Geisinger CIO says move to Amazon cloud will let health system offer 'ultimate service'

Geisinger's migration to Amazon Web Services will not only help the Danville, Pa.-based health system save time and money, but will give it the flexibility to provide "the ultimate service to our consumers," CIO John Kravitz told Becker's.

"This is really the trend moving forward," Mr. Kravitz said. "We have to have the agility to focus on our digital project offerings and the experiences with the customer that are so important. We can take some of this work off our plates, as far as hardware and data centers. I'd rather focus on the business need, not necessarily on the hardware, the traditional IT functionality."

The hospital system selected Amazon Web Services to be its cloud provider in May, marking one of the largest EHR migrations to the tech giant. Geisinger will be moving its Epic records to Amazon, the third health system to do so.

Through this process, Geisinger will eliminate a lot of applications that are no longer core to its mission, Mr. Kravitz said.

"We don't want to be a best-of-breed shop," he said. "We want to be an integrated shop that provides the ultimate service to our consumers. In this case, it's our providers or nurses. It's the patient. We want to make certain that we have the agility and the flexibility to be able to provide that in a very timely manner. And in our traditional on-premise solution that was a little challenging."

Geisinger, Amazon both benefit

Mr. Kravitz said Amazon Web Services already has a good reputation in cloud computing. He hopes the integration will help both parties.

"Geisinger has been known as an innovative organization the past decade, if not longer, especially when it comes to technology solutions with our clinical partners," he said. For Amazon, "the ability to demonstrate that they had a successful migration with one of the innovative healthcare organizations that people recognize in the country is important for them."

Mr. Kravitz said a lot of his contemporaries remain apprehensive about shifting to the cloud. But he said it was the right decision for Geisinger. The health system will need fewer infrastructure employees for hardware support and less hardware dedicated to the cloud. Mr. Kravitz said staff members will be retrained to support the new cloud environment.

The transition also will allow Geisinger to more effortlessly work with cloud-based vendors.

Geisinger plans to integrate the cloud into its application programming interface, or API, platform to quickly implement innovative digital healthcare apps.

About 25 percent to 30 percent of Geisinger's applications are in its private cloud, and Mr. Kravitz said the hospital system plans to eventually move about 90 percent of its apps to Amazon.

Geisinger will retain a small on-premise system for high-speed connectivity and redundancy, Mr. Kravitz said. Imaging-heavy modalities such as radiology, cardiology and dermatology, as well as diagnostic equipment middleware, don't mesh well with the cloud yet, he said.

Cybersecurity and innovation are key

Geisinger has also been working to ensure the new system is secure.

"We started that process when we started the evaluation well over a year ago, involving our information security partners, to help them identify all the appropriate software that should be needed and monitoring services and tools that we need to be able to make sure that we keep our environments safe," Mr. Kravitz said.

The health system plans to use the cloud to innovate through technologies like integrated voice response, artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, to name a few. The latter is already employed in Geisinger's registration department and is being evaluated for medication dispensing and pre-surgery patient identification. 

"We'll know for certain before a medication is given to a patient that it is definitively that patient and there's no opportunity for a mistake," Mr. Kravitz said. "There are opportunities to get better, provide safer, higher-quality care across the healthcare system, and we're all about that."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars