E-Health and Cloud: simple rules to meet the challenges of the French health system

The Cloud certainly contributes to facilitating and improving the effectiveness of care. Thus, it allows to gather in one and the same secure place, any time, medical images and reports contained in the file of a patient. Robert SIGAL, President of GE Healthcare France, returns to this podium on the backstage of this e-health innovation and how it solves the challenges of the healthcare system.

Information systems have revolutionized our daily lives, and medicine is not immune to this evolution. Currently, nine regions in mainland France and overseas territories have or are preparing to launch tenders for the installation of information systems hosted in the “Cloud”, aware of the advantages of these solutions to meet major issues facing the different actors of the health system in France: quality and safety of patient care; access to care, wherever the patients are; cost containment.

The Cloud, storage space and data exchange connected to external servers, seems to be emerging as the technical solution of the future. This system was built on the basis of simple rules, inspired by the rules of classical theater.

Unity of place, to start: gathering images acquired in different places. Unit of time, then: gathering images acquired at different times. Unity of action, finally: gathering information in order to facilitate the therapeutic decision.

Specifically, this new online data archiving service is not installed within the institution, but connected to the cloud by a high-speed link. Depending on the needs, it can cover the archiving of patient image data, the PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), the access to the file by the city doctors or the image exchange and teleradiology.

E-Health and Cloud

For patients, this solution improves the quality of care and care. Medical imaging (MRI, CT scan, PET scanner, etc.) is used at all stages of patient care: screening, diagnosis, therapeutic guidance, control and therapeutic follow-up. A patient with a chronic illness is thus often looked after, from the initial diagnosis to the follow-up through the treatment, by doctors and health professionals located in several institutions and by private doctors practicing in private practices.

A concrete answer to the financial management of institutions

The fact that all these actors have access to the patient’s imaging data 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, makes it possible for the healthcare professionals to improve their efficiency and to improve the quality of care and life for the patient. An optimal sharing of information between doctors helps to reassure a patient with cancer.

Proof of the effectiveness of the Cloud, eight institutions in Ile-de-France under the leadership of the Regional Health Agency of Ile-de-France, have already chosen to use this solution. It raises many obstacles for them in setting up, managing and maintaining such infrastructures.

Indeed, information systems are more and more complex. It therefore becomes difficult if not impossible for an establishment to set up, operate and maintain such infrastructure in conditions of maximum quality and availability and reasonable cost.

At the budget level, the Cloud is a concrete answer to facilitate the financial management of institutions: no initial investment required for a specific IT infrastructure or to recruit specific IT skills, since technology and skills are outsourced; Improved budget predictability through the development of Software as a Service (SAAS) since the institution pays only for use. This solution was chosen by the Gustave Roussy Institute, which, according to its latest count in April 2012, has archived more than 980,000 exams in a few months.

The success of the Cloud is proof that that of e-Health in its entirety must go through developments centered on users, health professionals, as well as beneficiaries and patients.

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