Does the cloud contribute to better care?

The question of whether the cloud is interesting to an organization often starts with a technological discussion: are the new technological developments more effective or efficient? Do we save costs with it? Can we respond more quickly or flexibly to the needs of the organization? In fact, it is a question of whether human resources and resources can be released that create additional value.

About care. Can more or better research be carried out with the cloud? Does the cloud help make medical knowledge more accessible for faster diagnostics? Can the registration burden of doctors and nurses be reduced? It’s an interesting question: can IT in the cloud help improve care?

In the run-up to the “Cloud in Care” seminar, we spoke to two of the speakers during the seminar: Tom Driessen of the Radboud University Medical Center and Menno Struik of the Erasmus Medical Center. They told us about their experiences with the cloud and the new opportunities they see.

Tom: “The choice of whether or not to use the cloud for a particular process depends on various factors. Sometimes a cloud solution is very suitable and sometimes it doesn’t fit in your organization at all. For example, image archives can be moved more easily to the cloud for long-term storage, but with images in the consulting room or for use in processes that are not yet running in the cloud, we see challenges. For our researchers, on the other hand, we have built a standard cloud solution based on Microsoft Azure. This allows us to offer a great deal of computing power in a safe and flexible way. In the cloud, payment is only made for use, which has resulted in a major cost reduction. This turned out to be a better solution than using our own overcapacity in the evenings.”

“We first think about the process,” Tom continued. “What are the requirements for the availability, integrity, etc. of the data? Which technology helps us meet these requirements? When you use the cloud, you should also consider whether you can rely on the Internet connection and the security of the data you process. If cloud technology offers the best solution, we use it. There are certain aspects that we still find a bit exciting, but we are on the brink of broader cloud adoption, also in care processes.”

“The cloud is also a very broad concept, so I hope to be able to provide more insight into this, so that people are less inclined to think about the cloud in care and make trade-offs based on important aspects of decision-making. The cloud offers new solutions to our challenges,” concludes Tom.

Menno acts as a director for the 7 Dutch UMCs in the rollout of Office 365 and the underlying Azure technology. “By working on a large scale, cost savings have been achieved. And the standardization of technology strengthens the partnerships between the UMCs. This platform offers the possibilities for what we want in the future,” says Menno.

Menno experiences a difference in the active demand for cloud solutions from researchers and healthcare professionals. “The researchers are well informed about the possibilities and are quite eager to leverage these to deal with their cases. Among healthcare professionals, however, there is still very little awareness about the possibilities.”

To return to the question. Does the cloud contribute to better care? There are certainly opportunities; in the research sector they are being discovered in full. From a primary care perspective, unfamiliarity with the possibilities may reduce the demand for IT solutions in general and cloud solutions in particular. As Tom said before: “We are on the brink of broad cloud adoption in the healthcare sector.” During the seminar we will definitely talk about it!