Future of healthcare needs IT overhaul, survey finds
Recent research by cloud computing company Nutanix has found that current healthcare IT systems are no longer conducive to today’s work environment. Nutanix’s 2020 Healthcare ECI survey uncovered that major IT overhauls are needed within healthcare facilities if they are to withstand the hybrid business model most industries now operate in.
The pandemic has accelerated the industry’s digital transformation, but challenges remain. "The COVID-19 pandemic shifted daily operations within every industry, but healthcare organisations were especially burdened with having to offer first-class patient care while also ensuring the safety of their employees" says Cheryl Rodenfels, Healthcare Strategist at Nutanix.
"To keep up with demands caused by the pandemic, organisations rapidly shifted their IT models. Specifically, more than half have increased their public cloud and hybrid cloud use and nearly half have invested more in private cloud environments because of the pandemic.
"These moves likely reflect an effort to quickly provide new work-from-home employees with access to IT resources, as 93 per cent of respondents shifted to at least a partly remote model at the onset of the pandemic."
An overwhelming 95 per cent of survey respondents said that hybrid private/public cloud is the ideal IT operating model. "Healthcare organisations are in the midst of enabling remote work, implementing telehealth practices and supporting an increasing patient load" Rodenfels says. "As a result, they need IT solutions that can support their organisations’ growing needs and drive their digital transformation. Hybrid cloud is the preferred model to support that.
"Respondents chose cost advantages as the number reason to switch to hybrid cloud and security, privacy and compliance were a close second. With the recent increase in ransomware attacks at healthcare organisations and increased patient loads due to Covid-19, it is expected that security, privacy and compliance will soon become the number one reason for implementing a hybrid cloud."
To reach the ideal hybrid cloud model, healthcare providers must decommission legacy infrastructure components while adopting private and public clouds. "This will integrate their IT networks into a cohesively managed hybrid environment. However, this process can be difficult to accomplish, as each enterprise has unique business and IT demands that drive how the company designs its cloud environment and consumes resources.
"Many organisations will also need to depreciate and migrate their legacy infrastructures before transporting applications, data, workloads, development, and processes to the new environment."
Additionally, healthcare companies need to invest in IT talent to help with this shift. 41 per cent of survey respondents said they lacked the necessary IT skills to manage hybrid cloud environments. "These issues have contributed to organisational struggles to fully adopt hybrid cloud" Rodenfels says, "but with the right talent in place, in combination with tapping trusted partners, the healthcare industry’s journey to hybrid cloud can be expedited."
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.