Enterprise Cloud for Healthcare: It is all about the Applications

Enterprise Cloud for Healthcare:  It is all about the Applications
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This post was authored by Preethy Padmanabhan Solutions Marketing and Dan Cowan Global Healthcare Director, Nutanix

When I speak with a business partner or a job candidate and they say “in healthcare, it is all about the apps”, they immediately have my attention. This is a sign that they "get it”, and understand the importance of applications in healthcare and the user’s, usually a clinician, interaction with the application.

Across industries, it’s somewhat unusual for the actual application to come up in a discussion about infrastructure. But, in the healthcare provider market, the applications used to run the business and deliver patient care are critical, and they need to be top-of-mind at all times. If the infrastructure provider doesn’t understand the requirements of the applications and invest time in ensuring that the platform can effectively support the applications, the company will struggle mightily in this market.

In healthcare, the applications are so critical that the app vendors often dictate the infrastructure options of the customer, and this can ripple into other parts of the data center. Sometimes this is good in that it provides standardization on high-performance systems, but historically it has also forced many customers to run aging architectures and slowed the pace of adoption of modern, more efficient data center products. This is why some see healthcare as being 10-15 years behind other industries when it comes to technology adoption.

In recent years, provider organizations have invested very large amounts of capital and resources in applications such as EHR’s, PACS, and VNA solutions. These applications are strategic to the business and represent some of their top expenditures. In other industries, we see complex applications like SAP, Salesforce, or custom apps built on Oracle or SQL Server, but in no other industry do we see unique, specialized apps like the ones used by healthcare providers. And these applications shouldn’t be categorized by the overused “business critical”. They are truly “life critical”. I hope you recognize the difference!

And because of the importance of these apps, where should they live? Healthcare customers tell us that they want an application platform that they can control, one that is secure (think HIPAA/HITRUST), is cost effective, scalable, and reliable. All of those requirements point to a new-age infrastructure platform, owned and managed by the hospital or health system.

This could reside in their own data center or in a co-location facility. But it’s certainly not a public cloud service. Not today, at least. Providers have been moving some apps (corporate website, etc) to the public cloud, and most of that makes sense. But for critical apps that are truly predictable workloads and need tight controls, a customer-owned Enterprise Cloud solution is the answer. And it can be deployed in far less physical space, using much less power and cooling, than the infrastructure of even 3 years ago.

But the key benefit that makes Enterprise Clouds a better alternative than public cloud is that it is easy to deploy and manage with your existing team.

Benefits to Healthcare IT from Enterprise Clouds
  • Web-scale architecture based on hyperconvergence with data locality and intelligent data tiering for high performance
  • Self-healing and non-disruptive upgrades to minimize downtime
  • Adding resources to enable linear pay-as-you-grow scaling without downtime
  • Secure development lifecycle and self-validation/healing to meet stringent requirements
  • Integrate data protection and disaster recovery to help meet availability service levels
If a technology vendor isn’t building specialization around healthcare, they are missing the mark and likely won’t be competitive in this vertical. It should be a well vetted decision to invest in healthcare, because it’s not easy. An individual or a business can’t pick up Healthcare IT overnight, or even in months.

It take years of experience to understand the application functionality, benefits, pitfalls, the industry players, and the impact to clinician workflow and productivity. And all of those are important to understand, on top of just being able to speak the lingo of healthcare.

In what other industry vertical do we truly have the opportunity to impact the quality of someone's life and health? It may seem like a stretch to say that a product like Nutanix can have that impact, but if we can improve the availability and performance of healthcare applications, that truly affects people's lives. And if we don’t do our job well, don’t understand healthcare, or don’t take it seriously, our technology can have a very negative affect on the delivery of care and on people’s wellbeing. This is why we have a focused healthcare team Nutanix, and why it’s so important to us.

Nutanix at HIMSS 2017
Nutanix will be exhibiting at HIMSS 2017, Orlando from February 19-23, 2017 at booth #2887, where experts will be on hand for technical conversations on datacenter trends in healthcare and digital transformation. Nutanix customer, St. Joseph Health will be speaking on topic “Transform Health IT with Enterprise Cloud Technologies” at HIMSS session 178 on Wed, Feb 22, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm in Room 311A. Nutanix will also be hosting a Lunch n Learn session on the topic of ‘Enhancing Care Delivery with VDI on Enterprise Cloud’ on Wednesday, Feb 22, 1:00pm – 2:00 pm in Room 203C. For more information check out the Nutanix at HIMSS blog post here.

To learn more about our healthcare customers, partnerships, and resources, please contact us at, engage with us on Twitter or send us a note below.

Disclaimer: This blog contains links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

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