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UPMC Embraces Advanced Health IT Infrastructure with New Hospitals

UPMC plans to digitize the health IT infrastructure of three new hospitals joining their network.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) announced its plans to over-haul it’s health IT infrastructure by investing $2 billion to digitally transform its environment across UPMC’s many locations.

UPMC intends to become the “Amazon of healthcare” by providing “next-generation treatments in patient-focused, technology-enhanced settings unique to health care," according to a UPMC statement. The healthcare organization will focus its efforts on its three new hospitals, which will be classified as digitally based specialty hospitals.

The new hospitals include UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital and UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Our transformative vision will make available the most innovative treatments for cancer, heart disease, transplantation, diseases of aging, vision restoration and rehabilitation, among many others,” UPMC President and CEO Jeffrey A. Romoff said in a statement. “Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, we will radically change health care as we know it to provide personalized, effective and compassionate care.”

“At core, these digitally based specialty hospitals are the expression of our cutting-edge translational science creating treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases.”

UPMC also announced that Microsoft will work in close collaboration with the hospital to help design the digital based hospitals.

“Building on our existing research collaboration with Microsoft and its Azure cloud platform, we will apply technology in ways that will transform what today is often a disjointed and needlessly complex experience for patients and clinicians,” said Romoff. “UPMC and Microsoft will have more to share in the coming months.” 

The UPMC Vison and Rehabilitation Hospital is expected to open in 2020, with UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital and UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital opening in 2022.

Many healthcare organizations leverage the cloud to build out their IT infrastructure solutions, while vendors will often work with Microsoft Azure to support their IT infrastructure tools from applications to storage.

Azure is one of the larger HIPAA compliant healthcare cloud providers and serves as the basis for many digital healthcare tools from other vendors such as Red Hat, Actifio, Citrix, and IBM.

Public cloud is a valuable tool for healthcare organizations because it allows them to be more flexible as they expand and add more technology to their health IT infrastructure. Although it was once thought to not be secure enough for healthcare, public cloud has proven itself useful in medical environments.

Entities that need more storage but can’t afford hosted private cloud, or on-premises storage benefit from the public cloud. Public cloud can accommodate projects quickly and be utilized for short-term projects and data migration.

Future-proof cloud platforms allow healthcare organizations to continue to be innovative as new digital tools come along. Building its new digital hospitals on a cloud platform like Azure will allow UPMC to deploy modern solutions while remaining flexible and agile enough to integrate easily with future tools.