Is healthcare IT ready to shift from data center to data insights?

In the last five years the healthcare industry has seen a dramatic shift in its ability to support the organization.  Not only do they find it financially difficult to keep pace with growing space, power and storage demands, but plain impossible to focus on ever greater demands for health data analytics by clinicians.  The trend toward evidence based medicine and predictive analytics is changing the infrastructure needs of the organization to meet the compute power needed to process and present the data in a usable manner.  

Most IT organizations have little time for innovation, just trying to just keep up with the demands for storage and compute, keep the network from clogging.  Working hard to keep the network up and from spilling over from heavy workload demands of clinicians, data scientists and analysts alike.  The daily traffic just sharing these large image files, updating health records, running revenue cycle reports and processing quality measurement data eats away at the health of the network.  In many cases the load on the networks and infrastructure has been patched together with monthly adds of storage and load balancers in an attempt to keep the data flowing.  It is time that IT looks carefully and invests in resources to cleanse, aggregate and share the data.  Focus on enabling clinical and patient applications to improve healthcare and support the new trend towards evidence based medicine.  This will only be possible when IT shifts the focus from infrastructure to data management.   

The outsourced data center industry can provide the scalability needed for the infrastructure environment, far more efficiently and reliably then healthcare IT departments and privately owned data centers.  These world class facilities have access to better bandwidth, leading edge equipment and fully supported managed environments.  They have the space, talent and equipment to stay on top of performance.  IT can tap into this and leverage the infrastructure and it is now healthcare regulatory compliant, secure and reliable.  It can serve up big data applications and process reports in seconds instead of minutes and hours.  

We need to shed the IT factory within healthcare and get IT focused on helping clinicians and leaders to improve healthcare.  We need to migrate our resources in IT to providing clinicians with the information they need to treat patients more effectively.  It will require IT working with clinical resources to identify data patterns, measures and reports to proactively manage populations of patients.  IT can make healthcare better, faster and cheaper if the emphasis is on enabling data and improving access to healthcare.  IT needs to focus on deploying technology that opens communications between providers and patients to improve care, capture information that improves care and engages the continuum of care providers.

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