Redefining the healthcare ecosystem through hybrid cloud data management

This blog post was originally created for Independent, and it can be found on https://www.independent.co.uk
July 26, 2023
The role of hybrid cloud in integrating digital pathology and ushering in an era of patient-centric care
The healthcare industry is currently witnessing a flurry of change and regulatory shifts, with innovations in digital health and business models attracting new investors. But, in many cases, these promising initiatives have stalled after falling short of expectations, never quite achieving the anticipated scale or value.

Yet as the healthcare landscape continues to transform, global healthcare players are increasingly choosing to embrace cloud-based solutions for collaborative care. They envision open, cloud-based health platforms with apps and features that will cover the continuum of care – from self-care and prevention to diagnosis and treatment, through recovery and wellness.

Simultaneously, these technological advancements are blurring the lines between wellbeing and healthcare, leading to a convergence of the two sectors. As a result, a new ecosystem is emerging to combine elements of both and transform how we approach and deliver healthcare.

Together with the rise of more centralised platforms, we at Tiger Technology expect a major shift from a hardware-centred, output-based care model to more solution-focused business models that introduce value-based healthcare logic at scale. At the same time, we are convinced that such platforms are only intermediary steps towards a truly customer-centred ecosystem that integrates wellbeing and healthcare.

The Importance of Digital Pathology Integration

At Tiger Technology, we recognise that digital pathology is a vital component in proving the potential of the digital future of healthcare. Why? By digitising pathology slides and leveraging image analysis algorithms, healthcare providers can transcend geographical boundaries, enabling remote collaboration and consultations. Pathologists can also analyse high-resolution images of tissue samples in real time, accelerating diagnosis and improving patient outcomes.

Furthermore, digital pathology opens the doors to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), allowing algorithms to assist pathologists in detecting subtle patterns and anomalies. These technologies have demonstrated promising results in various applications, including cancer diagnosis, predictive analytics and personalised treatment strategies. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, digital pathology has the potential to optimise treatment plans, enhance precision medicine and improve patient care on a global scale. Experts agree that AI will be routinely and impactfully used within AP laboratory and pathologist clinical workflows by 2030.

The challenge

Implementing digital pathology is a complex task that requires more than just purchasing scanners to digitise slides and an image viewer, however. It involves identifying a comprehensive solution that effectively uses these technologies to improve clinical services and care, while also delivering a strong return on investment. This necessitates prioritising these activities within the healthcare organisation. Unfortunately, many healthcare organisations with digital pathology implementations have opted for enterprise or radiology-focused solutions due to existing relationships for storage and visualisation. However, the unique requirements of DP call for a different approach.

An additional challenge comes from the fact that pathology generates an enormous amount of data annually, with global data generation estimated to reach up to 10,000 petabytes. It is an astronomical amount of data! This number is based on the US pathologist workforce, the number of slides viewed daily, and the US share of global cancer incidence.

Finally, a typical midsize hospital may require several petabytes of storage to handle daily diagnostic imaging, pathology slide scans and the digitisation of archives spanning several years, not to mention the need for data backup and retention times of usually 10 to 15 years.

Overcoming obstacles

To overcome these challenges, healthcare organisations need to carefully evaluate and select a digital pathology storage solution that addresses their unique requirements. The decision entails considering factors such as storage scalability, data security, compliance with privacy regulations and cost-effectiveness. One way to do this is through on-premises-first hybrid storage solutions. These follow an infrastructure approach that prioritises continuity of on-premises workflows, treating the cloud as an enhancer that can be removed without disruption, rather than a primary enabler of digital transformation. This way the substantial volume of pathology data can be managed without requiring a complete renovation of critical workflows. It is also important for these solutions to be based on open standards to ensure there is no risk of vendor lock-in.

“Current digital health strategies centre around small datasets, but the rise of digital pathology as a critical component in imaging solutions will change the landscape drastically,” says Nikola Apostolov, Healthcare Lead at Tiger Technology. “The substantial data volume generated as a result of its integration will become a challenge both for cloud-first approaches and traditional VNAs in terms of infrastructure and cost. Therefore, the adoption of a hybrid solution supporting lower-cost cloud storage tiers, coupled with the local infrastructure,”.
In the context of on-premises-first hybrid workflows, cloud adoption also offers numerous benefits such as:
  • Cost optimisation and data protection
  • Multi-site collaboration to fuel clinical work and research
  • AI for faster and more accurate diagnosis
Tiger Technology offers this approach to healthcare organisations through Tiger Bridge – a reliable tool for seamlessly managing and organising mission-critical information, including its cloud-tiering and archiving. This data management software enables organisations with an on-premises-first mindset to adopt hybrid cloud based on open standards without having to rebuid workflows.

The future of patient-centric care

In the future, healthcare platforms will form the cornerstone of a patient-centric, data-driven ecosystem. With the integration of digital pathology into these platforms, the power of collective intelligence will be harnessed, driving innovation, accelerating research and transforming diagnostics. Real-time collaboration, data sharing and knowledge exchange will then become the norm, enabling healthcare providers to deliver personalised care, optimise workflows and improve patient outcomes on a global scale. “In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, the industry is already taking strides towards the future, embracing cloud solutions and adopting AI at an accelerated pace,” says Alexander Lefterov, Tiger Technology’s Co-Founder and CEO. “With almost two decades of expertise in developing high-performance storage solutions for the most demanding workflows, Tiger Technology takes pride in being part of this digital transformation and stands prepared to take it to the next level by creating a seamlessly connected and data-driven healthcare ecosystem.”
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