Kidney Research Reconfirms Cloud’s Importance
The National Kidney Registry has embraced cloud computing as a critical component of its mission to streamline and improve its organ matching processes. The NKR’s primary matching system, known as SMELAC, was recently relocated to Microsoft Windows Azure, in a move to significantly quicken the pace of processing new organ match-related data. MarketWire reports that Azure has boosted SMELAC’s computing capacity by 400%, fast enough to allow for researchers to synchronize their efforts in producing a new organ match.
Organizations from disciplines with precious and sensitive data, such as banks and hospitals, have typically been shy to engage with cloud computing and its inherent risk in data privacy and protection. Yet the National Kidney Registry’s decision to nevertheless move to cloud serves as a precedent that critical-data institutions and the new IT move can harmonize.
Forbes‘ recent article on the conversation of cloud computing in medicine has reinvigorated the discussion, reminding readers that the cloud stands as a primary agent of change and progress in health management. As a systemic structure designed for the future, cloud computing allows organizations of myriad disciplines, including healthcare, to establish a devoted platform for specialized endeavors. In the medical sphere, this has already translated into “applied research” in subjects such as pediatric cancer and AIDS research. For kidney organ donation, cloud computing provided a method to completely renovate researchers’ interaction with data and to inject much-needed speed into NKR’s matching to patients.
Familiar to cloud aficionados is the technology’s nifty ability to scale computing power up or down on demand — a feature deeply needed by an organization like that National Kidney Registry, whose demand for kidney matching can often skyrocket overnight. Transplant surgeon Dr. Marc Melcher further commented and praised Azure’s boon to NKR by clarifying its need for “sophisticated matching algorithms that sift through and evaluate potential matches.” Cloud’s simplification of access to data injects the speed necessary to not only manage such algorithms, but also to capitalize on their potential to exact successful organ matches at top speed.
Few other technologies match cloud’s potential to wed IT considerations with the concerns of medicine and the precision of science. Via an infrastructure themed on cloud computing, critical data can be shared much more efficiently between every relevant member of the health research community, from donor registries to providers of healthcare, from genetic researchers to the surgeons and staff who can actively employ that research.
By Jeff Norman