31 Greek hospitals move into the cloud
The healthcare sector faces enormous challenges nowadays: more and older patients, budget cuts, or shortages of qualified employees, to name just a few. Digitalization could be a viable solution to most of these problems. This is why 31 public hospitals in Greece have now seized the opportunity to reduce their costs and increase productivity using a new, private cloud infrastructure.
This was a reasonable step, considering that hospitals usually spend a significant amount of time and budget on processing and storing medical data. For this project, GRNET (Greek Research and Technology Network) turned to the OTE Group, the Greek of the Deutsche Telekom group, to develop a data centre and cloud-based infrastructure that would solve the problem of back-up storage and long-term access to medical imaging tests (including x-rays and tomography) in Greek hospitals.
Virtualization through cloud technology
What did the two partners offer? A high-security, high-performance data center along with the telecommunications equipment needed to use it. Medical data needs to be kept for a long time, so hospitals require vast and extensible data storage capacities, as well as sufficient bandwidth to access the data.
“Cloud technology can help the healthcare sector improve its efficiency and thereby create real value for hospitals. By storing their images digitally, the radiology departments now save up to 50 percent of costs on films, chemicals, and other disposables,” says Ralf Nejedl, Senior Vice President B2B, Deutsche Telekom Europe. “We are happy that our expertise in complex ICT projects enabled us to provide the infrastructure for the cloud-based teleradiology solution in the public sector.”
Benefits for patients and hospitals
The features of the new solution are even more attractive: In addition to large cost savings on films and chemicals, less staff is needed for non-medical, organizational or administrative tasks. The project also enables the provision of the best possible service to patients since medical imaging tests will now be available in every hospital via the cloud. It’s also much easier to share examinations with other radiologists for second-opinion consults. In addition, the collaboration process connecting different hospitals and academic researchers is made much easier, regardless of how far apart they are. New services in the area of smart health could even be made possible: Storing medical data online is the first step towards creating electronic health records.
How it works
The medical imaging tests carried out at the interconnected hospitals are collected and stored automatically via a specialist archiving and retrieval system for large-scale imaging data called HARMONI. Access is also strictly limited to authorised medical and nursing staff via the local Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), to ensure the security of the content over time. This is a much safer storage option than before: If something happens to the IT structure of one hospital, no data will be lost.
The solution deployed in the public hospitals in Greece entailed much more than just technology: By virtualizing their medical data, the hospitals have significantly enhanced its availability and basically taken the first step towards digitalization. Learn more about the possibilities of digitalization for the health sector!
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