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How DevOps Can Impact Healthcare IT Infrastructure

Organizations can improve their healthcare IT infrastructure efficiency and leverage data to its upmost capacity by properly utilizing DevOps.

DevOps Healthcare IT Infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Bill Kleyman

- I’ve really been enjoying diving into the world of DevOps. More specifically, I’ve had the chance to speak with leading healthcare providers to better understand how and where they’re leveraging DevOps to do some really amazing things, including improving their healthcare IT infrastructure.

In the world of healthcare, organizations are constantly trying to stay competitive, leverage new types of services, and deliver powerful healthcare solutions. DevOps offers a way to make this process continuous and exceedingly valuable.

The types of ongoing delivery models that DevOps offers allows healthcare IT to innovate at the pace of software.

Before we go too much further, it’s important to note some of the big trends impacting DevOps and your IT teams.

Forrester recently stated that 2018 is the years of DevOps as more than 50 percent of organizations are implementing DevOps. They went on to say that while healthcare, banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors are leading the charge – all are leveraging DevOps to support their business transformation towards agility and speed.

READ MORE: How to Support a Full Healthcare Application Lifecycle

Here’s another key point to remember.

"IT-related priorities, cited by 31 percent of CEOs, have never been this high in the history of the CEO survey," said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Almost twice as many CEOs are intent on building up in-house technology and digital capabilities as those planning on outsourcing it.”

And, there’s good reason why so many are looking to DevOps to help revolutionize their healthcare practices.

  • Improving infrastructure efficiency. Developing applications and healthcare services is a critical process to deliver new healthcare solutions. However, this process must be managed properly so that you don’t experience vast amounts of resources sprawl. DevOps offers ways to leverage resources much more efficiently. For example, event-driven serverless architecture allows developers to leverage only the resources they need for the app or microservice being developed. It’s basically the utility consumption of resources when creating applications and services. So, when you’re leveraging a healthcare cloud provider (AWS or Azure) on their HIPAA-compliant architecture, you can do some pretty powerful things with DevOps and application delivery.
  • Implementing new types of security models. This part is really cool. Remember, DevOps isn’t just application development. Rather, it’s the delivery of advanced services and capabilities done through a powerful and continuous processes. With that in mind, think blockchain, but for healthcare. Gartner recently pointed out that this type of technology holds the promise to change industries, and although the conversation often surrounds financial opportunities, blockchain has many potential applications in government, healthcare, content distribution, supply chain and more. You literally have the capability to create a blockchain method to securely process and transfer PHI/PII and change the way patient data can be secured. If you’re worried about a lack of cryptographic skillsets, know that DevOps organizations are already creating these types of solutions for global financial institutions. In the healthcare world, security is paramount. And, DevOps can help create new types of security models above and beyond the methods we’ve been using for years.  
  • Leveraging data to the utmost capacity. This part is really cool. We’re constantly creating data. Of course, we can process all of it – but there is a lot that’s actually valuable. DevOps in the healthcare world can help create sets of APIs, which abstract data and position them to be leveraged by applications, services, and even secured cloud providers. From there, you can build AI engines which help with patient engagement and even improve patient portals. Plus, can you imagine what an AI or machine learning engine can do for population health? If you’re a distributed healthcare organization with locations throughout the country, you need to look at DevOps as a real option to help you create powerful health outcomes for groups of individuals. These types of solutions can help you gather data and make better decisions as measured by health status indicators and as influenced by social, economic, and physical environments, personal health practices, individual capacity and coping skills, human biology, early childhood development, and health services. DevOps is here to build platforms to help aggregate these data points and leverage data even further.

When it comes new types of application development and delivery processes, working with DevOps can absolutely pave the way for amazing healthcare services. This can revolve around everything from patient engagement to improving population health. Most of all, it can help create competitive advantages while helping people get life-saving healthcare services.

As you embark on your own DevOps journey, make sure you’re always aligning your DevOps, IT, and business teams. Don’t just do DevOps for the sake of it. The most successful healthcare organizations are the ones that actually realize the kinds of business benefits they can get from DevOps.

READ MORE: How Open Source Software Benefits Health IT Infrastructure

Healthcare DevOps must be a truly business-driven approach leveraging agile methods, collaboration, and even automation where necessary. Finally, working with good DevOps teams means a clear understanding of existing processes and where new solutions can make a big impact for users, patients, and your business.

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