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March 11, 2016
By: Geir Prestegård

My previous blog looked at the first two trends in our 2015 Technology Vision for Healthcare, and how these are already starting to reshape our healthcare landscape. This time, I’m focusing on the next two trends—"Platform (R)evolution" and "Intelligent enterprise"—and what they mean for healthcare providers in Norway.

"Platform (R)evolution and the intelligent enterprise"

Platforms bring together well-architected sets of services and components in a way that allows new services to be added incrementally. A healthcare platform can capture data from disparate sources (e.g. wearables, glucometers, renal and fetal monitors) and connect it to provide patients and caregivers with holistic, real-time health insights.

As standards permeate the healthcare market, "platform-thinking" will emerge as a dominant approach for building flexible systems across the care continuum. Using open platforms, healthcare authorities in Norway will be able to provide platforms that support an ecosystem of specialised solutions. Platforms will evolve for care delivery, improving the ability to provide relevant information, access and control to consumers and caregivers.

In high-tech operating rooms, computers will check that the right patient, staff, tools and devices needed for the scheduled procedure are all present. If anything is missing, an alert is sent to the right person. And outside the hospital, telemedicine and remote monitoring tools like scales, blood pressure cuffs, glucometers and motion sensors will enable people to age longer in their homes.

To realise this vision, platforms will have to be built on a robust and stable infrastructure that can encapsulate hardware and software. As well as enabling virtualisation, this will underpin multiple configurations of on-premise and offsite solutions. Key to this new environment will be a clear governance structure and protocols for engaging in open platform development. Both will be facilitated by a culture of open innovation. Platform and collaboration are really two sides of the same coin.

The geographic spread, demography and diversity of HSE’s population provides a rich context for platform-thinking and the supporting infrastructure that will be so essential.

"Intelligent enterprise"—huge data, smarter systems, better healthcare

The data explosion, resulting from advances in processing power, health analytics and cognitive technology, is managed by an increase in software intelligence. Medical devices and wearables can now recognise, "think" and respond.

In hospitals and other care settings, this digitalisation is creating a vast amount of data. It’s a resource that needs to be securely and efficiently handled. Managing data privacy—to protect patients and healthcare personnel—should be front of mind for all healthcare executives. Managing the enormous (and rapidly expanding) volume of this resource should also be high priority. Only modern infrastructure solutions can keep pace with the galloping number of terabytes and petabytes that must be stored and processed, healthcare executives globally say that health data grew by 50 percent last year. Providers that can extract new and useful information from their datasets have extraordinary possibilities for using this information to transform management, clinical decision support and even development of new clinical guidelines.

For a data-intensive industry like healthcare, software must do more than learn and adapt. It must propel discovery and innovation throughout the enterprise. For years, software’s expanding capabilities were geared primarily towards helping employees make better and faster decisions —for example, by more efficiently gathering and sharing clinical or claims information. Now the data goldmine can spark medical breakthroughs and improve individualised treatment plans for patients.

Greater operational excellence and improved clinical outcomes await those who grasp the upside potential.

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