Not one part of the public sector has seen more digital change in the last year than the Health and Social Care sector.
And for good reason. Health and Social Care could not stop whilst the pandemic took hold, and this expedited change like we’d never seen. Many organisations looked to digital solutions as the answer, and perhaps now will never look back.
Though this change has been a wonder to behold, it’s only the start. We’ve seen patient data be utilised like never before whilst legacy applications have been torn out and replaced with collaborative new SaaS-enabled systems. It really is making the best of the opportunities available; an example to the rest of the public sector on what can be done when you embrace the cloud.
But how can health organisations take their digital strategy to the next level? Over the past few months, we’ve seen many health organisations take their first meaningful steps with the cloud, but now they need to build on these digital foundations and extract as much value as possible from the leading-edge technologies they now have at their fingertips.
Remember, the cloud is not an all-consuming blob – different Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) offer different benefits. Some organisations need more choice, flexibility and security from their digital solutions. Some have integral connectivity requirements. For some, the perfect solution exists, and for others, there must be compromises.
Evaluating your situation, realising the solution, and carefully choosing the CSP that can help you deliver better patient outcomes will help you realise how cloud can transform your operational capabilities, and in the long term, the capabilities of all the organisations you work collaboratively with.
It’s time to embrace Health Cloud.
Data: Safe, Secure and so much more.
Data is important across the whole public sector. Perhaps nowhere else is it more important than in Health and Social care – a sector which, in realising data’s true value, can help save lives.
The complexities of understanding, and extracting that value are for another blog. In fact, any regular hyperscale cloud has the capabilities to help you extract value from data, that is if you have the money to throw at it. However, protecting the integrity and fully appreciating the value that a national data repository can bring – that’s where a true Health Cloud can shine.
So what does that mean? How do we ‘protect’ this valuable data, and secure your organisations workloads to ensure patient data is not compromised, or stuck with a CSP that cannot help you extract maximum value?
It is all about the provider. Ask yourself:
✅ Does the custodian of my patient’s data represent the same values as my organisation?
✅ Do they take the same assurance precautions I would expect them to take?
✅ Do they have the necessary cyber security software in place to prevent malicious attacks?
✅ Do they provide support and recovery in the event of downtime or disaster?
Organisations are only risking the integrity and safety of their data if they are not willing to evaluate their options when choosing a digital strategy and Health Cloud provider. The reluctance of 83.33% of Health and Social Care organisations to move their workloads to the cloud due to security concerns can be mitigated if organisations ask themselves the right questions.
This association of security risk is most attributed to public cloud – considered by 43% of Health and Social Care organisations as not robust enough for their most secure and sensitive systems, and by 44% not robust enough for systems which need to connect to private or community networks (PSN, HSCN and RLI).
Allowing for collaboration and interoperability through secure, compliant and ethical sharing of data between Health and Social Care providers is a key recommendation of Public Policy Projects’ (PPP) Digitisation of Healthcare and Medical Technologies report. Secure access to these networks opens the door to a future of Health and Social Care collaboration, a future which can only be achieved through the rapid and comprehensive adoption of a dedicated Health Cloud.
Our recent State of Digital and Data report found that 44.2% of Health and Care organisations agree that compliance and security restrictions make it hard to share and collaborate on their organisation’s data. This figure needs to fall considerably – especially in an industry where data and collaboration will prove an integral part of next-generation health and care.
To do so, there must be focus on assurance – consider how your CSP can secure your workloads by offering the right security classification. The cloud can support sensitive workloads, and robust security opens the door for collaboration.
Data governance, security accreditation, technology and cyber security standards should all be weighed up when choosing a provider. Not to mention social value obligations, traits that go a long way to show an organisations commitment to the community, to the taxpayer, and to the rehabilitation of patients.
Further, data sovereignty must be considered when choosing your provider. Why should UK patient data ever leave the island? This resource is a valuable national asset which belongs to the patient – keeping data sovereign is part of protecting it’s purity. Especially in a post-Brexit Britain.
Multi-Cloud: Cloud Migration and Digital Transformation
Many Health and Social Care organisations have made the move to the cloud and are already reaping the benefits. But what does moving to the cloud actually entail?
As mentioned before, the cloud doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all. Not all organisations are ready to transform, a lot of organisations just simply need to get their foot in the door.
Flexibility is a key part of our Health Cloud proposition – and so it should be. Healthcare organisations have strict requirements, need secure solutions and ample choice. Those less digitally mature need a cloud migration system that works but should also be afforded the opportunity to scale and innovate when ready.
This is where Multi-Cloud shines. As a concept, Multi-Cloud is very open – giving you the opportunity to mix and match cloud technologies. Rehost legacy applications with VMware, or utilise Azure and OpenShift for Cloud Native opportunities.
But Multi-Cloud also encompasses private, public, and hybrid cloud – allowing you to choose where and how you want your information and workloads hosted.
Often, the biggest inhibitor to cloud adoption is not being able to find the perfect solution, and in Health and Social Care, that number is 84.3%. Finding the perfect solution is much more simple when you can pick and choose it yourself.
If your perfect solution is what you’re already using, or your current solution is too integral for current workloads to move, utilise dedicated cloud-hosting technologies like UKCloud for VMware to experience the medicinal benefits of the cloud.
Building that digital foundation is perhaps the most important step, as the visionary agenda of collaboration and interoperability within the industry can happen so much more freely and simply (not to mention compliantly) when you have the necessary building blocks in place.
But for more digitally mature organisations, a cloud migration project is only the start. In fact, the benefits of innovation and better data usage in Health and Social Care could not be more exciting. Health and Social Care should be looking to utilise cloud-native technologies to digitally transform.
But what is the most effective, inexpensive, and simple way to realise this ambition?
Well, you can build your own cloud native applications – there’s certainly benefit to this. For health organisations that are drawn to non-proprietary solutions, which are less expensive and more secure, then there are open-source driven projects like OpenShift. Open-source technology has its benefits and drawbacks – something we discuss in a recent blog.
For other organisations who want best-in-class AI (AWS), Data (Google) or enterprise compatibility, there are a variety of hyperscaler platforms which can help you transform at pace.
But there is another way…
S2S – Let others take care of the heavy lifting
Being Multi-Cloud providers, UKCloud Health encourage organisations to explore all avenues of digital transformation. Built-for-purpose applications are pricey, resource-intensive and difficult to maintain. However, pull it off as a part of your digital strategy and it can work. This is the route the hyperscalers will encourage you to take.
Building your own cloud native applications has its merit, but in an industry where 83.3% of organisations say they lack the resources, such as DevOps and automation needed to build and manage cloud native applications, is it really the best solution?
Ultimately, when looking for software to deliver a presentation, or type up a letter, you wouldn’t skip past Microsoft Office PowerPoint or Word and build something yourself. It’s much easier and more simple to take advantage of what’s already there…
Now, maybe this example doesn’t take into account all the complexities of the industry, but it makes a very stark point: Why build when you can buy?
Many Independent Software Providers (ISV) have taken their specialist systems and made them easier to consume by migrating them to the cloud. This Software to Services (S2S or SaaS) solution creates ample benefits for Health and Social Care organisations, allowing them to press ahead with their digital transformation easier, cheaper, and safer.
You see, with S2S, no in-house skills or resources are needed in the development of a new, shiny application. Just pay-as-you-go. Scale when necessary and benefit from frequent updates. Let your organisation stick to what it does best, and let the S2S provider transfer all of the benefits of their own in-house skills to you through their solutions.
When everyone sticks to what they’re good at, everyone wins.
It is not just skills and capability resources you will save on – S2S can also be much less expensive. There is no development or ongoing management costs, just pay-as-you-go. Again, simple.
Better still, when an external software solution is hosted on a dedicated Health Cloud, such as UKCloud Health, you can rest assured that your data is secure. That is why these S2S solution providers, our community of partners, choose us. They know you need a secure solution, and having their services hosted on a platform which addresses the industry’s requirements allows them to do what they do best.
Our partner case studies exemplify the power of utilising S2S on a Health Cloud, check them out here.
Knowing where to start with developing a digital strategy can be tricky. Our Professional Services team is here to help you, whatever your digital maturity. Alternatively, contact a cloud expert today to kickstart your digital transformation.