Category Archives: HealthTech

How the Cloud Is Improving DNA Sequencing

How the Cloud Is Improving DNA Sequencing

DNA Sequencing

For many of us, the cloud is part of our daily lives.

We use these virtual storage servers to hold our pictures, our memories and our work documents, just to name a few. Cloud storage is also making its mark in the medical industry, with electronic health records making patient care easier no matter where you’re making your appointments.

This utilization of virtual information storage is also being used to improve the speed and accuracy of DNA sequencing. How can cloud storage change the way we look at DNA?

The Importance of DNA Sequencing

dna sequencingDNA, which stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, is the smallest building block of life. It’s found in almost all living things on the planet. Your DNA, found in every cell in your body, holds the blueprint that governs why you are the way you are.

Do you have red hair, or blue eyes? That’s written into your DNA. Are you tall, short, fat, skinny or athletic? You guessed it — that’s written into your DNA as well. Do you hate cilantro and think it tastes like soap? Believe it or not, that’s something that’s written into your DNA too.

In that DNA blueprint, there are answers to thousands of questions that we’ve been posing for centuries, including things like how long we’ll live, what diseases we may be predisposed to, and many others. That is where DNA sequencing comes in.

To stick with our same metaphor from a moment ago, you wouldn’t be able to read a blueprint without a key to tell you what different symbols mean, right? DNA sequencing provides researchers with the key to our DNA blueprint. By learning the order of the four base amino acids that make up DNA, researchers can determine which combinations of genes produce what result.

Old Tech, New Tech

Until now, DNA sequencing was performed on non-networked computers. While breakthroughs were being made, they were limited by the small subset of information available and the insufficient computer processing speeds. In other words, individual computers used for DNA sequencing are limited by the amount of processing power that they can possess.

Moore’s Law, coined by Gordon Moore — one of the founders of Intel — suggests that computers are limited by the number of transistors that can be placed on a single chip. He stated that this number would likely double every two years, and all current trends show that even with today’s advances, Moore’s Law still holds true.

Advances in DNA sequencing are appearing exponentially, and in many cases are only being limited by the available processing power.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics, or the study of patterns to make predictions, has already made its way into the medical fields. When applied to DNA sequencing, it’s often dubbed Predictive Genomics. Cloud computing is a key component in the success of predictive genomics for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The amount of data — The sheer amount of data in one human being’s genome is almost mind-boggling. Each individual’s genome has up to 25,000 genes. These genes are made up of almost 3 million base pairs. When you break that down into digital data, you’re looking at upwards of 100 gigabytes of data per person.
  • The cost — Right now, having your personal genetic code sequenced costs between $1,500 and $4,000. This also plays a large role in the high cost of testing for specific genetic markers, like the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that indicate a higher chance of breast cancer.

The use of cloud computing and predictive genomics can reduce costs, ensure quality and improve accuracy throughout the world of DNA sequencing.

Amazon, our favorite online shopping mall, is doing what they can to help in the world of cloud computing and genomics. Amazon Web Services provides a cloud computing service that a number of companies, including DNAnexus and Helix, are using to improve the speed and accuracy of their genome sequencing.

There’s an App for That

While sending off a saliva-soaked q-tip to have your DNA tested isn’t a new concept, this is the first time it’s heading to both the cloud and the App Store.

A new startup from Silicon Valley named Helix has recently hit the DNA sequencing market with a new twist on the DNA game. Now, not only can you have your DNA tested for all sorts of information, but you can also have your genetic ancestry analyzed by the minds at National Geographic.

As the icing on the cake, all of your information will be stored on the cloud and accessible through Helix’s app.

Cloud computing is becoming an invaluable tool for a variety of different industries, with DNA sequencing as just the latest in a long line of innovations. As this advancement becomes more mainstream, only time will tell what secrets our DNA holds, and what we’ll be able to do with them once we find them.

By Kayla Matthews

Big Data Comes to Bear on Healthcare

Big Data Comes to Bear on Healthcare

Big Data Healthcare

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is examining the use of big data for infectious disease surveillance, exploring the use of information taken from social media, electronic health records, and a range of other digital sources to provide detailed and well-timed intelligence around infectious disease threats and outbreaks that traditional surveillance methods aren’t able to. On the other side of the disease spectrum, big data analytics is also helping with the management of diabetes, a disease affecting over 422 million people globally and resulting in 1.5 million deaths per year according to the World Health Organization. Today, big data and big data analytics are delivering a range of innovative health care options as well as disease and illness monitoring and prevention tools that better the wellbeing of the world’s population.

Where is All This Data Coming From?

Thanks to the digitization of records, the spreading use of sensors, and the prolific use of mobile and standard computing devices, the data that is collected and recorded today is immense. But just because all of this data exists doesn’t mean it’s necessarily useful. Consider the ‘information’ gleaned from Twitter and Facebook posts, Snapchat and text messages, and Google and Siri question and answer sessions: certainly, some of that will be relevant to someone, but the sheer volume of non-qualitative data available can sometimes be a deterrent. Fortunately, the technology that’s evolving to collect all of this data is working hand in hand with big data management and analytics tech to ensure value.

Today, big data applications can predict future actions and with the widespread use of Internet of Things tech personalized data can be collected and monitored on an individual level. Applications such as Google Trends provide practical methods for using big data, while big data analytics helps navigate and utilize unstructured data that might otherwise seem irrelevant. And thanks to tools such as Hadoop, developers are able to construct predictive models that help organizations understand user responses and better tailor applications to these results.

Solutions for Healthcare

Already big data plays a role in biomedicine, advancing methodologies and skills and creating new cultures and modes of discovery. Some experts, in fact, believe the advances in medicine suggest we’ll be facing disruption in the industry as new systems and approaches prove their worth. Precision medicine initiatives already involve above a million volunteers in the US alone, along with several NIH-funded cohorts, and it’s likely that we’ll see the sharing of lifestyle information, genomic data, and biological samples linked to electronic health records as these schemes search for superior health care solutions. The benefits of these initiatives are collaborative and cooperative science, more efficient and better-funded research enterprises, and training advances, but all of this needs to be carefully balanced with the necessary privacy and security demands of big data.

Other advantages provided by big data analysis include a better understanding of rare diseases through the precision provided by aggregated integrated data, as well as predictive modeling able to advance diagnosis of illnesses and diseases both common and rare. Though many opportunities available through big data and big data analytics require a particular cultural shift, our high-tech environment already encourages this change.

Concerns and Further Investigations

Although experts see potential in the use of big data in the healthcare field, we’re also cautioned that unconventional data streams may lack necessary demographic identifiers or provide information that underrepresents particular groups. Further, social media can’t always be relied on as a stable data source. Nevertheless, big data research continues in many unique health care areas: multiple studies are investigating social media and online health forums for drug use and the existence of adverse reactions; one European surveillance system is collecting crowdsourced data on influenza; ResistanceOpen monitors antibiotic resistance at regional levels; and many others provide unique insight into our healthcare systems. The combination of traditional and digital disease surveillance methods is promising, and says Professor Shweta Bansal of Georgetown University, “There’s a magnitude of difference between what we need and what we have, so our hope is that big data will help us fill this gap.”

By Jennifer Klostermann

Amazon Web Services Launch Cloud-Based Precision Medicine Data Marketplace

Amazon Web Services Launch Cloud-Based Precision Medicine Data Marketplace

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The American Heart Association (AHA) announced a milestone in its strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the launch of a global, secure cloud-based data marketplace that will help revolutionize how researchers and clinicians come together as one community to access and analyze rich and diverse data to accelerate solutions for cardiovascular diseases — the No. 1 cause of death worldwide.

The AHA Precision Medicine Platform, announced at today’s AHA Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, will include a vast array of curated rich datasets, that are centrally stored, easily searched and accessible, and managed on the AWS cloud.  This platform enables researchers and clinicians to aggregate and analyze a rich breadth and depth of data including longitudinal cohorts, proteomic, genomic, and gene expression data using a precision medicine approach to uncover critical cardiovascular disease insights that translate into medical innovations that positively impact millions of lives.

Precision cardiovascular medicine takes into account an individual’s biology, environment and lifestyle and is driven by advanced methods of aggregating, integrating and analyzing patient data to develop prevention and treatment strategies for individuals. Derived from the fullest possible range of biological and environmental factors relevant to a patient’s cardiovascular health, the Platform will integrate data from clinical trials, long-running epidemiologic studies, clinical registries, and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology.

The Platform will harness the power of big data to revolutionize the way cardiovascular research is performed and speed the promise of precision cardiovascular medicine,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown. “The AHA remains steadfast in its commitment to eliminate the tragic global burden cardiovascular disease places on individuals, families, healthcare systems, and entire nations by mapping scientific discovery to the dramatic advances in biomedical research and technology innovation.”

The Power of Cloud Technology

AWS, a leading cloud services provider, provides the computational and analyticteresa-carlson power needed to manage an information ecosystem of this magnitude. Cloud computing is already accelerating scientific progress throughout academia, industry and government, helping to forge new models of open science, collaboration and discovery. Through a cloud-based infrastructure, the Precision Medicine Platform will advance our community of researchers together to find solutions for patients.

AHA and AWS bring unique strengths and complementary expertise to the Precision Medicine Data Marketplace with AWS offering the immense computational and analytical power necessary to manage the information ecosystem of this magnitude,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, Inc. “We are very excited to work with AHA to quickly bring resources and advancements to patients more rapidly and to make these scientific discoveries a reality.

The Promise of Precision Medicine Platform

Several initial healthcare and research organizations are leading the way as data contributors to the AHA Precision Medicine Platform including: AstraZeneca, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, Dallas Heart Study, the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, and Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.

AstraZeneca is pleased to work with the AHA, AWS and other groups on this important initiative. By contributing de-identified data from our clinical trials and bringing together – under one umbrella – the data, and the tools, this initiative will help scientists and clinicians advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease in a cost and time effective manner, to ultimately bring benefits to patients,” said Fouzia Laghrissi Thode, V.P. GPPS Therapy Area, Cardiovascular & Metabolism, AstraZeneca.

This platform will facilitate important collaborations that should help uncover new causal factors and targets for therapy.” said James de Lemos, MD of the Dallas Heart Study.

By making large numbers of data sources more easily available to researchers, this collaboration will accelerate the movement toward greater openness in clinical research,” said DCRI Executive Director Eric Peterson, MD, MPH. “It will also help speed the development of scientific discoveries into usable treatments for the patients who need them most.”

These findings could help stratify individuals, groups, and entire populations according to their risk of cardiovascular disease and likely response to treatments,” said Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD, Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.

Driving Precision Medicine through Data Grants

To spark collaboration, AHA is providing access to the Precision Medicine Platform through a series of grants. AWS is providing grant recipients free access to computational cloud storage and analysis as part of the AHA data grant portfolio.  Grant submissions are in progress and the first round of recipients will be announced in April 2017. More information on submission deadlines for the Data Grant Portfolio can be found at http://institute.heart.org.

The Precision Medicine Platform will be available at precision.heart.org and is a marquee project of the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine.  Additional information can be found at http://institute.heart.org.

About the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine

The American Heart Association Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine is the only organization dedicated exclusively to advancing precision medicine in cardiovascular care.  The Institute aims to preserve and prolong health by architecting more precise scientific discoveries – those that take into account a person’s genetics, environment and lifestyle – for better prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. To learn more, apply for research grants or to get involved, visit http://institute.heart.org.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  

Big Data and AI Hold Greatest Promise For Healthcare Technologies

Big Data and AI Hold Greatest Promise For Healthcare Technologies

Digital Healthcare Executives and Investors Addressed Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Industry

New York City – September 21, 2016  According to a survey of 122 founders, executives and investors in health-tech companies released today by Silicon Valley Bank, big data and artificial intelligence will have the greatest impact on the industry in the year ahead. Healthcare delivery and healthcare IT also promise the most growth in 2017.

Big data has been integral to our work at Celmatix. It has empowered physicians to be able to counsel women about their chances of having a baby, based on their relevant personal metrics, and not just their age,” said Dr. Piraye Yurttas Beim, Chief Executive Officer at Celmatix. “It’s an exciting time to be in a field where the pace of innovation continues to increase as both physicians and patients realize the potential of big data and personalized medicine.

The Silicon Valley Bank survey was conducted at the company’s HealthTech NYC event on September 8, 2016. The day-long event brought together more than 200 founders and executives from healthtech companies including Aledade, babylon Health, Celmatix, PokitDok, Quartet Health and ZocDoc, as well as healthcare and technology investors from firms including  Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates and Venrock. Featured speakers included Karen M. Ignagni, President and CEO, EmblemHealth; Tom Rodgers, SVP and Managing Director, McKesson Ventures; and Steve Allan, Head of SVB Analytics, who presented the latest SVB research report on digital health called, Consumer Digital Health: How Market Shift is Leading to New Opportunities.

Findings from the survey highlight the biggest opportunities and threats for healthcare-related technology companies in the coming year:

  • Biggest ChallengeAlthough the industry is at the forefront of innovation, consumer, patient and client adoption remains the biggest industry challenge (37 percent) followed by regulation (34 percent).
  • Greatest Impact on Investments Thirty-four percent of survey respondents say the success of existing technologies gaining traction will have the greatest impact on investment in the sector next year. Despite uncertainty, the upcoming US Presidential election was seen as least influential factor impacting investment in the industry (7 percent).
  • Most Promising Technology – Survey respondents say big data (46 percent) and artificial intelligence (35 percent) are the technical innovations that will have the greatest impact on healthtech in 2017.
  • Biggest Growth Sector – Healthcare delivery/IT is cited as most likely to experience growth in the coming year (45 percent), ahead of more consumer-focused products including mobile health apps (8 percent) and wearables (7 percent).
  • Best Funding SourceThe majority of respondents (61 percent) believe venture capital will provide the greatest funding opportunities for healthtech companies in the coming year.

The complete survey results are available below.

svb-healthtech-test

 

 

 

svb-healthtech_chart2

svb-healthtech_chart-3

svb-healthtech_chart4

svb-healthtech_chart5

About Silicon Valley Bank 

For more than 30 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. With commercial, international and private banking services, SVB helps address the unique needs of innovators. Learn more at svb.com.

Is Automation The Future Of Radiology?

Is Automation The Future Of Radiology?

Future of Radiology

For those of you who don’t already know, radiology is a subset of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, illnesses and injuries based on imaging techniques. X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, ultrasounds and PET scans all fall under the umbrella of radiology. Even within this medical niche you will find doctors that are highly specialized in treating certain parts of the body. Once you go down this rabbit hole, you will be shocked to see how deep it can go.

But how close are we to having the entirety of radiation automated by all-knowing robots that can do the job equally well, if not better than our well-trained doctors? The idea of automation in medicine is nothing new, as our exponential progress in technology has brought up the valid concern that robots are the future of medicine. We are already in the process of designing nano-sized robots to solve certain medical problems. We invest millions of dollars in building the best equipment that doctors and healthcare workers can get their hands on. What stops us from taking it one step further and having robots perform our jobs without having to lift a finger?

health-care-security

Take IBM, for example. Their radiologist software Avicenna is already showcasing the future of automation in action. It was specifically programmed to make diagnoses and suggest treatments based on the patient’s medical images and data within their record. Early demos are already showing that its accuracy is on par with independent diagnoses made by trained radiologists. With more data fed to this software in the form of millions of anonymized patient data, it will gradually escape from demo testing and become a seriously useful tool in hospitals all around the world.

Another recent case study of robot-guided radiology in action is Entilic, a deep-learning machine system that is engineered for medical image recognition. According to a test that involved analyzing a CT scan of a patient’s lungs done against three expert human radiologists, “Enlitic’s system was 50% better at classifying malignant tumours and had a false-negative rate (where a cancer is missed) of zero, compared with 7% for the humans”. If this is the kind of result that we are seeing from a startup, just imagine what the implications will be when this technology is fully developed and integrated with the IT systems in healthcare facilities worldwide.

Many people are divided on the implications of automatizing the radiology-guided diagnosis and treatment of patients. The common argument against automation is that it will put a lot of radiologists out of work. Several decades of intense study and hard work will be thrown down the drain because a machine will be able to do their job with greater accuracy and success. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning within machines, this possibility cannot be disregarded any longer. We are already seeing several jobs in the transportation and manufacturing industries being lost to robots and well-programmed machines.

cloud-security-health

On the other hand, those in favour of automation are arguing that radiology robots are going to help radiologists do their jobs instead of taking them away. Indeed, we still have a long way to go when it comes to rigorous testing and optimizing the ability of intelligent programs to accurately diagnose complex medical programs. One might go as far as to argue that radiology software will act as a checking system in which we can compare independent diagnoses against a machine-produced result. In the end, problems would be found far sooner and fixed far faster. It could even lead to reduced patient wait times!

We are fortunate enough that medical automation is still in its early developmental stages. There is still time left in the future for us to debate over the pros and cons of automation in radiology. No matter the outcome, it is blatantly clear that jobs needs to be at the forefront of this discussion. Either we provide hard-working radiologists with a new career path, or we find a way for automation to work alongside their work instead of against it.

What are your thoughts about automation in radiology? Are you for it or against it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

By Tom Zakharov

Tom is a Master’s student at McGill University, currently specializing in the field of Experimental Medicine. After graduating from the University of Ottawa as a Summa Cum Laude undergraduate, he is currently investigating novel indicators of chemotherapy toxicity in stage IV lung cancer patients. Tom also has 4+ years of scientific research in academia, government, and the pharmaceutical industry. Tom’s first co-authored paper investigated a novel analytical chemistry method for detecting hydrazine in nuclear power plants at parts-per-billion (ppb) concentrations, which can be viewed here.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

The Healthcare Industry

The use of smart devices in healthcare is expanding, and according to a report by Technavio the global smart wearable healthcare device and services market will show a compounded annual growth rate of over 18%. Thanks to modern medicine, lifespans are increasing, resulting in aging populations and a higher frequency of chronic diseases. Moreover, with the consumer driving healthcare systems, it’s becoming more important to provide mobile, user-friendly healthcare applications that aid in personal health monitoring and provide users with the tools to improve their health themselves. Thanks in part to a highly competitive market investing in and delivering new healthcare innovations, consumer hopes and expectations for healthcare solutions are more often than not being met and exceeded.

Smart Healthcare Technology Trends

According to explorations and studies of smart healthcare technology, we can expect technology to work hand in hand with healthcare today, and even more so into the future. Technological developments in the healthcare sector support both patients and caregivers and are facilitating better patient outcomes. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increased technology spend by healthcare providers as practitioners view the tech sector as potentially providing critical components to their practices. On the other hand, patients aren’t always getting the care they require due in part to a shortage of timely appointments, but also due to rocketing healthcare costs. Technology could provide some solutions to these challenges through mobile applications, smart healthcare devices, and telemedicine opportunities.

Already mobile devices are being used by doctors to access and assess patient information, and many organizations are implementing tablet applications for communication with patients. Similarly, patients are making use of mobile applicationswhich aid in self-diagnosis as well as provider communication tools for more streamlined healthcare processes. Of course, privacy and security remain a concern as data leaks of sensitive patient information is unfortunately not uncommon, and many healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with the latest tech innovations and their accompanying vulnerabilities.

Big Data Analytics & Healthcare

A chief concern in the medical industry today, and for many years past, is identifying important healthcare practices and then ensuring they’re delivered timeously. According to estimates by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 17 years go by before relevant scientific discoveries become standard treatment. Luckily, data analytics is making it possible to reduce this number dramatically. Through the collection, analysis and sharing of real-time healthcare data and evidence, providers are better equipped to decrease medical complications and improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, such implementations are proving to reduce costs while realizing best practice solutions.

Assisting sound data analytics, healthcare providers are learning that a better quality of information results in improved and advanced insights. Though many hospitals and healthcare organizations are reluctant to share results, in part due to competitive pressures, but also due to privacy and security concern, such communication and distribution of data is at the very center of big data analytics potential to improve patient care and health outcomes. Fortunately, many institutions are beginning to recognize the value of collaboration, and cooperative approaches are driving down healthcare costs, improving healthcare delivery mechanisms, and refining patient treatments.

Any suitable big data analytics program begins with a solid blueprint. Though it’s tempting to focus on the goals and end results of such a program, shrewd organizations recognize that developing a robust infrastructure which supports clinical and operational enhancements is more sensible. Suddenly healthcare organizations are immersed in the world of data centers, data integrity, supportive reporting processes, and IT developments and challenges. Once the bare bones are in place, staff correctly trained, and patients willing partners, the search for appropriate big data analytics tools begins. When examined as such, it’s clear that successful healthcare big data analytics programs are the result of significant investments of time, expertise, and money and each positive outcome warrants much celebration and admiration.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CALLING DOCTOR CLOUD, CALLING DOCTOR CLOUD!

CALLING DOCTOR CLOUD, CALLING DOCTOR CLOUD!

Medical Technology

Listen: THUMP-thump, THUMP-thump. No, it’s not your heartbeat but the new rhythm of healthcare IT: the Cloud. Even in this most conservative (and can we say, a bit laggard) of fields in taking advantage of processes and technologies that long ago the rest of the world has adopted, even in healthcare cloud is making increasing and in some cases dramatic inroads. This all spells good news for patients.

We have all been there – a dimly lit institutional room with pushed back drapes that hang from the ceiling. Muffled voices and carts of some sort echo from the corridor beyond the extra wide closed door. In the room, the steady click and soft whir of pumps and the soft beeps of monitoring machines provide a back drop to your friend, loved one or even you lying still on the hospital bed.

Modern medicine is saturated with technology that monitors our vitals; feeds us a steady stream of life-giving and pain preventing medicines, and can even keep us breathing. These clinical devices generate an incredible stream of information. And we do mean incredible: in the first day of a newborn’s life he/she generates 70 times more information than contained in the Library of Congress (think photos, sonograms, fetal monitors, medical records, etc.). Unfortunately, most of these devices are digital islands spewing their data into separate summaries for humans to labor intensively and error prone “eyeball integration”.

Then there is the administrative side of healthcare: billing for every individual band-aid and service used under a complex set of 68 to 76 thousand codes. These are the make or break for the success of the modern healthcare entity. Get them correct and you survive, maybe even prosper. Get them wrong – well, enough said.

Into this resource constrained environment comes the cloud with all its cost effectiveness and agility that has driven its adoption in so many other areas. A 2016 HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society) recent survey shows that an increasing number of healthcare entities are adopting cloud.

Here are the Key Takeaways from the 2016 Healthcare Cloud Survey:

  • The tipping point is here, planned usage of cloud for 5 key use cases increased 65% between 2014 and 2016.
  • Organizations are aggressively using or planning to move to cloud to access compute cycles for big data analytics (59%), to host patient empowerment tools (73%) and to satisfy business requirements like PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System, i.e. medical images) storage (55%); providers are leveraging cloud for PHI (Protected Health Information) and non-PHI impacting applications.
  • Ten cloud adoption motivators ranked highly; cost efficiencies, robust disaster recovery solutions and the need for more scalable platforms came in at the top.
  • Organizations understand the importance of secure, private cloud connectivity; 77% of respondents involve their network provider early on in strategy discussions.
  • Microsoft Azure, AWS & Google are all recognized as industry leaders for Cloud Services within healthcare.

Again following a similar pattern in other industries, back office; administrative functions are being converted first, especially to SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings like email, collaboration tools, etc.

Beyond the traditional back office – what’s striking and key here is the clinical option cloud opens up for big data analytics in medicine (second bullet above). An exciting new area requiring massive computing power that cloud can supply extremely cost effectively. The era of genomic medicine is ever closer due to the cloud.

Likewise, similar to other areas there are the natural concerns about security. According to recent report from Skyhigh Networks, the average healthcare organization uses 928 cloud services. The report goes on to note; the average healthcare employee uses 26 cloud services during the course of a day. Unfortunately, a lot of this is “Shadow IT” of which the health care IT management is often not even aware. Worse, 93% of these apps are medium to high risk. The cloud is just too good to pass up but IT organizations in healthcare need to take a page from their brethren in other fields on how to manage both the opportunity and the pitfalls.

So it looks like we are at a tipping point in health care’s adoption of the cloud. Imagine when you will be sitting (of laying) in that room as an empowered patient and you can pull up the health status, meds prescribed, etc. on your tablet. After all, this is what has happened in so many other industries when cloud came a knocking. The result was more power to the consumer. Why should it be any different in healthcare?

By John Pientka

(Originally published Aug 5th, 2016. You can periodically read John’s syndicated articles here on CloudTweaks. Contact us for more information on our programs)

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic: The Future of File Storage

Cloud Infographic: The Future of File Storage

 The Future of File Storage A multi-billion dollar market Data storage has been readily increasing for decades. In 1989, an 8MB Macintosh Portable was top of the range; in 2006, the Dell Inspiron 6400 became available, boasting 160GB; and now, we have the ‘Next Generation’ MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage built in. But, of course,…

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War Rages On

Cloud Computing Price War There’s little question that the business world is a competitive place, but probably no area in business truly defines cutthroat quite like cloud computing. At the moment, we are witnessing a heated price war pitting some of the top cloud providers against each other, all in a big way to attract…

The CloudTweaks Archive - Posted by
Cloud Infographic – Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences Many people have heard of cloud computing. There is however a tremendous number of people who still cannot differentiate between Public, Private & Hybrid cloud offerings.  Here is an excellent infographic provided by the group at iWeb which goes into greater detail on this subject. Infographic source: iWeb

Driving Success: 6 Key Metrics For Every Recurring Revenue Business

Driving Success: 6 Key Metrics For Every Recurring Revenue Business

Recurring Revenue Business Metrics Recurring revenue is the secret sauce behind the explosive growth of powerhouses like Netflix and Uber. Unsurprisingly, recurring revenue is also quickly gaining ground in more traditional industries like healthcare and the automotive business. In fact, nearly half of U.S. businesses have adopted or are planning to adopt a recurring revenue model,…

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services – Security Threat or Massive Opportunity?

Big Data and Financial Services Cloud Banking Insights Series focuses on big data in the financial services industry and whether it is a security threat or actually a massive opportunity. How does big data fit into an overall cloud strategy? Most FI’s have a positive mind-set towards cloud IT consumption as it not only enables…

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

The Financial Services Cloud Fintech investment has been seeing consistent growth in 2015, with some large moves being made this year. The infographic (Courtesy of Venturescanner) below shows the top Fintech investors and the amount of companies they’re currently funding: Just this week, a financial data startup known as Orchard Platform raised $30 million in…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Global Cloud Index In October, Cisco released its Global Cloud Index (GCI) report for 2014-2019, projecting a near 3-fold growth of global data center traffic, with predictions that this traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (cloud data center traffic) and 10.4 zettabytes (total data center traffic) per year in 2019 and 80% of it will come…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

What the Dyn DDoS Attacks Taught Us About Cloud-Only EFSS

DDoS Attacks October 21st, 2016 went into the annals of Internet history for the large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that made popular Internet properties like Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Box inaccessible to many users in the US. The DDoS attack happened in three waves targeting DNS service provider Dyn, resulting in a total of about…

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

The Legal Battle For Privacy In early June 2013, Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans. It was a dramatic story. Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then Russia to avoid deportation to the US,…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…