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Preparation Key to Future Health IT Infrastructure Success

Health IT infrastructure decision-makers must look to future tools as they evaluate how to navigate their digital transformation.

health IT infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are in the midst of health IT infrastructure digital transformation. Advanced technologies have a large role to play in the future of healthcare, but organizations must evaluate how risky emerging technology is against what their legacy infrastructure can still provide.

Digital transformation is necessary but not every healthcare organization is prepared or “digitally literate” enough to make evaluate and adopt the correct technology, according to a recent report by ISACA

“Not every organization is prepared to undertake this challenging journey,” report authors explained. “Companies that perceive their leadership to be digitally literate generally are far more aggressive and receptive to evaluating and adopting new and emerging technologies in their quests to achieve digital transformation than those with leaders not considered to be digitally literate.”

These advanced infrastructure technologies include big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), public cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. Each of these technologies is currently emerging in healthcare as organizations seek advanced solutions to cut back on overall costs and improve patient care.

Fifty-three percent of IT professionals polled had confidence that their organization’s IT decision-makers had a solid understanding of the risks and benefits of emerging infrastructure technology. Twenty-five percent of respondents felt that their organization’s IT decisionmakers were not digitally literate, while 22 percent were unsure.

These technologies will potentially transform the way healthcare organizations use IT infrastructure for workflow and patient care. Technological advancements need to be incorporated using a clearly defined strategy to make sure new systems are integrated correctly. Tools that are not integrated correctly can waste money and resources, as well as put patient data at risk.

IT executives need to evaluate the technologies they are considering adopting.

“There seems to be a direct connection between companies with digitally fluent leaders and those companies’ propensities to evaluate new technologies,” ISACA CEO Matt Loeb said in a statement. “To lead effectively, senior leaders have be able to articulate the vision for the future of their companies in the context of the technologies that will get them there.”

“One reason for the difference may be that the less digitally literate simply have less experience with a new technology,” he continued. “They also may not be as firmly on the path toward digital transformation.”

The public cloud is one of the first emerging technologies many organizations consider. The public cloud is a good place to start for organizations looking to expand their infrastructure’s capacity for compute as well as data storage.

Public cloud is flexible, scalable, and also gives organizations an affordable alternative to purchasing on-premises equipment. Expanding IT infrastructure with the public cloud can give organizations the opportunity to explore other advanced healthcare technology such as blockchain, AI, IoT, and big data.

IoT and big data analytics are becoming a staple consideration for the future of health IT infrastructure. IoT devices, including networked devices and wearables, are collecting more and more patient data that needs to be stored. Much of the data collected by IoT devices is unstructured, which is why big data analytics solutions are so closely tied to the IoT.

Once the amount of data collected becomes overwhelming, AI solutions will be introduced to big data analytics to sort through all the unstrucutured data to make it actionable. Collecting data is useless if organizations are not looking to the future and considering what tools they’ll need to support future standards of healthcare.

Advancing infrastructure technologies are tied together as organizations continue to make their digital transformations. IT decision-makers must consider every aspect of future technology as they continue to embrace IT tools that will help improve clinician workflow and patient care.