Re-architecting IT infrastructure to enhance patient-centric care

COVID-19 has caused economic disruption across the global ecosystem, forcing organizations to rethink how they do their business, how they serve their customers, and how they connect with their business partners. With employees working remotely from home, a lot of stress is put on the network to enable good user experience and secure access to applications to stay productive. A new disaster-management scenario had to be evoked to enable this new way of doing work — and doing business for that matter.

Prior to COVID-19, digital infrastructure would have been considered an advantage and a key differentiator. Now it is oxygen — absolutely important for any business not just to stay relevant, but critical for its existence.

While COVID-19 has affected all industries, the impact on the healthcare and life sciences industry has been twofold. On one hand, the industry faced similar challenges as the others; organizations had to relook at how they serve their patients and customers as well as how they collaborate within departments and with their partners. On the other hand, they were in a race against time to find a solution for this global crisis — and arguably one of the greatest challenges that humanity is facing today.

Beyond COVID-19, there were other factors at play. The top global pharmaceutical organizations are expected to spend over $200 billion in Research & Development (R&D) by 2024 – which includes driving initiatives like remote care, connected care facility infrastructure and adopting technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve diagnosis, drug discoveries, clinical trials and more. These innovations have led to a surge in data exchanges and IDC has noted that the digitization of data in the healthcare industry has already outpaced the growth in financial services and manufacturing. In the recently released Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Vol.4, a market study announced by Equinix, it is predicted that the interconnection bandwidth, i.e. private data exchange, for Healthcare and Life Sciences in Asia Pacific is expected to grow at 47% CAGR by 2023.    

As the need for private connections between healthcare and life sciences organizations is growing, organizations need to rethink their infrastructure strategy and react quickly to stay competitive. Leaders are rearchitecting their digital infrastructure to transform their business models and improving patient care at the same time. This digital infrastructure transformation is underpinned by three foundational components.

  • Digital Core

Healthcare and life sciences organizations are adopting multiple clouds as part of their digital transformation initiatives, just like every other industry. On average, a company is expected to use up to eight different clouds which includes IaaS, PaaS and SaaS providers.

To solve performance, scalability and flexibility challenges arise from cloud silos, these organizations are distributing their infrastructure in cloud-adjacent hubs such that the location of the cloud is just less than a millisecond away from their private infrastructure. The combination of high bandwidth, low-cost access to multiple clouds and performance optimization allows for private infrastructure to have a more predictable workload and meet the regulatory and compliance requirements.

  • Digital Edge

To create competitive advantage and transform their capabilities at the edge closer to where their operations and customers are, digital leaders are distributing the infrastructure in hubs closest to these stakeholders. This offers improved omnichannel user experience for initiatives like telehealth and remote care. Organizations have also built local analytics capabilities to enable real-time decision making to drive operational efficiencies, and to improve patient care.

  • Digital Exchange

Healthcare and life sciences leaders are accelerating the pace of innovation by leveraging the large ecosystem of partners. By building points of presence in direct proximity to these rich healthcare ecosystems globally, organizations can build their innovation hubs for data exchange and collaboration, and integrate API-based digital services to create multi-party workflows.

With the exponential growth of data and increasing data transportation costs, innovation and collaboration are scaling beyond the four walls of the organization. And even closer collaboration in healthcare R&D and global cooperation is the need of the hour and will play a crucial role in the future of healthcare. Through deploying a global mesh of distributed hubs, organizations can interconnect and bring together the foundational digital infrastructure to fast track digital advantage and effectively respond to the challenges they face.

The future of global healthcare is based on secure digital engagement with patients and partners. Secure Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, process transformation, cloud integration, and innovation through data driven insights, as well as cross-ecosystem collaboration will provide a differentiated advantage.

Hence, where infrastructure is going to be deployed is absolutely critical. Flexibility is paramount — the ability to go anywhere, to integrate and connect with partners and other stakeholders, the ability to self-serve connectivity to global operations, without being tied to any long-term contracts. The choice and neutrality to pick the right technology required for specific use cases, the ability to leverage the right partners and the ability to collaborate at an ecosystem-dense neutral location are also important.

Above all, security and reliability of services should be on top of mind, especially in the healthcare industry.

Interconnection Oriented Architecture

How can enterprises replicate the success of the industry leaders? The way forward is with Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA). IOA is a proven and repeatable architectural framework using industry best practices that both enterprises and service providers leverage to directly and securely connect people, locations, cloud and data. It essentially breaks the old assumption that you can’t do anything about physical distance. IOA transforms IT from a fixed and siloed legacy model to a more distributed and interconnected digital platform.

IOA solves for latency and complexity by building digital exchange points in proximity to customers, employees, partners and clients. This provides significant cloud connectivity and network traffic cost reduction by 60% to 70% and also reduces the latency by 30%.

Secondly, risk can be controlled by deploying and connecting security controls next to users and clouds, leveraging private exchange for business traffic to extend distributed security perimeter and gain end-to-end transparency.

Finally, user experience can be transformed by establishing edge advantage, scaling data exchange and integrating edge computing to meet the needs for latency-sensitive, real-time applications supporting customers, employees, and business processes.

Equinix as a trusted partner is able to help throughout the journey, to harness the power of our trusted global platform to build foundational digital infrastructure that enables success.

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