Transforming healthcare through cloud technology

The lessons from Covid-19


Nicky Murphy is passionate about the power of technology to drive health system transformation to deliver better outcomes and services for populations and in- dividuals. Te Head of Healthcare Public Policy (EMEA) at Amazon Web Services (AWS) helps support policymakers and health system leaders globally to realise their transformation goals by leverag- ing cloud technology. Te Covid-19 pandemic, she

believes has brought both signifi- cant challenges and a huge accel- eration in the adoption and use of the cloud: “It’s been very exciting to see the changing approach to the use of data during the pandemic. Cloud technology was previously held in high regard in health systems but in the past year it has given organisations an understanding of how powerful it is to have real-time access to that information and data,” she said. In essence, in response to the

challenges presented by Covid-19, health systems have used cloud technology to improve care and support services for citizens and

patients, provide decision makers with access to information in real-time – and also accelerate the pace of research and innovation. Te demands for healthcare

have been constantly changing throughout the pandemic – and so fast – that establishing new services, moving existing services online and scaling services to support digital delivery at a new level was crucial.

With an extensive portfolio of healthcare and life sciences solutions, she said that AWS provides the security and privacy to operate in a highly-regulated industry and provides the tools to implement these service changes swiftly and safely. “Te comput- ing power can be flexed up and down as required – the beauty of the cloud is that you pay for what you need as you turn it on and turn it off,” she said. “During the pandemic we’ve

seen the need for public sec- tor organisations to set up new services to serve their custom- ers very swiftly, responding to emerging needs. For example, I don’t think many of us had heard of contact tracing app before last year, and now we have the Scot- tish contact tracing app built on AWS which we set up securely and quickly, with cloud technol-

ogy allowing the partner, Near- Form, to do this without the need to invest upfront capital to buy servers or build a data centre.” Near Me, a secure form of video

consulting approved for use by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, particularly for outpatient appointments is an example. “Applications such as these, powered by cloud technol- ogy, have meant that patients have been able to receive care from specialist clinicians and continue on their pathway to treatment, throughout the pandemic. Imperial College London and

Pansurg’s REDASA (Realtime Data Analysis and Synthesis) platform is another project enabled by cloud technology. It supports the response to the “infodemic” – or over-abundance of information generated during the pandemic – with a global knowledge platform that combines AI with human expertise to quickly make sense of the vast amount of Covid-19 data being generated and helps clini- cians to find better treatments for Covid-19 and other diseases. Te security of patients’ infor-

mation clearly is a key consider- ation and Murphy said: “At AWS, security of our customers’ data is our top priority. Our customers are able to use AWS services in a way that is not only compliant

with all the security criteria that NHS Digital sets out, but that also exceeds these security requirements in line with international best practice.” Amazon, she added is “incred-

ibly committed to having an envi- ronmentally sustainable business and to supporting our customers to achieve their own sustainability goals and we’ll achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, five years earlier than we set out to do so. Amazon is committed to this globally, and in the UK our AWS data centres will be powered by Scottish renewable energy from wind farms in South Lanarkshire and the Kintyre peninsula.”

Cloud technology, she concluded, has been key to enabling health systems to respond to the pan- demic, providing services directly to citizens, supporting decision- makers to make informed deci- sions and enabling researchers to accelerate time to insight and innovation during the pandemic. “And there’s so much more that

we can build on: by harnessing the power of cloud technology further, health systems can con- tinue to see fantastic innovation at scale, to the benefit of patients and the health service.” l FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2021 | 15


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