3 health systems relying more on big tech during the pandemic

Amazon and Google are investing a large amount of money in healthcare and working with health systems across the U.S., and RMC's global head of healthcare deals expects to see multiple tech companies make big moves in healthcare in the coming months, according to a report from Business Insider.

So far, most cloud-based tech firms have either partnered with systems to move their entire IT systems into the cloud or they can partner on cloud work for individual projects. For example, Ascension has migrated its entire system to Google Cloud while MedStar Health and UC San Diego use AWS cloud for services such as telehealth and chatbots. Head of healthcare sales at Google Cloud Chris Sakalosky told BI that Google has received several inquiries from health systems for telehealth and general analytics help.

Here are three quotes from healthcare executives about big tech partnerships:

1. Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health boosted partnerships with AWS, TigerConnect and Teladoc during the pandemic to better connect with patients virtually. "All of this is a genie that is not going to be put back in a bottle," said Jonathan Slotkin, MD, associate chief medical informatics officer at Geisinger.

2. Renton, Wash.-based Providence accelerated efforts to move legacy data centers and applications to Microsoft Azure after signing a five-year partnership to develop the "hospital of the future" with the tech giant last year. "People were supportive before, but it's one thing just to read a PowerPoint and see how important it is to go to the cloud," said CIO B.J. Moore. "It's another thing to live that importance."

He also said the cloud was essential to take advantage of big data, artificial intelligence, speech recognition and image processing projects.

3. Pittsburgh-based UPMC leaned on the Microsoft 365 suite for remote work during the pandemic and UPMC Enterprises used AWS to manage COVID-19 patient treatment. "[Technology has] always been important," said UPMC CIO Ed McCallister. "I think that it's just been magnified because of the pandemic."

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