Healthcare organisations missing out on the cloud

Trust executives are 'bottlenecks' holding up adoption of innovative technologies

  • Research by Advanced explored the adoption of cloud computing technology within the healthcare industry
  • Results revealed a third of health trusts have no experience of the cloud
  • 66% would not consider the cloud as a first option when exploring the adoption of new applications
  • Many respondents blamed trust executives and called for better support to take full advantage of the benefits of the cloud

Greater adoption of cloud technology could help the NHS to become more efficient

The benefits of cloud computing are well documented. But, according to new research from Advanced, many healthcare organisations in the UK are missing out on them – and their leaders could be to blame.

The British software and services company has found a third of healthcare organisations who responded to the survey have no experience in the cloud; while 66% wouldn’t even consider the cloud as a first option when exploring new business applications.

We have all witnessed some decisions taking weeks, or even months, to make; but some leaders – often unintentionally – are stifling progress. They should, in fact, be stepping out of the way and letting the teams on the ground drive the technologies that will enable them to do their jobs more effectively

When it comes to implementing new technologies to drive productivity, 29% agreed that their business leaders are bottlenecks. Furthermore, 62% say they need better support from their leaders if they are to take full advantage of the benefits of the cloud. Some have even taken it into their own hands, with 15% using the cloud without approval from their IT department.

Ric Thompson, managing director of health and care at Advanced, said: “The cloud helps drive a more secure, efficient and connected healthcare sector, but our findings show there are still many yet to make the leap.

“The Government plans to digitise NHS services and make them paper-less by 2020 and we see the rapid adoption of cloud-based technology will enable the sector to achieve this.

“The faster we all get on with adopting cloud-based solutions as part of our business as usual the better. But there’s an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed – and that’s leadership bottlenecks.

“We have all witnessed some decisions taking weeks, or even months, to make; but some leaders – often unintentionally – are stifling progress. They should, in fact, be stepping out of the way and letting the teams on the ground drive the technologies that will enable them to do their jobs more effectively and, consequently, service patients better.

“I strongly believe the cloud can reshape the healthcare system to positively impact the way care is delivered to people living in Britain.”

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust uses Docman’s cloud-based document management solution to manage paperless clinical records

According to Advanced’s report, 41% of healthcare organisations say no-one is currently driving adoption of the cloud, suggesting that no single person is taking responsibility. Interestingly, while 29% say their senior leadership team should take responsibility, many think it should fall to practice managers, GPs, and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The cloud helps drive a more secure, efficient and connected healthcare sector, but our findings show there are still many yet to make the leap

One healthcare organisation making an exception to this way of working is The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which doesn’t have those bottlenecks and instead has defined responsibilities for driving adoption of the cloud.

The final decision is influenced by staff who want to explore which technologies can help them become more productive. For example, the trust uses Docman’s cloud-based document management solution to manage paperless clinical documents and the decision to use it was driven largely by GPs.

Matthew Kybert, associate director of ICT at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a department, we review both user and technical requirements to ensure that any technology we implement meets everyone’s needs.

We have adopted a cloud-first strategy and, wherever possible, we will always consider the cloud as our first option when adopting new applications

“We weigh up all options and choose the most-appropriate platform based on functionality and cost. There are no barriers to adopting the cloud – in fact, we are encouraged to take the lead.

“In some cases, the board will approve certain systems but ultimately our senior leaders trust us to make the right decisions.

“What we all agree on is that our trust has a future in the cloud. We have adopted a cloud-first strategy and, wherever possible, we will always consider the cloud as our first option when adopting new applications.”

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