenant, private, and hybrid cloud solutions; disaster recovery, business continuity design, implementation, migration, and optimization.
Getting started is often the hardest and most overwhelming step. TierPoint offers initial environment assessment and performance recommendations within a customized Azure cloud environment. From there, if the company chooses, they will work with their provider and care teams to create a solution that addresses everyone’s needs. Empower your care team by providing them with the right tools, backed by an industry-leading cloud-based solution.
David McKenney serves as TierPoint’s Azure product evangelist and subject matter expert in customer, partner and industry influencer interactions. He oversees the strategy, product rollout and technical direction of TierPiont’s Azure line. Dave is a 15-year veteran of the industry and enjoys wearing the hat of ‘problem solver’ and jack-of-all-technical-trades.