Rising to the digital transformation challenge

  • techUK techUK
    Thursday08Nov 2018

    Cleveland Henry, Director of Cloud, from UKCloud Health, sponsor of Health and Social Care Industry Dinner highlights the challenges of digital transformation in the...

I’ve been operating within the centre for over 5 years, instrumental in the delivery of transformation in healthcare using the power of data and technology.  The vision set out by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, was not only music to my ears but was a call to action to us in health technology delivery, public and private alike to “get on with”. If we don’t, the vision is not achievable. 

As acknowledged in the vision, the gap is getting wider between where we are with technology in healthcare and where we want to be. It is increasing exponentially.  As stated “technology systems used today don’t talk to one another, fail frequently, and don’t follow modern cyber security practices”.  To lay the foundation for a modern, sustainable health and care service we must properly harness the power of technology to enable organisations to get the basics in place to deliver digital transformation, decouple data from systems of record, and make it easier for innovators to flourish – both from within industry and from the outside. In fact, just being able to utilise technology that has already been invented could significantly transform health and care in this country as it has other industries.

Cloud  is one of the current technologies that can help health providers to get the basics in place – to deliver a flexible, resilient and secure IT foundation with no commercial lock-in - which will enable them to start taking meaningful steps towards digital transformation.  The cloud has become ubiquitous in most other industries with many positive effects, and has revolutionised the way we interact with businesses, services and each other in our personal lives. But it has not yet disrupted the bulk of health and care IT which is commonly locked into on-premises facilities or long term outsource agreements. Using cloud to modernise these traditional IT environments will deliver immediate benefits. Data centres can be rationalised, hardware refreshes can be avoided and ultimately funding can be released to support other crucial needs. Cloud adoption forces you to take stock of what you have in your IT estate, what individual systems and services are costing you to run, and because cloud is pay-on-demand you can then start to make ‘tweaks’ to your IT estate to optimise what you have running. This can happen quickly if you have the right partner,  who understand the challenges within healthcare providers, has the capability, understands the risks and can support a transition at a flexible pace . And in cloud, one size doesn’t fit all. Which is why UKCloud Health has invested in multi-cloud - one platform that brings together Azure, OpenStack, Oracle and VMware environments - enabling healthcare providers to use the right cloud for each and every workload.

Cloud is also about buying  services that deliver outcomes. This is where the future of IT in the healthcare space lies – creating an IT operating model that allows healthcare providers to rapidly try, buy and use Software as a Service (SaaS) to deliver clinical and business outcomes. However, most common software systems used across the healthcare industry were designed and built well before cloud even existed. The status quo is to run these software systems  on IT infrastructure provided and supported by local IT teams within the organisation. To achieve the Future Healthcare Vision, it is therefore crucial that suppliers also undergo a transformation from software vendor to a cloud enabled service provider. This will allow healthcare providers more choice and flexibility to choose the right software service to deliver the outcomes they need, without being constrained by how to build and operate IT infrastructure, and with greater compliance to modern cyber security standards.

It’s easy to see how these two paradigms   are interconnected. As health providers adopt more SaaS, the IT infrastructure they operate themselves reduces and becomes more efficient, freeing up resources which can be refocused on proactive service management, and making a complete move to cloud more realistic in the long run. What is crystal clear, transformation needs to happen on both sides in parallel, and at a greater pace, in order to deliver on the principles of Matt Hancock’s Future Healthcare Vision.

And that’s why I joined UKCloud. To be part of an organisation focused on delivering the key enabling technology building blocks, to make a difference, to transform the health tech community,  that will help drive the future of healthcare.  This is a great opportunity, a must do, and within our grasp – lets work together in making transformation happen.

I’ll end with a further thought for future insights, yesterday Matt Hancock talked about “prevention being better than the cure”, the potential with genomic medicine and data – The 100,000 Genomes project, which resides on UKCloud’s multi-cloud platform has been a shining example of data sharing within health and life science communities working together to benefit NHS patients through personalised care.  Prevention is definitely better than the cure …….


About UKCloud Health: 

UKCloud Health powers healthcare communities. Providing a secure, but easy to use cloud platform that supports digital transformation and enables the optimisation of patient-oriented healthcare, UKCloud Health supports health and care organisations, as well as research and life sciences and pharmaceuticals.

  • We’re focused on cloud. Our easy to use platform offers an open, collaborative environment to help enhance the way you and your Healthcare colleagues work.
  • We’re open. You are never locked in. Giving you the choice and flexibility of a range of technology platforms as well as payment models in GBP to avoid currency fluctuations.
  • Dedicated to the UK Healthcare sector. We support cloud and digital transformation of services across the healthcare sector, including health and care, research and life sciences and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • We develop communities. UKCloud Health is bringing Healthcare communities together – enabling collaboration, innovation and digital transformation.
  • Customer engagement. With UKCloud Health you’re never alone. Enjoy peace of mind, knowing we understand the challenges you face. Your success is our success.



UKCloud Health are the headline sponsor of the 2018 techUK Health and Social Care Industry Dinner, taking place at The Banking Hall, Cornhill on 14th November. For more information please see: https://www.techuk.org/health-and-social-care-industry-dinner/about


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