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Successful digital transformation can create sustained growth and competitive advantage, but it’s often a highly complex undertaking that requires coordination across people, processes, organizational cultures and, of course, technology. In addition, each journey is shaped by the industries in which a particular enterprise is undergoing transformation. And with unprecedented challenges currently facing hospitals and healthcare facilities, the need for digital transformation to help address increased workloads and mission critical activity is even greater. 

Navigating digital transformation alone can mean steep learning curves and delays, but with the support of established open source communities and effective collaboration with a global systems integrator (GSI), healthcare organizations can improve digital transformation timelines and outcomes.  

Creating a connected ecosystem 

The healthcare industry continues to undergo waves of increased digitalization, including the adoption of data-intensive technologies like electronic health records (EHR), wearable medical and other IoT devices, telehealth, augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI). Despite recent world economic conditions as a result of COVID-19, research indicates that the adoption rate of technologies to help streamline healthcare workstreams and scale up systems will continue to grow in the coming years. 

Important gains in foundational IT capabilities play an essential role in this trend. For example, big data and analytics solutions aggregate inputs from myriad systems to generate meaningful patient and operational actionable insights. 5G networks offer higher internet speeds that can accelerate EHR transfers and data interchanges while improving IoT reliability and remote monitoring abilities.

These IT-driven capabilities provide numerous opportunities to improve the patient experience, including:

  • Maintaining a 360-degree view of each patient;
  • Catching and addressing health issues earlier;
  • Better and faster identification of effective treatment plans;
  • Fewer diagnostic failures and related rework;
  • Downward cost pressure on positive healthcare outcomes.

Staying informed about the most effective use cases for each of these new technologies and developing related skills among in-house teams can be a challenge. That’s where working with an experienced GSI can help realize opportunity quickly, cost effectively, and without sacrificing security.

Mitigating risk with the right partner 

The current wave of digitalization means data simultaneously resides in multiple places – such as medical facilities and patient devices – and routinely travels between them via a combination of private and public networks. This reality creates new vulnerabilities for possible cyberattacks and data security risks. 

Securing data at rest, on wire, and on cloud is essential for compliance with federal HIPAA regulations, protecting personal health information (PHI), and overall business viability. However, while healthcare organizations are bound by federal regulations, patients and end users are often not properly educated on how to protect their data. 

Protecting organizations and patients requires a skillful blend of expertise and technology. A knowledgeable GSI is equipped to help solve complex challenges and can build effective security capabilities into every aspect of transformation projects, so the focus can stay on improving operations and healthcare outcomes.

Thinking for the future 

As healthcare industry leaders continue to embrace new technologies – including the latest supported, open source innovations – to address emerging healthcare IT needs while safeguarding data and complying with evolving regulations, it’s important to establish a roadmap of priorities and goals in order to make data-driven decisions. Aligning with overarching goals of optimizing system agility and resilience, enhancing the patient experience, and improving patient health outcomes, here are some suggested considerations to keep in mind:

  • Establish a multicloud strategy that promotes secure data management, flexibility, and interoperability.
  • Safeguard EHRs and PHI by complying with the standards set by HIPAA and HITECH and utilizing NIST-certified data security standards and platforms.
  • Embed AI in diagnostic processes to improve prevention, early detection, treatment plan development, and effective drug discovery.
  • Optimize compute costs and portability using containerization and cloud technologies, which provide an easier way to port workloads from on-premises to virtualization and on private and public clouds.

Adopting the open source way for healthcare 

These ambitious enterprise healthcare IT goals are achievable by leveraging open source innovations, particularly those using containers to increase efficiency and speed of application deployment at scale in conjunction with automation tools for added management capabilities. Open source technologies are driving rapid innovation in the fields of AI, predictive analytics, data integration, information exchange and cybersecurity standards. In fact, many of Red Hat’s offerings  comply with FIPS 140-2 certified by NIST for providing secure platforms for healthcare IT workloads, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Working with the right GSI helps organizations get the most value from Red Hat’s open source solutions by applying industry and technology-specific expertise, experience, and intellectual property. For example, Red Hat collaborates with DXC Technology to deliver solutions such as the DXC Managed Container Platform as a Service (MCPaaS) offering at scale, freeing healthcare organizations from the overhead of managing a cloud platform while allowing them to realize important cloud milestones from day one. 

See it in action

Open source technology is a proven path for extending the capabilities and performance of legacy infrastructure while improving privacy, agility and patient outcomes. See what Intermountain Healthcare has been able to achieve since upgrading its aging IT environment with help from Red Hat. 

To learn more about how open source technologies can support IT modernization and the journey to cloud strategies, please visit redhat.com/health.


About the author

Banu Bhandaru is a senior solutions architect in Red Hat’s Channel Alliances organization with a special focus on emerging cloud technologies. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, helping customers adopt and implement CRM, Business Automation, Middleware and NoSQL solutions on-premises and in the cloud.

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