Healthcare systems have complex technology needs — due in part to the massive software systems involved. Clinical software takes many forms: electronic health record (EHR) systems, lab reporting, dictation/transcription, multiple radiology systems, and many others. Then there’s the financial side, with revenue cycle management (RCM) and billing software. Add in communications (e.g., messaging and email), and staff members find themselves logging into multiple programs all day long — while manually looking up data.
The web of systems is complex and works best when integrated. Since no software does it all, health systems can minimize time spent and frustrations when making these vital programs interoperable and optimized for user experience. But when that’s done, there’s a high pace of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare, which adds kinks to the process. Each new facility or health system has its own software vendors. Even with the same vendor, multiple practices or hospitals within a health system can be using different versions of the same program.
Whether a healthcare organization wants to make its software programs interoperable or just make them more accessible for users across health systems, one of the keys is moving that data to the cloud. Not only does the cloud improve data accessibility, but users can also leverage the data more optimally for research and analytics across the entire platform.
Healthcare Data to the Cloud
Of course, moving on-premise computing to the cloud takes time and effort, as well as thoughtful planning to consider how the organization wants to use the data. Partners like Maven Wave are ready to guide organizations through this complex process to ensure everything is well planned and carried out properly.
To that end, we thought it would be helpful to share a framework for how a project like this is envisioned and completed when moving data to the cloud.
Phase 1: Education
Data architects and project planners meet with a multidisciplinary team from the healthcare system to learn more about its needs and goals. Maven Wave experts want to share with the health system potential cloud strategies, architecture and application mapping, and total cost of ownership details, compared to its current costs. Only with comprehensive information can the system determine what works best for them.
Phase 2: Evaluate
Maven Wave provides a Proof of Concept (POC) showing the business benefits of migrating the health system to the cloud. We also complete a disaster recovery plan to show how an organization’s valuable data can be best protected as well as a risk assessment to determine and address potential threats to the organization.
Phase 3: Design
Once the foundation is in place and the healthcare organization understands the benefits and process, Maven Wave’s team plans the migration by assigning data architecture components and applications to the migration waves. The cloud foundations a healthcare organization might use are:
- network and system design,
- security design,
- identity and access management,
- billing design,
- and monitoring design.
Phase 4: Launch
Only after the migration is complete and solution elements are in place can the project launch. This includes automating the deployment and configuration with scalable DevOps cloud platforms and migrating the data center operations. Of course, this is all done while maintaining business continuity — and with risk reduction plans in place.
Phase 5: Support
Moving data to the cloud is not a one-and-done process. Like with all technology, maintenance and support are vital to success. Components will need occasional adjusting to optimize costs and fine-tune the system. Data architecture also needs reviewing to confirm that it’s enabling growth and performing in an optimal way. If necessary, data architects will also help a healthcare system transition from infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to “platform as a service” (PaaS) to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities.
The timing of this process greatly depends on the health system’s needs, drive, and readiness level.
The Problem with Healthcare and the Cloud
With so many mergers in healthcare, one of the unique issues is the difficulty with interoperability and accessibility across a health system. It’s frustrating, for example, when a doctor can’t find a patient’s EKG done the week before because the doctor doesn’t have access to it in the EHR. Repeating that study is not only time-consuming but costly (i.e., a waste of resources).
Yet each health system has vendor contracts, and many of these vendors are not cloud-native — or even available on the cloud. Incorporating them in a cloud strategy requires a different plan, one that is not available as an out-of-the-box solution.
Fortunately, Maven Wave is well-versed in migrating sensitive healthcare data to the cloud, working with vendors to get them cloud ready and creating automated pathways to eliminate the many manual steps users currently need to access data to properly treat patients. Even with multiple systems and vendors providing the same type of software, Maven Wave can craft those connections and centralize them to share across the entire organization.
Shared access to patient records makes a world of difference in healthcare. For patients, it means there is one centralized view of their records to get a comprehensive understanding of their care, making the next steps easier and safer to accurately determine. Clinicians can gain access to a complete chart, providing a holistic view to connect the dots and make needed and informed treatment recommendations. For staff members, it cuts back on the confusion of trying to find and share patient information and allows them to spend time on higher-level tasks.
Moving to the cloud enables a health system to optimize the massive amounts of data they are collecting — for research and to better serve its patient population. Creating a cloud-based system isn’t easy, but it’s the future — and that future is now.
To learn more about migrating your health system’s data to the cloud, reach out to one of our experts.
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