Healthcare innovation

Accelerated cloud adoption can fix public healthcare…

Accelerated cloud adoption can fix public healthcare…

Cloud technology has often been called a game-changer for digital health, and the pace of innovation has accelerated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to minimise disruption, organisations embraced digital innovation in various areas from medical research to clinical care. Public healthcare can leverage this momentum to address other issues such as chronic disease, ageing populations, and the rising cost of healthcare. 

A recent ACCESS Health and AWS Institute report explored the opportunities and challenges of digital solutions in public healthcare. In collaboration with AWS Institute, ACCESS Health spoke to 39 policymakers, chief medical informatics officers (CMIOs), healthcare chief information officers (CIOs), and digital health experts to better understand the industry’s perspectives on cloud adoption. Spanning 12 countries across the APAC region, the research highlighted that government and healthcare leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to unleash further innovation, by taking three key steps: create clarity on cloud data governance regulations, develop strong cloud-first policies, and prioritise cloud skills training across the region.

One of the report’s main findings was that healthcare organisations want clear guidance for policy frameworks. Governments that create cloud-first policies specifically for healthcare data workloads and implement risk-based regulatory frameworks based on internationally recognised standards will enable public healthcare to truly thrive in an era of technical innovation. Healthcare agencies will then have an opportunity to create connected and patient-centred healthcare systems by establishing policy frameworks with open standards for secure data interoperability and data exchange. Establishing a central digital health authority which prioritises cloud-based technology could provide governments with a clear transformation roadmap that allows organisations to build a connected healthcare ecosystem while optimising infrastructure costs and accessing scalable IT resources. Governments may also wish to consider designing policies to boost digital health innovation — such as startup-friendly procurement policies, and support networks for startups in collaboration with the private sector — to help foster a mature digital health system and realise the full potential of cloud technology.

Closing the digital skills gap across all levels was another major concern highlighted in the report. Governments have an opportunity to future-proof public healthcare by working with the industry to implement educational programs to up-skill the workforce and build human-centric digital health applications. Skills training can improve organisational efficiency, but better cloud education can also help managers and senior decision makers to fully realise the potential and capabilities of transformative innovations. The ACCESS Health and AWS Institute report noted that the general understanding of cloud services in the healthcare industry is limited, impacting the adoption of cloud services across the region’s health systems. Increased education can help close this gap and allow industry leaders to fully utilise the true potential of the cloud.

The cloud can provide healthcare organisations with the agility to innovate, simplify operations and evolve rapidly in a scalable and cost-effective way. Embracing digital transformation on the cloud can provide tangible results such as reduced waiting times, lower healthcare costs, faster diagnoses and better health outcomes. To truly harness the power of the cloud, governing bodies first need to build policies and frameworks that facilitate cloud adoption across the public health sector. The pandemic has created a rare opportunity for accelerated change, and now is the time to use that momentum to propel public healthcare into a better future.

To read the ACCESS Health and AWS Institute report in full, click here.