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IT in healthcare curing the clutter

Phoebe Magdirila and Macel Legaspi | Oct. 4, 2011
Behind the healthcare provided to millions of patients in a hospital lies an efficient system in place that aids in faster communications and information dissemination.

However, the winds seem to be changing in favor of the cloud."Cloud computing is rapidly developing as an alternative way to deliver computing power to the enterprise. At the same time, the service demands on enterprise healthcare institutions are also growing. More patients need access to healthcare and costs need to be constrained," says Dr. NT Cheung, CMIO, Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA), in a speech at the recent Healthcare Innovation IT Summit.

Hospitals and clinics with smaller pockets do not have to invest a ton of money for cloud-based solutions.

According to Exist, a cloud-based apps' model relieves the capital expense, as well as some of the operational expenses including software and hardware maintenance. Less mission-critical apps such as e-mail and back office tools are ripe for cloud-enabling, whether public or private. However, some healthcare applications will likely always reside in private clouds either for privacy or security reasons.

"There's a death of IT talent in the Philippines; more so of IT practitioners in the healthcare industry. It would be wise for the industry to prepare for this labor shortage. If you can't hire, and you can't build the team, you can either outsource or refer to cloud solutions," says Exist.

Exist Global, software engineering company with expertise in building enterprise healthcare solutions, underscores that managing a hospital IT team can be very demanding, given the complexities in the healthcare market.

Creating the application is only half the battle. IT teams need to manage delivery, infrastructure, as well as disaster recovery. "Cloud computing can help to free up IT staff to attend to more critical tasks, increasing operations efficiency," shares Mike Lim, Exist CTO.

"Cloud computing harnesses combined infrastructure components, scales for economy, and allays resource issues. It has a disruptive potential to create powerful new value propositions," adds Lim. Beyond cost, the appeal of a cloud model in the healthcare setting -- with its massive data requirements and complex system configurations -- may well be speed of delivery.

Speaking about disaster recovery, Exist notes that cloud platforms that have data failover mechanisms will get you up and running in a couple of hours, whereas you wouldn't have known where to start from if otherwise.

Exist is on its way to developing a cloud platform that would accelerate the use of technology for hospitals and healthcare institutions.


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