Important Considerations when Transitioning to the Cloud
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Important Considerations when Transitioning to the Cloud

By Brent McDaniel, Senior VP, Information Technology & Infrastructure for Ciox

Brent McDaniel, Senior VP, Information Technology & Infrastructure for Ciox

2019 is a unique time to be in the health care technology field. Within the health care industry, we’re witnessing an unprecedented technological transformation in terms of patient data. As the world has changed, a once offline process of gathering paper records from hospitals and doctors’ offices has gone digital. Doctors, for the most part, fill out electronic health records for the patients they see. Insurance companies and medical research organizations want the data they acquire to be digital. Even patients would prefer an emailed health record to a few sheets of paper.

Today, we’re on a journey to revolutionize health data exchange. Organizations are now using AI and machine learning to turn offline records into shareable, searchable digital records – taking a mountain of paper files and delivering research-grade data sets from it. It’s a transformation that has huge implications for the field of health care. Imagine, for example, what a research university could do with a million-person data set of searchable, sortable, real-world records for every single person who developed cancer in a region during a timeframe.

To serve this vision, the industry must rethink infrastructure. Today, we must build an infrastructure and capability model that enables mountains of data to be securely available to drive business intelligence that empowers better health outcomes through collaboration with providers, insurance companies, research universities, government health care initiatives, and pharmaceutical research.

“Today, we must build an infrastructure and capability model that enables mountains of data to be securely available to drive business intelligence”

In my experience, the transformation across infrastructure and the vast capabilities we have at our finger tips with cloud technologies, end user technologies and service delivery models are only fully realized when an organization executes change across three main stay, traditional pillars: People, Process and Technology. Cloud is not just a technology initiative, it’s a transformational change management opportunity.

As the health care industry looks beyond a technology perspective, organizations leveraging standardized cloud-enabled tools, products, and services will gain new markets and a competitive advantage over traditional healthcare companies. Deploying highly secure and scalable cloud infrastructures that enables a broader technological vision is a must. Organizations must change before they have to change.

From a process perspective, it is essential for organizations to push the adoption of agile scrum practices across infrastructure, product and development teams to accelerate execution and delivery of these cloud-enabled tools. Changing infrastructure from a traditional service delivery model to an agile service delivery model aligned with business outcomes will allow for greater adoption of cloud technologies and realized benefits. Consistent metrics and reporting standards are key across all project and service delivery in order to enable visibility and transparency into the adoption of cloud. Cloud DevOps is the norm.

Integrating teams across technology competencies to eliminate silos and focus on delivery outcomes is a key driver. Teams must be empowered to develop into high-functioning autonomous units capable of delivering value at speed, in turn allowing the creation of capability models and services. Traditional organizational structures impede the successful delivery of cloud technologies and compartmentalize teams into silos that must be broken.

If it all sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. But with time, health care will naturally move toward a methodology and technology set-up that will allow an integrated digital health experience through modern architectures and a cloud-first high-availability infrastructure footprint.

In the long-term – beyond 2019 – successful health care organizations will steadfastly work toward integrating high-performing teams, focus on service delivery instead of data center management, and transform into the cloud-enabled organizations they are on the road to becoming.

What a time to be a health care CIO.

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