Apr 14 2023

Modern Data Platforms: The Next Step in the Healthcare Cloud Journey

No matter how far along a health system is in its cloud migration process, a strong IT partner can help it implement a modern data platform to evolve its data analytics capabilities.

Healthcare organizations handle enormous amounts of data daily, including patient, social determinants of health, patient satisfaction, genomics, financial, claims and device data. According to one estimate, approximately 30 percent of the world’s data volume comes from the healthcare industry, and that’s expected to grow over the next few years. However, much of that data is siloed and unorganized, preventing the organization from gleaning actionable insights that could improve patient care and operational efficiencies.

Many CIOs and health IT leaders are ready to undergo the digital transformation of their organization’s data analytics program. Modern data platforms can help.

Data platforms have been called many things over the years, from an enterprise data warehouse to a data lake and operational data store. Essentially, a data platform is where an organization stores all of its data from across the business to be organized, cleaned and used for different purposes. The data platform becomes the technical foundation from which a healthcare organization’s data analytics program grows.   

One aspect of “modern” in a modern data platform is the cloud. A cloud-hosted data platform is scalable, flexible and modular, allowing health IT teams to plug in different technologies. Healthcare organizations can implement a modern data platform no matter where they are in their cloud journeys, especially with the help of a qualified partner.

MDP Sidebar


The Benefits of the Cloud for Modern Data Platforms in Healthcare

The cloud can make it quicker and easier to stand up a modern data platform compared with an on-premises solution. As healthcare organizations look toward more advanced data analysis, they need powerful compute capabilities to support those analytics. The cloud makes it possible to ramp up compute easily and quickly while providing the flexibility to scale it down once it’s no longer needed.

The cloud and software solutions developed to leverage cloud capabilities also enable secure and easy data sharing between healthcare organizations and payers and providers.

Is Cloud Experience Needed to Support a Modern Data Platform?

Healthcare organizations can implement a modern data platform no matter where they are in their cloud journey. In fact, it’s often a modern data platform project that leads healthcare organizations to look toward the cloud.

However, it is helpful for an organization to already have some cloud capabilities or at least be comfortable with the idea of having their data in the cloud, provided proper security protocols are in place. Early adopters have been through this cloud migration process and paved the way for organizations currently looking to implement modern data platforms.

As these organizations begin the implementation process, it’s less about having a specific cloud migration experience and more about their cloud readiness. Healthcare leaders need to be willing to host their data in the cloud.

Click the banner below to learn how a modern data platform supports decision making.

How a Partner Can Help Health Systems Set Up a Modern Data Platform

At CDW, we usually start the modern data platform implementation process by working with the healthcare organization’s data analytics team. We start the discussion by focusing on what a modern data platform is and what the organization is currently doing, both on-premises and in the cloud. Then we pull in others, including the organization’s cloud and cybersecurity teams, to discuss their willingness and readiness to have a data platform in the cloud.

We also ask about the organization’s preferred cloud providers to inform our technology and strategy recommendations during the implementation process. If an organization already has a commitment with Azure, Google or AWS to spend a certain amount on cloud services, then we can accommodate that, so the organization is using what it has already paid for.

Health systems can set up a modern data platform successfully with many cloud vendors and tools. Our recommendations are based on established best practices, so there’s no trial and error needed regarding which cloud vendor to use. Our cloud services team, along with our data and analytics experts, helps health IT teams design the right approach.

If an organization doesn’t have a cloud provider yet, we make recommendations based on proven, best-of-breed tools and technologies that have worked well with our customers in the past.

Healthcare organizations can also take part in our modern data platform workshop, where we assess their current state and design a future state for their data platform. We help them see what’s possible, and we share lessons learned and show how we’ve helped others in the healthcare space.

After that, we can start doing the real work, either for or alongside the organization, training as we design, build and implement the platform. Once the data platform has been implemented, CDW can continue to partner to help evolve platform capabilities and expand into data fabric, real-time data and advanced analytics. We design the platform so an organization can choose to manage it on its own, which is the most common outcome, or continue partnering with CDW and our managed services team to maintain the platform. A healthcare organization can customize our services to meet their needs.

DIVE DEEPER: Understand the importance of having a modern data platform in healthcare.

Tips for Modern Data Platform Implementation in Healthcare

Organizations can also be modern in their approach to building a data platform. Operational, IT and clinical leaders need to determine why a modern data platform would be beneficial for their healthcare organization. Then, once the data is identified and organized, organizations can create dashboards and reporting systems to support descriptive and predictive analytics. The next step is to develop prescriptive analytics capabilities, including machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve patient outcomes and further increase value in healthcare.

As healthcare organizations begin their modern data platform journey, they should lean on those early adopters. There are many healthcare organizations that are willing to share what they’ve learned from their data analytics modernization and transformation.

Organizations can also lean on the experts at CDW to lay out best practices for them. Whether an organization wants to run a data platform in the cloud or on-premises, CDW can design a system that works for them, no matter their size. There is a rightsized approach for every health system that can help it grow and modernize its data analytics.

This article is part of HealthTech’s MonITor blog series.


Si-Gal/Getty Images

Learn from Your Peers

What can you glean about security from other IT pros? Check out new CDW research and insight from our experts.