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Modern healthcare: Secure cloud EHR solutions

Cloud-based patient monitoring for healthcare industry to break data silos and ensure seamless care

July 09 2024Aimee K. Smith

Healthcare challenges: Patient data silos and data interoperability

An unconscious patient arrives at the emergency room. The hospital discovers that vital medical history, including past conditions, medications, allergies, and other records, is held by another hospital across town. This common scenario for healthcare organizations leads to delayed diagnoses, medication errors, and health complications, compromising patient safety.

The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare data interoperability and digital evolution

The situation was even worse when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. In several instances, the lack of access to past medical records has resulted in failure to deliver appropriate medical care. In spite of its negative consequences, the pandemic paradoxically served as a catalyst, accelerating the evolution of the healthcare ecosystem and propelling the adoption of digital work models. Despite all this, digital transformation in healthcare, interoperability, and seamless communication between multiple providers are still lacking. This gap prevents easy and authorized access to patient health information (PHI).

The answer to these issues is to move the healthcare setup into the cloud. Hosting electronic health records (EHR) on secure and compliant cloud solutions offers improved data sharing, enhanced patient experience, and data protection for sensitive health data.

The shift to cloud-based EHR in healthcare

Healthcare organizations have come a long way from paper records and have now adopted EHR systems. Most healthcare organizations are using some form of EHR system, but a substantial number of these systems are using on-premises hosting solutions. These traditional healthcare systems, while offering a digital leap forward from paper charts, often come with limitations in data accessibility and interoperability among different providers.

Cloud-based EHR directly tackles these limitations. The industry is seeing a significant shift towards secure and scalable cloud technology for healthcare data management. The advantages of cloud-based EHRs go well beyond just enhancing data accessibility for authorized providers.

Cloud-based EHR: More than just data consolidation

While improved data accessibility and consolidation are fundamental benefits of cloud-based EHR, let’s explore some common benefits that the healthcare sector leverages with the adoption of cloud solutions.

Enhanced patient care and collaboration: Real-time access to a patient’s healthcare journey, because better diagnosis and prognosis are possible with cloud-powered EHR and other health applications. This gives better visibility and a centralized collaboration platform to access a patient’s entire medical history, empowering caregivers including doctors, nurses, and specialists across various organizations and regions.

Improved scalability and cost saving: One of the key advantages of a cloud solution is scalability without additional upfront investment required for hardware or IT infrastructure. As data sets grow, this helps to flex the system up or down only as needed, on demand.

Streamlined processes and better efficiency: A centralized cloud platform eliminates and prevents data silos from occurring. This enables the automation of manual processes to streamline workflows and improve efficiency. Healthcare staff can spend more quality time on core patient care activities, instead of handling piles of papers.

Proactive healthcare using data-driven insights: When data coexists in a common platform, drawing data-driven insights becomes possible. Healthcare data analytics can help identify health trends, see patterns, detect fraud, and predict potential health risks, improving preventive healthcare and better patient outcomes.

While cloud-based healthcare applications bring many benefits, technical debt and security concerns can still keep many healthcare organizations from reaching for the cloud. But there is hope! T-Systems’ Health Hybrid Cloud solution balances security, high availability, and resilience across environments, depending on the specific requirements of each organization. Security and compliance are top concerns for healthcare decision-makers – T-Systems has defined how to move to the cloud with confidence.

Security concerns addressed: A top priority for healthcare leaders

How do leading cloud service providers address the security concerns that arise from moving critical healthcare applications to the cloud? Here’s a summary of three critical factors:

Robust security infrastructure: Any healthcare data bank is filled with sensitive patient data; thus, cloud providers must build robust security infrastructure to safeguard patient health information. Here’s a list of the security measures that top the chart:

  • Employing top-tier encryption standards such as AES-256 to protect data in transit and storage.
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication protocols to add an extra layer of security.
  • Ensuring strict access controls, so data can only be accessed by authorized personnel.

Disaster recovery (DR) plans for business continuity: Considering the critical nature of healthcare data, having a robust DR and business continuity plan is necessary. The consequences of downtime can be life-threatening for patients; a comprehensive DR plan ensures contingency and continuous uptime. The DR plan should outline recovery methods, data backups, and failover mechanisms to minimize disruption and ensure continued access to patient information.

HIPAA compliance is non-negotiable: The sensitivity of data in the healthcare industry makes regulatory compliance paramount. Choosing the right cloud provider with a demonstrated track record in healthcare IT and strong HIPAA compliance is crucial for adhering to strict data privacy and security regulations.

Following these basic guidelines makes cloud-based EHR and other ancillary applications more efficient and caring. As data moves to the cloud, both caregivers and patients can enjoy easier access and smoother processes.

Security of an EHR environment is paramount. But how can an organization simultaneously leverage the benefits of modern cloud technology, improve resilience, and migrate seamlessly? An experienced, trusted partner is key.

A smooth transition beyond clouds with a trusted partner

Migrating to a cloud-based EHR system is not a one-time event. It requires careful planning and a skilled partner, who can support post migration as well. A successful cloud transformation journey depends on several key factors.

The healthcare ecosystem can be complex and dynamic. At T-Systems, we understand the criticalities of the industry, including the need for continuous availability, reliability, data security, and even the challenges related to culture shift. Our team of seasoned cloud solution architects has a deep understanding of the industry and extensive experience in cloud migration projects, empowering organizations to take innovation to the next level.

We offer a comprehensive suite of services to guide healthcare organizations through every step of the cloud transformation journey:

  • Clinical Landscape Assessment: We collaborate with organizations to assess their readiness for the Health Hybrid Cloud by taking stock of IT, application, and data infrastructure, identifying potential migration challenges, and developing a custom strategy suitable for a smooth transition.
  • Secure Cloud Migration and Integration: Our team manages the end-to-end cloud migration process, prioritizing security and safeguarding sensitive data to be migrated. We ensure smooth integration with existing systems for better interoperability while leveraging DevOps practices to optimize workflow.
  • Ongoing Support: Our managed service offerings ensure you have ongoing support post-migration, including continuous security monitoring and compliance management to safeguard sensitive patient health information.

The future of healthcare with T-Systems’ Health Hybrid Cloud

Cloud-based EHRs correspond to a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery, but navigating the transition can be a daunting process. T-Systems’ Health Hybrid Cloud offers a secure and future-proof platform specially designed for healthcare organizations.

Like a modern car leverages a hybrid engine for optimal performance and efficiency, the Health Hybrid Cloud combines the best of both worlds: public and private cloud environments. This allows healthcare organizations to deliver value by utilizing the following benefits of the Health Hybrid Cloud:

  • Leverage modern technology: Embrace the digital future through the use of platforms, DevOps, containers, big data, and AI.
  • TCO reduction and cost saving: Reduce your costs for cloud resources like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and application/workload services by using self-service models. Self-service gives you more automation and flexibility, allowing you to optimize your resource usage. Transition CapEx to OpEx.
  • Reliability and high availability: Resiliency ensures the availability of your EHR environment and all ancillary applications.
  • Risk mitigation, compliance, and security: Support a full range of compliance requirements – both platform and regulatory.
  • Scalability and unlimited flexibility: Optimize and move workloads across public and private clouds without the need to refactor.
  • Business continuity: Keep your patient data secure and recoverable in case of disaster.
  • Simplification: Single pane of glass delivery across public, private, and classic environments.

The Health Hybrid Cloud goes beyond just EHRs. Our comprehensive suite of cloud-based solutions caters to the unique needs of the entire healthcare ecosystem – from hospitals and clinics to payers and life sciences companies – supporting EHRs and all ancillary applications.

Download information on the Health Hybrid Cloud to explore the potential of cloud-based healthcare solutions. You can also contact us to discuss your cloud transformation journey and discover how T-Systems can help you navigate the path to a future-proof healthcare system. For further inquiries or feedback, please contact us.

About the author
Portait of Aimee K. Smith

Aimee K. Smith

Head of Strategy & Portfolio, North America, T-Systems International

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