It is no exaggeration that digital technologies are radically transforming healthcare and the pace of change is accelerating. Across the healthcare ecosystem, the pressure to adapt quickly is particularly profound as organizations focus on distributing vaccines, embrace telemedicine and migrate to models based on preventive care and long-term health.
In addition, advances in technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and artificial intelligence are driving dramatic new opportunities in patient treatment. An outgrowth of all this change is a constant pressure to focus on cybersecurity, as healthcare organizations find they are increasingly being targeted by hackers.
In healthcare, the impact of digital transformation is being felt across the entire ecosystem:
- Improving patient care and treatment, from telesurgery to remote mental health services to extensive use of IoT sensors to monitor progress and improve outcomes.
- Transforming the patient experience by enabling healthcare facilities to deliver a more cohesive and agile experience for patients and their families, while also using technology to enable personalized care focused on prevention and wellness.
- Empowering management and administrators with innovative tools and technologies to manage costs, secure patient data and deliver modern solutions for practitioners and patients, including use of remote and mobile applications, the IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence and more.
- Advancing research, training and teaching to accelerate development of treatments, cures and vaccines and enable healthcare organizations of all types to respond more quickly and intelligently to new strains of diseases, outbreaks and pandemics.
- Protecting patient records, business continuity and telemedicine with end-to-end cybersecurity protections that give patients the confidence to use modern mobile apps without fear that their information or experience will be compromised.
In healthcare, the question is not whether to embrace digital transformation, but how to do so most effectively and securely, and where to leverage IT modernization to improve patient outcomes, transform the patient experience and empower effective management, administration and research.
Healthcare success stories
Here are three examples of organizations in healthcare that have embraced IT modernization to facilitate their digital transformation journeys.
Mercy Ships brings volunteer medical teams to underdeveloped areas in West Africa. “A lot of people call us a hospital ship,” says CIO Chris Gregg. “We’re actually a special surgical unit. The most important thing we have to offer at Mercy Ships is being able to demonstrate to the patients we serve that they are not forgotten. And what IT has to offer is about empowering hope and healing through technology.” Mercy Ships uses Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure running vSAN in a remote data center in Texas and VxRail on two hospital ships in a unified, hybrid cloud environment. Previous solutions experienced performance problems. “Putting a modern data center on our ships has allowed us to simplify, manage more remotely, and consolidate and reduce the footprint of the infrastructure,” Gregg says. The technology has been essential in helping to treat patients, according to Jonathan Dyson, director of enterprise infrastructure. “The biggest turnaround immediately on migrating to the VxRails was we no longer had those performance issues,” Dyson says. “Now it just works. That gives us time to focus on new projects, new ideas, new solutions, and that impacts directly on our doctors and surgeons and nurses that they can rely on their technology and they can spend more time on their patients. And more time on their patients is more lives transformed.”
Scripps Health is one of the major providers of health services in San Diego, with five hospitals and 28 outpatient facilities serving 700,000 patients annually. “Scripps is currently in a big push to do a digital transformation,” says Hector Aguirre, enterprise architect at Scripps Health. “We’re working on stabilizing and transforming our environment so that when the business side comes to us, we can provide them with the proper technology for their solutions. We see it as driving ourselves for excellence in providing better care.” A key area of IT modernization has been in backup and data protection. With previous solutions, Scripps routinely encountered backup windows between 18 and 26 hours with multiple failed jobs. Scripps modernized with Dell EMC Data Protection Suite and Dell EMC Data Domain appliances for its VMware and Epic environments. With the new solutions, Scripps backs up more than 4,000 virtual machines nightly and has accelerated protection of critical SQL databases, improved data compression/deduplication ratios by a factor of 200 times, and facilitated compliance with Epic requirements for a secondary share location.
Touro College of Dental Medicine in Valhalla, New York, opened in 2016 with the goal to “meet an urgent need for modern dentist training and take advantage of digital education and medical technology,” says Edward Farkas, vice dean of the college. “That required us to create a state-of-the-art environment to enable impactful teaching and learning.” Intense graphical processing, 3D imagery and advanced CAD/CAM software are critical elements in empowering students to study, teach and practice using digital models under more varied and realistic conditions than in traditional learning settings. The college uses Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure, including 18 VxRail all-flash devices, 14 of which work with NVIDIA Tesla M10 graphical processing units. These connect to 550 thin clients deployed at dental chairs in the simulation lab and college offices, using VMware vSAN and Citrix software. The advanced technology enables students to see more than 200 patients a day. “Touro College of Dental Medicine is the first school in the new era of digital dentistry, powered by a VxRail HCI foundation,” says Mike Schreibman, co-founder of Hudson River CIO Advisors, the college’s managed services provider. “We are leading the world in the simultaneous usage of dental educational software.”
Taking the next step
Digital transformation is transforming healthcare to the benefit of patients, clinicians, caretakers, family members, administrators and everyone across the ecosystem. For more information on how to take the next step in your digital transformation journey, please visit Dell Technologies.