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Harnessing Cloud Tech for New Zealand’s Health Sector

Many support providers in New Zealand’s health and disability sector care for Kiwis with special needs. Each provider must not only manage massive amounts of data but also keep it secure and organised while adhering to stringent regulations from multiple stakeholder bodies.

Digital health business and technology transformation appears to be a simple concept – use existing technological innovations to improve people’s health and well-being. The reality, on the other hand, is far more complex and extensive. The term “digital health” refers to a wide range of services, including everything from interconnected patient data systems to digital health records, ingestible sensors, online testing, telehealth services, healthcare apps, IoT wearable gadgets, and electronic records to robotic caregivers.

Some of the common goals and objectives of healthcare sector digitisation may include improved patient record-keeping, faster diagnosis, use of machine learning and AI capabilities, disease prevention, personalised medicine, and all at a reasonable cost that meets budget constraints. Overall, these initiatives benefit both the health organisation and their patients – patients feel more in control of their health, technology lowers operating costs and broadens accessibility, and the healthcare system runs smoothly and efficiently.

Cloud transformation can help to achieve the goal of delivering health services at a lower cost. Total health and disability spending in New Zealand is estimated to be NZ$ 18 billion or about 9.5% of GDP. This spending includes ACC expenditure and covers the public, private, and non-profit sectors. According to the Ministry of Health, healthcare accounts for approximately 22% of spending in the public sector.

Across the country, cloud services are supporting critical hospital applications such as patient administration systems, clinical portals, laboratories, picture archiving and communication, radiology, pharmacy, eReferrals and ICU systems.

A cloud-based computing system in New Zealand acknowledged the need for these support providers to have simple, dependable, and secure client and staff management systems, so they established themselves in Christchurch and began providing just that. “Our clients rely on our software for everything from daily notes, incidents reporting, rostering, scheduling, staffing, client data, facility management, and much more,” says the co-founder of the cloud-based company.

Among the deluge of data from their daily tasks, providers must also communicate with multiple stakeholders, adhere to various contracts, and meet various funding criteria; thus, the company’s mission is to make this daunting task easier.

The Cloud-based computing systems conducted extensive research and determined that their entire development architecture needed to be cloud-based in order to securely handle such large amounts of sensitive data. “We knew cloud was where we needed to go, but first we needed to find the right service provider to partner with who could supply us with capable data solutions,” explains cloud-based computing company’s co-founder.

After realising that they would need to keep all of their data within New Zealand to meet the data privacy policies, the co-founder and its partner were led to a NZ-based internet telco. “After speaking with the telco, we knew our data was going to be better managed and more secure with them, as well as offer us the scalability and cloud infrastructure we needed,” says the co-founder, “so we moved from the previous provider we’d been using over to the telco company.” To host and store all the cloud company’s data, the team at the telco worked closely with the cloud company’s co-founder and its partner to deliver high performance, enterprise-grade cloud servers.

Cloud technology has proven to be beneficial to both healthcare providers and patients. On the business side, cloud computing has proven to be advantageous in terms of lowering operational costs while allowing providers to provide high-quality, personalised care.

Patients who have grown accustomed to instantaneous service delivery can now expect the same from the health sector. The cloud also increases patient engagement with their own health plans by providing access to their own healthcare data, resulting in better patient outcomes.

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