The Era of Emerging Technology: Healthcare Digital Technology Congress

About the Healthcare Digital Technology Congress

Photo of Andrew Horler presenting his talk “Before you migrate, get your plan straight” at the Healthcare Digital Technology Congress in London on 27th February 2020.

On Thursday last week I presented my cloud focused talk “Before you migrate, get your plan straight!” at “The Era of Emerging Technology: Healthcare Digital Technology Congress”. Just over 200 healthcare related professionals attended the event including GPs, Clinicians, Radiologists and Psychologists in addition to Hospital & CCG ICT staff.

This was the first time in quite a few years I have presented to such a large audience and has been quite daunting in the run up to the event.

A Case Study: Nottinghamshire County Council

My talk was a 20 minute case study on the lessons to be learned from the Cloud-based work AMDH Services Limited has spent the last 4 years completing in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council.

Back in 2015 Nottinghamshire had some serious budget challenges and needed over 3 years to save around £77 million – for more information on this see the Council’s policy committee report “Redefining Your Council: Transformation and Spending Proposals 2015/16 – 2017/18” on agenda 12 November 2014 here.

This was a massive challenge for the Council and their ICT department was asked to contribute to this saving target and took a number of different approaches – including launching a cloud programme and completing a restructure. The Nottinghamshire cloud programme was a “spend to save” initiative and anticipated that by enabling the Council to consume cloud services more readily and strategically it would enable the Council to:

  • be less dependent on their on-premise data centre environment

  • become more able to deploy services to cloud

  • move away from a fixed cost ICT delivery to a more flexible ICT delivery

These changes were anticipated to allow ICT to reduce spend over a 3-5 year period.

Over time the work developed to include a large Office 365 implementation, the development of service delivery capability from Microsoft Azure, and a transformation of the on-premise server and storage infrastructure. It also ended up consisting of around 15 to 20 different projects covering topics as diverse as End User Experience Measurement, Software Licensing and Firewall Replacement.

What lessons were learned?

During the talk I highlighted five areas that I believed enabled our partnership with the Council to be successful. These were things we learned “on the job” so to speak – and in some senses are fairly obvious:

  1. When things change even best laid plans need to adapt

  2. Getting to cloud is technically challenging

  3. Security must be built into the project from the word go!

  4. Complex environments are… well… complex

  5. Knowledge is the key to success

For each of these areas I explained what challenges were encountered and then moved on to explain how we helped. I’m not going to steal my own thunder now though by delving into the detail of these lessons – if you want to know more contact me.

An interesting question

A little while after my talk I was approached by a clinician from a hospital and asked

“What software product do you make for healthcare – how can you improve diagnostic procedures in hospital?”

The answer to this question is quite critical I think – cloud services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (SaaS) don’t provide a clinical tool but rather are an underpinning technology.

There were a number of other companies exhibiting and speaking at the event who do provide tools that directly assist with clinical procedures or diagnosis but not AMDH Services Limited we specialize in the delivery of Azure, Office 365 and related solutions.

Infrastructure solutions such Microsoft Azure enable the ICT function in a organisation – including a GP surgery or hospital – to form a solid future-proof base upon which to build other clinically beneficial solutions. Without a sure foundation upon which to build, these other solutions won’t be reliable, robust or cost effective.

Office 365 is a little different; it should be viewed as an extended productivity suite then enables staff in an organisation – again including a GP surgery or hospital – to work together more effectively by enabling them to:

  • Work from anywhere, on any device, at anytime

  • Collaborate with other healthstaff both within your organisation and external partners

  • Work and Communicate securely

I think that both Azure and Office 365 have a lot to offer the healthcare community and need to be considered as worthwhile investments.

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