Ready to innovate. And ripe to transform? How cloud and mobile technologies are poised to transform health at systemic level

  • Posted on 03.12.2015

Ready to innovate. And ripe to transform? How cloud and mobile technologies are poised to transform health at systemic level


Elena Bonfiglioli

Managing Director Health Industry, Public Sector, EMEA, Microsoft


Editors’ Note: This blog is the first part of a series on Digital Health, which aims at presenting the challenges of the new digital revolution and demonstrating how digital health is empowering people to better track, manage, and improve their own health. During the European MedTech Forum (2-4 December 2015) follow the conversation and learn from industry experts using the Twitter hashtag #mtf2015

For a long time we have been talking about innovation in healthcare.  And indeed a lot of innovation has taken place from EMRs to mobile health solutions, new sensors and devices, wearable technologies, artificial hearts and 3D printing of organs, precision medicine and more. 

Faced with an increasing pace of innovation, the question of where we are compared to a transformative “tipping point” comes to mind.  Is healthcare ripe to go beyond punctual innovation and enter the age of deeper systemic transformation?  What does it take for that to happen?

These are some of the questions I was reflecting on having read the recent study from PwC on the New Health Economy and getting ready for the European MedTech Forum where many experts will discuss the future of health innovation. 

The tipping point: care without walls. Care is shifting from ‘within’ the physical walls of the hospital to a more pervasive continuum of care outside hospitals’ walls reaching into the community and even the home. Increasingly, patients’ chronic conditions management require monitoring in between visits and after fast discharge from the hospital. Care administered at home is supported by ongoing sensor-based remote monitoring and virtual health.

As care moves beyond the walls of the hospital, cloud and mobile technology imperatives empower transformative change.  Imagine a world of empowered health….in which cloud and mobile solutions can:

– Empower COPD patients at home by a pulse oximeter along with a mobile device which besides measurement can also serve for remote consultations, saving time for health professionals and patients alike. 

– Empower asthma sufferers with a cloud solution that enhances the reliability of their monitoring devices to diagnose and treat their disease effectively and automates prediction of when consumable sensors will need to be replenished. 

– Empower elderly citizens of Danish municipalities with cloud solutions for remote rehabilitation from their living room or elderly homes home, with a set of personalized exercises tailored to their needs and with remote support from a nurse or therapist.

– Empower clinicians to achieve optimal dose levels and provide better patient care using DoseWatch Explore from GE Healthcare which leverages the power of cloud to help healthcare organizations better track patient radiation doses when having computed tomography (CT) scans.

Empowering health with cloud and mobility allows us to not only imagine and also to realize transformation at scale.  Clearly we are already at a tipping point.  Transformation can be achieved with pervasive adoption of cloud and mobile technologies. If such technologies are already available, what more do we need?

Cloud-first, cloud trust and cloud readiness. For more health organizations to move to cloud, they need cloud services they can trust. Microsoft’s commitment to cybersecurity, data privacy, compliance, and transparency are the cornerstones of what we call the Trustworthy Cloud. We recently put together a resource to help health organizations address their concerns about the cloud and map their own unique journey to trusted cloud services. Check out the European Cloud Risk Assessment Framework.

Besides cloud trust, health transformation also needs cloud capabilities & readiness.  A truly ubiquitous transformation of health can only happen if we enable health professionals to do more from anywhere. Cloud-based collaboration and communication technologies make the difference.  For example:

– In Germany, Malteser moved to a hybrid cloud platform to better serve its 48,000 volunteer workers and is now more flexible and “patient oriented”— which is one step beyond being patient-centric. The mobile volunteers can easily check for the latest information on patients, schedule meetings, organize visits, and book resources from rooms to vehicles across 700 locations using Office 365.

– In Belgium, with over 300,000 home visits a year, Wit-Gele Kruis needed a seamless solution to improve communication between medical providers and patients and chose mobile solutions to readily share and update information when and where it is needed. 

– Finally, operating at global scale, Operation Smile is leveraging Microsoft’s O365 productivity and collaboration suite to orchestrate the work of dispersed health professionals coming from across the globe for a few days to seamlessly operate 21 thousand children a year.  

Quo vadis? Towards more collaborative, personalized and predictive health system.  Our direction is determined by our mission and vision. MedTech’s mission to support policies enabling innovation, sustainability of health systems and broader access is well aligned to Microsoft’s Empowering mission.  We are dedicated to empowering health organizations globally – whether it be through providing the right technology to improve caregiver collaboration and productivity, or delivering solutions that meet ever more stringent privacy, security and regulatory requirements.  

What is our collective challenge and next step?  A cloud-ready health policy landscape is what we need to make our health systems fit for the purpose of transformation.  

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