Health + Cloud = Integrated Health and Improved Patient Journey

Special Guest Blogger: Molly McCarthy, MBA, RN
Chief Nursing Strategist for US Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft

Adoption of Cloud Technology Is a Must for Connected Healthcare To Be Fully Realized

The essence of integrated health care delivery is about the patient experience through activation and engagement anywhere, anytime, on any device with data and information that is relevant to health and well-being.  In one of the most complex industries with multiple stakeholders’ goals, how can technology help health professionals and patients realize a truly connected health system that integrates all aspects of delivery, and achieves the Triple Aim? THE CLOUD.

Adoption of cloud technology is a must for connected health care to be fully realized. Simply put, cloud computing means storing and using data over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. You are probably already using the cloud when you deposit a paycheck via your smartphone, check your email, or connect with someone on social media. Digital transformation is happening in all aspects of our lives – not only the social aspects, but in our business activity processes as well. Digital transformation creates efficiencies, connectedness, and innovative thinking. Are we transforming to fully leverage the many opportunities that digital technologies provide? What will it take for the health care industry and the cloud to commit to create integrated health and an improved patient journey?

For nurses, one of the most important aspects of delivering excellent patient care, aside from safety and communication, is instilling trust and confidence in patients and families. Similarly, when we talk about the cloud in health care, trust and confidence are paramount. At Microsoft, we commit to “In the Cloud We Trust.”  That is, our goal is to ensure that both every individual and every organization has the ability to use technology they can trust. In health care, we’ve already partnered with more than 25,000 health organizations to embrace and adopt cloud technology. Microsoft values our customers’ trust; and privacy and security are a top concern. In fact, Microsoft was the first major cloud provider to offer an industry co-developed HIPAA BAA (Business Associates Agreements) that demonstrates our commitment to the requirements in HIPAA/HITECH.

Trusting in our pledge to privacy and security with Microsoft Cloud, health organizations are realizing tangible benefits from cloud adoption across care settings by:

  • Modernizing communication and telecollaboration among health professionals
  • Increasing the reliability and availability of critical applications
  • Growing access to care through virtual health (telemedicine, telehealth)
  • Lowering costs and readmissions
  • Improving health outcomes and well-being of their key stakeholders—patients

It’s the final last bullet point that motivates me as a nurse and is one of the most important reasons for the adoption of cloud technology. Health is the state of being free from illness or injury.  And most of our lives, health and well-being actually happen outside the four walls of the hospital—so implementing a trusted technology that will allow health systems to be connected and accountable for our patients and ourselves is vital regardless of care setting. Cloud connects care and is especially true in cases like 11-year old type 1 diabetic Carson, who is now able to go on a field trip without her parents for the first time. And at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the CHAMPS program helps parents and infants in between heart surgeries through the use of cloud technology and communication at home.

Trust and confidence in cloud technology is a partnership, similar to the trust between a nurse and patient. And because nurses are one of the most trusted health care workers, we are key in leading digital transformation in health—from the bedside to the boardroom. In the cloud we trust.

The IHI Triple Aim framework was developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Massachusetts (www.ihi.org).”

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mollymccarthypicMolly K. McCarthy, MBA, RN, is the chief nursing strategist in the US Health and Life Science Sector for Microsoft. Molly’s primary focus is business development and strategy for clinical mobility, telehealth, and patient engagement at Microsoft. With more than 20 years of experience in the health care industry, Molly is passionate about uniting technology and clinicians to ensure improved patient safety and outcomes. 

She graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing from Georgetown University, and began her career as a nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Units.  Upon receiving her MBA from the University of San Francisco, she combined her clinical and business backgrounds within the medical device and clinical informatics industry. 

Molly started in a product and market development role at Natus Medical, Inc, in Silicon Valley.  She furthered her career in business development for the Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), where she was responsible for piloting a benchmark database that extracted data from hospital EHRs in order to provide business intelligence to hospital leadership. Prior to Microsoft, she worked with Philips Healthcare’s Patient Care and Clinical Informatics Divisions, where she orchestrated large enterprise system integrations of patient monitoring networks and EHRs. Molly is an active member of HIMSS and sits on the HIMSS’ CNO/CNIO Nurse Executive Leadership Task Force. Find her on Twitter @MSFTMollyRN and Nurses for Microsoft in Health.

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