By Bryan Matsinger, National Director, Healthcare Sungard Availability Services

One of the industries most reliant on information technology is the healthcare sector. From smart monitoring devices to telemedicine to electronic health records, the digitization of healthcare has made IT a major expense for this segment of the economy. As disruption in the healthcare market continues, healthcare IT must transform to accommodate the growing security and information capacity requirements.

A recent study by Healthcare IT News found that in 2017, with security as its biggest concern, healthcare organizations are planning to focus on cybersecurity, analytics and population health, while also beginning to invest in prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence.

IT environmentIf you were to sketch the typical Healthcare IT environment, it would be an extremely complex illustration resembling something by M.C. Escher – famous for his “impossible construction” illustrations such as the Transformation Prints, Metamorphosis I and Relativity. Numerous applications on numerous technologies all interfacing within the organization and with outside parties can cause confusion. What’s more, healthcare IT departments are typically understaffed, making it difficult or impossible to manage this complexity.

This often results in:

  • Subpar recoverability, which can potentially impact patient wellness outcomes, organizational reputation, and revenue.
  • A heavy dependency on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and/or application providers to provide critical IT solutions, many of which have untested or unknown disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.
  • Frustration due to application provider reluctance to support virtualization efforts.

Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) has found that at least half of organizations have experienced a security breach, according to Gartner, and of those, 50% are in healthcare. Not to mention, one fifth of healthcare organizations in the U.S. are spending more than 10% of their global annual revenue on IT.

It takes decades of experience in structuring and streamlining complex IT environments for healthcare IT organizations to keep up with all the advances in technology. Often, their environments contain both virtualized applications and systems that cannot be virtualized (mainframes, AIX, etc.). Experts sometimes must work around-the-clock to support IT departments that don’t have the resources necessary to onboard and maintain cutting-edge systems. It’s enough to give even the most experienced IT manager a panic attack – or at least a headache.

The HIMSS 2017 conference is a perfect opportunity to learn how companies like Sungard AS can assess your crucial applications and business processes for strengths and vulnerabilities; identify the downtime tolerances of the organization; and design a production environment that empowers you to serve your patients with the care they deserve. Visit Sungard AS in booth 4579 for ideas and information on creating a healthy IT environment during digital transformation.