The famous quote attributed to Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus – ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’, holds immense importance in the modern healthcare ecosystem.
The modern and fast way of living is extensively causing chronic lifestyle diseases. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to improve their health to become immune to common diseases and increase their lifespan for a healthy and happy life. In the past, people took medicines only when they were sick or injured. Today, people are taking preventive care to avoid getting sick. Preventive care brings with it some amazing benefits, such as:
- Increase lifespan with proactive tests and screenings
- It will save you money in the long run on treatment bills
- It helps in living an active and happy life
- Limits the spread of disease to the extremities
- It gives the power to choose a good doctor in case of any ailments
The adoption of digital practices is a necessity for enabling preventive healthcare systems. And Cloud is the trump card in this digital game.
Cloud Computing: A trump card for healthcare
According to the BCC Research report, the global market for cloud technologies in healthcare was $16.1 billion in 2016. The market reached $20.2 billion in 2017 and should be at $35.0 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6% from 2017 to 2022. This report clearly signals that healthcare companies are investing largely in developing new digital technologies to accelerate innovation.
The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzes another reason for accelerated healthcare industry digitalization. It has made people prioritize their health and, as a result, given a boost to preventive healthcare practices. Cloud computing for healthcare is not new, but this growing popularity of digitally enabled healthcare has accelerated cloud adoption. This recent transformation gave birth to telehealth, which became more popular during the pandemic since the medical staff was able to work remotely.
Cloud enables improved IT infrastructure, accelerated innovation, and cost-effectiveness, and it also helps extract data-driven insights for better decision-making and predictive analytics. The flexibility of the pay-as-you-go model also helps with cost reduction, scalability, and better resource utilization. However, the grass is not all green. Cloud transformation in healthcare can be overwhelming. It comes with its own set of challenges. It all starts with where to start and what to consider before making a move. Check out this article to determine which cloud migration strategy is best for you. A hybrid cloud strategy is often the best choice since it offers the best of both worlds. Choosing the right cloud strategy is just the first step; however, one cannot ignore the tedious process of cloud migration, which often becomes the elephant in the room. Wait! Actually, the sprawl of unstructured data that is migrated to the Cloud is the real elephant. The hybrid cloud environment can make it more difficult to manage data in a heterogeneous environment. Let’s address this challenge and look at ways that can help.
Unstructured Data: The Elephant in the Room
Digital transformation has recently driven healthcare organizations to focus more on end-to-end patient journeys to improve customer experiences. Preventive healthcare and the patient’s journey are like two sides of the same coin because without understanding the patient’s journey, it is impossible to implement preventive healthcare.
A mere realization of mapping a patient’s journey is not enough, but addressing the sprawl of unstructured, heterogeneous, and complex data generated from clinical notes, medical records, reports, bills, and personal information is the need of the hour. It is estimated that 80% of the healthcare data is unstructured, and it holds great potential for transforming the industry.
According to Walters Kluwer’s analysis, unstructured health data can help researchers build health equity. That means it will bring democratization to the healthcare industry by providing everyone with equal and fair healthcare services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it came to light that many regions in the US face health disparities. This knowledge, the federal reporting mandates, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) policies will help capture data more effectively and leverage it for preventive and diagnostic care.
Understanding datasets, analyzing it, and then leveraging it for obtaining data-driven insights can truly empower transformation in the healthcare industry. Before moving to the Cloud, addressing the complex healthcare data ecosystem will help in the long run.
Data Clean-up Drive for Efficient Cloud Migration
Making the right data management choices will help reduce cloud complexities at the end of the day!
To leverage the true potential of the Cloud that is transforming the medical sector, integrating data from heterogeneous sources, and making sense of it is imminent. The right understanding of Data is crucial before applying it to gain real-time insights. Any false or erroneous data can directly impact the health of a patient. Also, healthcare data holds sensitive information that can cause serious damage if it falls into the wrong hands. Hence, securing sensitive data is equally important.
These simple practices will help healthcare companies analyze their unstructured data and extract valuable insights to move the right data to the Cloud.
- Know Thy Data: Healthcare data can have various sources, and it can be in multiple formats, from hand-written clinical notes to prescriptions and medical reports. This generated data can be very complex and may have sensitive data. To understand data well, integrating it to check for any redundant, obsolete, and trivial data, duplicates, and erroneous data is the first step.
- Structurize the Unstructured: Once the Data is integrated, classify it, categorize it, and identify & filter the unwanted data. Metadata analytics can help with the primary filtering of data, and then content analysis using Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition can help identify specific data. This can also help in classifying risk-prone or patient-sensitive data. Once the Data is classified, it can be stored in the right place with the right security tiers.
- Securing Sensitive Data: Cloud comes with its layer of security. However, patient-sensitive data in healthcare needs that extra layer of protection. Once the risk-prone Data is classified, it can be stripped of all access and can be stored in an isolated location with limited and role-based access. This can help protect critical data well and prevent future breaches or misuse.
- Immutable Audit Log: Before moving data to the Cloud, trace the source and destination of data flowing in real-time to map the users. Maintaining an immutable audit log can assist in identifying frequently accessed data from rarely accessed data, which can be helpful in making storage choices and tracking each movement. This can also help in regulatory compliant needs.
- Data-driven Cloud Migration: Moving data to the cloud after thorough analysis can save time, money, and storage. With traditional lift-and-shift methods, things can get complicated over time, but a data-driven approach can help extract value from data, which can enable predictive analytics, thereby facilitating preventative care.
To sum it up, healthcare companies can benefit from making smart decisions when transforming their operations using the Cloud. Selection of the right data tools is crucial when doing this. Many point solutions are available in the market that helps with data analytics, data management, data security, and more. But an intelligent and comprehensive solution that can help with end-to-end data management will make the process seamless.
In order to simplify the migration to Azure, Microsoft has introduced the Azure File Migration Program, offering free Azure Migrations into Azure by sponsoring Data Dynamics Migrations. For more information about the free migration services, check out this article summarizing Microsoft Azure and Data Dynamics’ recent webinar to demonstrate the Azure File Migration program and the importance of data-driven migrations – Reimagine, Reorganize, and Reinforce Cloud Migration with a Data-Driven Approach.