How does a cloud-based digital workplace bring value to healthcare?
A new Forrester report has revealed the business gains healthcare organizations can make by migrating to the cloud, but also highlighted a lack of investment and commitment from the industry as a whole. So, how can healthcare double down on the cloud and what benefits will this bring?
Turning to the cloud to transform the healthcare industry
Cloud computing has reshaped the software industry and the internet as a whole over the past decade. From quicker deployment and scalability to reduced costs and outsourced maintenance, the cloud’s rise to prominence is a reflection of the clear benefits it offers enterprises in comparison to the traditional, in-house approach.
Nearly all healthcare leaders are in agreement that patient satisfaction is a priority, with more than 70% of providers deeming patient-centric care as a top objective. However, only one fifth of patients have seen any improvements in their care. Could the cloud hold the key to closing this gap and ensuring the next decade is characterized by innovation, agility, and improved care?
Healthcare must prioritize cloud-based work
Some industries have been quicker than others to incorporate cloud platforms into business practices. Professional and financial services lead all other sectors, according to Forrester Research’s latest report, with 17% of all technology investments going toward cloud infrastructure. By comparison, the healthcare industry has significantly lagged behind - only 3% of technology investments in the healthcare sector are currently spent on cloud systems. However, healthcare data is growing faster than any other industry, by 36% annually.
This seems counter-intuitive. Healthcare organizations stand to make significant gains from turning to the cloud, ranging from productivity drivers to systems that improve information security and accuracy. These kinds of improvements compound to make a big difference to the quality of patient care and overall efficiency.
With this much at stake, healthcare organizations should look to embrace a cloud-based digital workplace and adjust their existing technology investments to support this strategy.
Dynacare: enhancing patient care with an award-winning healthcare intranet
For Canada’s largest and most established health solutions company, specialist knowledge is Dynacare’s lifeblood. Following a rebrand, the enterprise unveiled a collaboration-focused intranet that would underpin ambitious growth plans, enhance patient care, and even earn a spot among Nielsen Norman’s best intranets.
4 ways a cloud-based digital workplace benefits healthcare
What exactly are the benefits of a cloud-based tech strategy for healthcare organizations? Below are four key advantages this agility offers:
#1. Unify critical access
It’s critical that healthcare workers can access accurate, up-to-date information at a moment’s notice. Subpar access to data results in subpar patient care, so democratizing access to information for all healthcare workers, especially those on the frontline, has become a mission-critical priority.
Employee apps, multi-channel communications, and, most importantly, a cloud-based digital workplace, are all gaining interest as healthcare organizations seek to bolster technology investments and support healthcare employees with the right tools.
Commonwealth Care Alliance: Launching an award-winning healthcare intranet
People are at the heart of Commonwealth Care Alliance’s mission. More than 40k members turn to the not-for-profit organization for their healthcare needs. By launching an intranet that is accessible on-demand from anywhere, Commonwealth Care Alliance has created a winning experience for their people that has earned international award recognition from the Nielsen Norman Group.
#2. Strengthened security
Handling highly sensitive data on patients, procedures, and healthcare organizations themselves demands bulletproof security and stringent controls. We’ve all seen the headlines and resulting fallout that follows data breaches in the healthcare sector – the US federal government revealed that over 40m patient records were compromised in 2021.
"While 85% of healthcare decision makers rated their organizations as effective at securing patient data, the frequency and severity of industry data breaches suggest overconfidence."
Cloud-based platforms help alleviate the pressure on organizations to adhere to strict protocol and the burden of maintaining state-of-the-art security systems themselves. By outsourcing maintenance and costs to the cloud, the host provider is able to focus on server costs and enterprise-grade security and healthcare organizations are left to focus on delivering outstanding patient care.
Intranet security 101
Now that the corporate headquarters has gone digital, information security is at the forefront of protecting your enterprise. But what does it take to safeguard your intranet? We've invited our Chief Information Security Officer, James Heathcote, to unpack everything you need to know about keeping your intranet secure in our latest podcast episode.
A cloud-based digital workplace platform can also help secure routes of access for users by leveraging single-sign on security and OAuth 2.0 authentication against multiple identities. This allows users, no matter where they work, to sign into and access critical tools and information from their mobiles in the most convenient way for them.
#3. Supporting a data-driven future
The healthcare industry is in pursuit of more predictive, data-driven patient care. The sheer volume of data storage and management this kind of approach requires has proven too costly for healthcare organizations to take on in-house, so the cloud, along with advances in AI and Big Data has emerged as the clear route toward this future:
"Migrating to the public cloud gives healthcare organizations the ability to provide more streamlined, collaborative patient care, a stronger and cheaper security footprint, and access to a bevy of high-performance computing (HPC) power."
The success of healthcare organizations over the next decade is in large part reliant on their agility in adopting cloud practices, as this opens avenues for more innovative practices and frees up resources previously dedicated to development, storage and maintenance. IBM research supports this, finding that over one-third of existing cloud users have improved patient care and a strong correlation between cloud adoption and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare, Providers, and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. Healthcare providers with higher HCAHPS scores are 1.6x more likely to value availability of comprehensive, end-to-end solution-to-support hosting.
#4. Ensuring compliance at scale
Another key benefit the cloud offers healthcare organizations is a low-cost, complex infrastructure capable of supporting the level of compliance required of health IT. This has been a key factor in healthcare’s adoption of the cloud, as gaining buy-in from leaders and decision-makers relies on stakeholders understanding and trusting in the cloud solutions they implement throughout their infrastructure.
Across the array of applications the cloud offers healthcare organizations, from back-end development and data sharing to patient-facing portals and mobile apps, compliance is vital. This is where modern cloud-based platforms’ scalability is most valuable, as health IT can rest assured that compliance will remain reliable as an organization grows.