Data is the new oil – And the Right IT, the Lubricant

By : |February 18, 2019 0

By Pratima Harigunani and Thomas George, CMR

The healthcare industry is confronting new symptoms of an imminent data crisis. Compliance, personalization, split-second-right decisions, real-time data access and interactive patient care – there is so much that needs to be treated. Band-aids won’t work. Precise intra-venous solutions will. Here’s an organization that cracked it right.

When your operations are sprawled across a chain of more than 20 hospitals across India, with the ambitious goal of delivering maternity and neonatal care to hundreds of patients on a daily basis – there is no way a healthcare entity like Cloudnine Hospitals could get complacent about data.

Yes, data that was manifesting both as a challenge and an opportunity. On one hand, was the overwhelming imperative to meet regulatory expectations on data while accommodating the daily deluge of data from myriad devices, patients, platforms and sources. On the other hand, there was this latent, but potent, possibility of turning this intimidating data into a game-changer for the organisation’s goals and business model.

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Was it complex? Yes. Was it complicated? No.

Let’s see how.

 

Data As A Demon

Enormous and entangled data was pouring into the hospital network from all corners. It was being generated on a daily basis and was being archived online. The expansion of the hospital from just one set-up in 2006 to almost-12 by 2016 only weighed down the data infrastructure further. The mandate from the government to preserve patient data for seven to 21 years; and the sheer variety of data in formats, such as x-rays, scans and lab reports added more data-headaches for IT here.

As Jitendra Shrivastava Senior Manager – IT Cloudnine Hospitals reflects on the deepening-data epidemic, “We never thought the data would grow at such a massive speed. At one point, we had to put a stop-gap to find a technology to manage it all.”

But selection of the right technology was as critical here as the role of right diagnosis on a fuzzy health-issue. The technology did not have to be just great or fancy or popular but it also had to translate into something handy for the doctors on the ground. The staff had to have data on their finger-tips, literally, and without any delays. Everything had to work like clockwork but without letting anyone gaze at the clock for even a nano-second. It was, after all, a scenario that involved patients and new-borns; and, at times, a life-and-death situation.

Compliance and data-preservation mandates inserted heavy footnotes here so while data had to be agile it also had to tick the right boxes on storage. Scalability was another non-negotiable criterion, given the nature of operations and expansion-roadmap of the organisation. We are talking about data that was enormous, constantly throbbing and growing every minute. This could mean that a heavy upfront investment into the right facility was inevitable.

In short, what was needed from IT was an unprecedented and deft juggling act. Give staff access to data ‘on-the-fly’, ensure that new hospitals that get opened get aligned seamlessly into this pipe, iron out the data well for regulatory needs, keep pace with rapid data growth without any errors or slip-ups and accommodate the formidable variety of data sources as well as formats. Data could be just the oil to power its nerves and activate its business/regulatory arteries but how to keep this oil in the right trickle without spill-overs or squirts?

Could Cloudnine find someone who would sweep in as a flow-expert and spare it the heavy-lifting of arduous investments and internal-IT?

 

Lubrication Arrives

After approaching and evaluating a number of vendors, Cloudnine managed to hit the nail on its head when it came across Hitachi and NxtGen. “We found these answers best as these solutions offered a flexible architecture with almost-zero capital investment.” Shrivastava explains.

The solution was not only highly- scalable but also furnished benefits on content mobility, easy data management, Private Cloud Services and Data Protection-as-a-Service (DPaaS) features. The attributes that NxtGen Hitachi Content Platform, Hitachi Data Ingestor provided were precise, sturdy and enduring for the multi-pronged needs that the hospital had put on the table.

The hospital went ahead with the opex model that was offered and avoided spending any unnecessary bucks. The model was streamlined in such a way that the organization could enjoy the service as a monthly-package for three years and thereafter, assume ownership exclusively.

Migration begun first with nine hospitals and progressed to five more as the solutions deepened its roots and users got comfortable in the new habitat. Today the hospital is migrating to the rest of the hospitals and harnessing all the outcomes it expected, was promised – plus the ones that came as adjunct-surprises.

“This has enabled seamless patient data access and is a huge process improvement in digital patient care for us. “” Jitendra Shrivastava Senior Manager – IT Cloudnine Hospitals.

 

All Is Fluid Now

It is a pay-per-use model, but the impact is straddled across all nooks and stakeholders of the organization and its ecosystem. The staff now enjoys swift and deep access to data for greater service to expectant mothers. The patient-records are safe and capped well for compliance needs on retention and preservation. All this is happening in a scalable way and at a reduced cost (specially with all the capex burden of an in-house storage infrastructure that has been wiped away). The networks and other data areas are being managed by the service-provider leaving the shoulders of the hospital light for the tasks it is supposed to focus on. Internal resources do not have to be on a stand-by for steering this new solution. Future expansion is on the anvil and even that would happen without spurring any hidden, or new, costs or resources.

It is a future-ready infrastructure that stresses on cost savings, scalability, resource optimization, service delivery, privacy of patient data and augmentation of the end-to-end patient experience. As Shrivastava underlines, the compression quality and reporting speed is simply compelling, more so when we look at the speed, pixel-grade and ratio of reports available in doctor’s hands now.

As the demand for 24/7 data availability from anywhere grows and as data insights continue to offer a means for organizations to innovate faster and gain competitive advantages, the cloud has changed the way agility and business transformation need to be looked. Hemant Tiwari, VP & General Manager, Hitachi Vantara India says, “We, as a technology partner, are committed to developing best-fit, Hitachi-powered, cost-effective, as-a-service alternatives that can help customers accelerate enterprise cloud deployment and transform their businesses. Hitachi Content Platform with NxGen Data Protection-as-a-Service (DPaaS), delivered via cloud, enabled Cloudnine Hospitals to reduce capital expenditure, improve staff access to data, meet government-compliance requirements for retention and allow greater stability for their future expansion.’’

IT is turning out what it should ideally be. A good nurse. quick-footed, well-armed. Invisible, but always-there. Cloudnine is on Cloud Nine.

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