The Cloud Experience Everywhere

Why healthcare IT needs a new way to cope with massive change (and COVID is only part of the story)

The demands on healthcare resources are rapidly escalating, and often unpredictable. A consumption-based approach can give healthcare organizations the flexibility and scalability they need to respond.

HPE GreenLake Healthcare.png

It’s no exaggeration to say that healthcare organizations have achieved 10 years’ worth of digital transformation in 10 months. The digitization of healthcare is increasingly real, and you see its effects on the patient experience everywhere, even in relatively simple things like using email to get a remote diagnosis. When I thought one of my kids was getting impetigo recently, I emailed a photo to the doctor and she was quickly able to set my mind at ease. (Then again, it’s not so long ago that a hospital actually asked me for my permission to send some info by email since it wouldn’t be on official letterhead!)

The pandemic has accelerated adoption of whole range of technologies. But we’re really just at the beginning of the digital healthcare surge, and providers will need to find new ways to respond faster and more flexibly to huge, and often unpredictable, changes in demand.

As I see it, we now have three cohorts of patients that are driving the acceleration of healthcare tech. First, ofHPE GreenLake for Healthcare.png course, there’s the COVID-19 influx, which was completely unpredictable, though becoming more predictable now. Novel infectious diseases can drive huge spikes in demand, and there’s no reason to think COVID will be the last.

Then there’s the patients living with complex, long-term conditions. The pace of change is less intense for this group, but they are a significant factor in the rising demand for healthcare resources. Their treatments are increasingly complex and extensive, and they're in care for a longer period of time.

The third cohort of patients are those who have acute conditions, but who – for whatever reason (and fear of COVID might be a big one) – don't present to healthcare to get treatment. They represent a kind of stored-up demand that will require all of the capacity and flexibility that healthcare organizations and their IT departments can muster.

A better way to scale

Where is all that capacity and flexibility going to come from? I’d argue that consumption-based IT is a big part of the answer. In an industry like healthcare, sending the kind of data that we’re dealing with to the public cloud is not always a realistic option. But with HPE GreenLake, our infrastructure as a service platform, you can run your critical systems on-premises and still get the kind of agility and rapid scalability that you’d associate with cloud. The infrastructure is installed on-site by HPE, with all the capacity for your current needs, and a buffer of capacity ready for use if and when you need it. HPE owns the gear and manages it for you. We meter your consumption and bill you on a per-use, monthly basis.

One way to think about it is in terms of a utility type of arrangement. Your healthcare organization doesn’t need to own a power station – you’re not in the electricity generation business. You just plug into the capacity when you need it. So, for example, let’s say you’ve got a surge of new COVID patients, and you need to input their data to your electronic medical records system, which means that you're going to need more storage, more processing power, more networking. With HPE GreenLake for Healthcare, you can turn that on very quickly. You don’t have to wait for something to get delivered. (Read more: A Digital Prescription for Healthcare's Technology Challenges)

EMR in the spotlight

Electronic health records is an interesting use case, because the technology is advancing so quickly that it’s putting a spotlight on the issues around traditional approaches to procuring the hardware. EMR providers, for good reasons, are really strict about the infrastructure their systems run on, to the point where they may insist that it’s always updated to a certain level under their yearly support contract.

With HPE GreenLake for healthcare, you’re not going to fall behind on the platform specs. We take care of that for you. Software licensing in general is something you don’t have to worry about with HPE GreenLake. Usually if you migrate apps to the cloud, you have to buy the licenses again, but with HPE GreenLake you can bring them with you. They get picked up as part of the service contract.

HPE recently announced an HPE GreenLake platform for EMR as a service, based on Epic System. The new cloud service delivers all the hardware, software and certified expertise to run Epic at scale. Read more: Electronic Medical Records delivered as a service.

Helping doctors be doctors

Health records are just one use case, of course, and the beauty of HPE GreenLake is that it can support a vast range of applications, from AI to genomic research.

And whatever use you find for it, HPE GreenLake for Healthcare can give you better insight into usage and spend, through our integrated console HPE GreenLake Central. It can ensure cloud-like performance while delivering the compliance assurance of on-prem infrastructure. And it can even help you manage mergers and acquisitions efficiently, as Mohawk Valley Health System found out (see this video: Maintaining High Quality Patient Care with HPE GreenLake).

In addition to driving operational efficiency, though, it’s all about improving clinical outcomes and enhancing the healthcare experience, both for patients and for clinical teams. In short, (as I wrote in an earlier blog), it’s about enabling “doctors to spend more time being doctors, and patients spend more time being … people.”

For more on HPE and EHR, see this video:

The future of healthcare; Keeping pace with change in electronic healthcare records applications

Don’t miss this webinar, coming up Weds Jan 27, 9am PST, where I’ll be presenting with my colleagues Laura Curry and Steve Cotham. We’ll be talking about how HPE can help you transform healthcare IT from edge to cloud.

Digital Healthcare for Today’s Complex Needs

Further reading:

Want to know the future of technologySign up for weekly insights and resources

Rich Bird
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

About the Author


Rich Bird has worked in the IT industry for 20 years with some of the largest commercial brands. For the last 5 years he’s been focused on healthcare IT at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and believes deeply that digital technologies can, will and need to have an impact on the delivery of better healthcare, for people all over the world. Educated in Computer Science at Coventry University, and starting his career as a network engineer for Rolls Royce, he moved into human communications roles in 2006. Rich leads teams in delivering integrated marketing campaigns into National, local and regional Governments in the UK, where Rich found his passion for making the complex concepts of IT, simple and understandable for his audience. During this time he found his true calling, Healthcare, and how digitization can improve real people lives. He created a companywide growth board focusing on the UK NHS, pulling together disparate teams of sales, marketing, solutions architects, chief technologists and the country leadership teams for HP/HPE UK. Rich is a strategic thinker who understands the practical elements that are required to get the job done and deliver real impact. His areas of specialization include Healthcare IT, Marketing, Communications, and NLP.