Healthcare systems and professionals have traditionally been slow to adopt new digital technologies and innovations. All that changed with the global COVID-19 outbreak — defiance to online healthcare decreased, attitudes changed, regulations were temporarily relaxed and the result was years of digital transformation happened in a few weeks.
Like many industries in many countries, the implementation of healthcare cloud solutions is increasing in Australia. The pros of implementing cloud solutions for healthcare organisations are tremendous: real-time access to data, reliability, high security standards and cost savings with the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Data backup, remote access to My Health Record, healthcare applications, patient portals, electronic medical records and telehealth are the goals.
For clinicians and healthcare organisations, this leads to greater efficiency, a higher quality of daily work, a better quality of care and controlled budgets. Moreover, organisations can access greater insights into workflow processing, help boost productivity, develop improvement plans and will be able to produce scalable results based on an analytical approach.
‘New normal’ ways of working
The primary disruptor in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, affecting healthcare systems and forcing hospitals leaders to accelerate their journey to the cloud, to digitise quickly and effectively, providing accessible solutions anytime-anywhere. The Software as a Service model (SaaS) contributes to the adaptation of health information systems to these changes. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of new trends in the healthcare world such as telehealth — and in ways that nobody could have imagined: the key question, as for countries around the world, is how to maintain the momentum, build future resilience and drive the opportunity for innovation in new digitally-enabled models of care.
Patient and professionals’ healthcare experience
The coordination of healthcare aims to ensure that the patient journey through the health system is smooth. It requires different professionals to collaborate and communicate effectively across different healthcare settings. The quality of this coordination affects patients’ experience of their healthcare, as well as treatment and health outcomes.
For patients with complex health needs, such as those with multiple chronic conditions, good coordination of healthcare is especially important.
My Health Record offers an electronic summary of an individual’s key health information that can be shared securely online between the individual and registered healthcare professionals involved in their care to support improved decision making and continuity of care.
Reduced time spent gathering information and avoiding the duplication of services are among the key benefits of My Health Record and the adoption of digital health services in Australia. This was significantly hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CIOs driving transformation to achieve faster growth
Information systems played a major role in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic — worldwide. Clinical information had to be accessible to the right person at all times, wherever they were, with modern, fast, responsive and ergonomic interfaces.
The information had never been so voluminous and complex and the users, whether healthcare professionals or patients, needed to access it in a nomadic and secure manner.
Facing these challenges, solutions in the cloud offer tangible economic, functional and operational benefits, helping CIOs drive the digital transformation journey deeper.
According to 2021 Deloitte’s Tech Trends report, 40% of CEOs said their CIO or tech leader will be the key driver of business strategy — more than the CFO, COO, and CMO combined.
The Gartner CIO Survey revealed that 54% of Australian and New Zealand organisations increased investment in digital innovation during the pandemic.
Steering the way to the digital possibilities offered by Artificial Intelligence
Built-in agility and quality of performance is the epitome of leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud together, to drive rapid innovation. Artificial intelligence capabilities are now layering with cloud computing and helping organisations manage their data, look for patterns and insights in information, deliver customer experiences, and optimise workflows.
Integrating AI into the healthcare ecosystem allows for a multitude of benefits, including automating tasks and analysing big patient data sets to deliver better healthcare faster, and at a lower cost. According to Insider Intelligence, 30% of healthcare costs are associated with administrative tasks. AI can assist some of these tasks, like maintaining records, offer real-time information, ease the workload of healthcare professionals and ultimately save their organisations money.
And AI-powered, speech recognition technology can phenomenally transform the way doctors, nurses, and patients interact with each other. Clinicians can keep accurate and complete records with less time invested.
Getting the greatest benefits from a SaaS solution
Flexibility and scalability
Cloud solutions are built and designed to provide flexibility, supporting remote and virtual working and accessibility anytime-anywhere in both urban and rural areas. Cloud solutions support fast growth within the organisation: offering maximum scalability, the ability to adapt to digital transformation and the capacity to easily cope with peaks in activity.
Continuous adjustment to meet the needs of the users, makes it possible to achieve gains in productivity and to create value that goes far beyond the savings made in the initial phase. Conversely, with an on-premise solution, the update rates are slower and lead to reduced operational efficiency in the short, medium and long term.
Security and disaster recovery
Cloud solutions are hosted in data centres with advanced security services: application firewalls, data encryption, denial of service attack mitigation and access management. In addition, highly available systems guarantee a certain percentage of uptime. Providing a highly available and reliable healthcare cloud solution is essential for maintaining confidence and satisfaction and preventing information losses.
The recovery plan in the cloud offers economical and efficient solutions to guarantee the recovery of information in a short time frame which is also essential in the healthcare sector.
Cloud solutions offer anywhere and any-device access, to enable freedom of movement within the organisation and from any location outside of the workspace. In Telehealth, it makes access to health services better and faster allowing people to connect, all around.
Artificial intelligence in healthcare has great potential in remodelling and strengthening the industry and bringing it to new heights. The future of AI in healthcare means better medical outcomes, advanced treatment and more patient engagement in the process. With cloud solutions, healthcare organisations can prepare better for tomorrow while meeting today’s needs.
Cloud solutions in SaaS mode facilitate progressive implementation and shorten the purchase cycles, while reducing capital expenditures and administrative overheads in healthcare organisations. Where previously IT teams would deal with security incidents reactively, cloud security provides proactive security features that provide 24/7 protection with little to no human intervention.