The most common way hospitals create hybrid environments is through integration at the data level. To get a better idea of what this looks like, consider the example of a covered entity that has embraced cloud computing. The covered entity setup a private cloud for its IT professionals across three different geographical locations and established a private exchange of health care data to supports its business functions. At the same time, to support the patients discharge system, the covered entity selected a cloud based ADT system. To suppor the Human Resources department, it selected a SaaS based HR platform. The hospital continues to manage its own EHR system in its data center.
Integrating healthcare information across multiple public and private based individual data sources can be extremely challenging, even if all data assets are tightly controlled in an internal on-premise data center. However, when you begin to incorporate 340B data from public cloud sources such as a SaaS application such as Cloud 340B or with health care data stored in a private cloud, such as ADT system - the complexity of the integration process increases. Maintaining the integrity of your healthcare data is at great risk unless you are able to consistently integrate across the hybrid platform.
What is the hybrid cloud?
A hybrid cloud is a combination of a private cloud combined with the use of public cloud services. The interoperability is between public cloud applications with private cloud or on-premise applications. This model will create a unified, automated and well managed computing environment. Rather, a hybrid cloud is a platform where both private and public software services are used to perform together to create value. Many Covered Entities are working on this model as it will solve critical business challenges. A Hospital might use the private cloud as a way to support the changing needs of the application development team within the various departments. A private cloud provides a flexible environment with a higher level security that would be available in a public cloud.
A Cloud is Hybrid in the following scenarios:
If a Covered Entity or a Contract Pharmacy uses a public development platform that exchange data to a private cloud or a data center based applications, then the cloud is Hybrid.
When a Covered Entity or a Contract Pharmacy leverages a number of SaaS applications and exchange healthcare data between private and data center resources, then the cloud is Hybrid.
Fundamental concepts of 340B data management in mind:
Health care data or Information is the heart of how either covered entities or contract pharmacies differentiate themselves from their competitors. They must approach cloud integration with these fundamental concepts of 340B data management in mind:
To truly innovate, you need a complete understanding of all health care details of your patients, partners, drug manufactures, etc.,
You must need a thorough understanding of all aspects of your relationship with your value chain. This data has to be accurate, timely and in the right context.
You need to gain an understanding of what your patients are prescribed or status of your inventory or status of your inventory replenishments.
You must understand what your patients and partners are saying and how satisfied they are with your services and products.
In addition to above, they must need to trust the information shared. These collective details must be secured and managed according to the business functions and HRSA regulations.
In many ways, the need for data integration remains the same as it has been for decades - providing a healthcare organization with a clear understanding of the claims, services and other critical data assets about the overall business. Departments such as patient management, finance, human resources, inventory management and other 340B applications use applications designed specifically to support their business processes. These healtcare applications area likely to have unique and independent sources of information.
Looking at the Business Requirements for Hybrid Cloud Integration
Many Hospitals initially underestimate the challenges of integrating 340B or Healthcare data across hybrid computing platforms. Most of the integration issues between public and private clouds will focus on SaaS applications. Business heads assume that they already have tools and expertise required to manage the integration process because of their prior experience with data integration in the on-premise platform. Conventionally, many covered entities use a consistent process of moving data fromn one application to another. This methodolgy is called ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Loading). However ETL is inadequate for integrating across multiple delivery platforms of the cloud.
One of the characteristic of a SaaS based environment is that the structure of the data element is often changed without a prior notification to its customers. These changes could potentially affect the process of data integration as it is extremely complex to address the changes to the business application. However, you need an integration process that's adaptable based on the unexpected data format changes.
In a nutshell, you need an common and standardized way to link your health care applications where they are managed.