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Ramsay Health Care, one of Australia’s largest private healthcare providers, is partnering with Google Cloud to acquire the capability to harmonise and harness data across its network to improve clinical and operational outcomes. 

Ramsay told Healthcare IT News that it chose Google Cloud as its data and innovation partner in fulfilling its 2030 digital transformation strategy. 

A key component of this strategy is the creation of a centralised data hub, which will be built using Google Cloud’s enterprise data warehouse, BigQuery. 

The data hub, to be delivered in partnership with Google Cloud consultant Kasna, will allow Ramsay to safely ingest, store, and analyse both real-time data and diverse swaths of raw data. Patient data will be encrypted end-to-end through Google Cloud’s infrastructure and data storage.

Google Cloud will also be deploying the Apigee API Management and Anthos Service Mesh solutions to support data interoperability. 

WHY IT MATTERS

Ramsay operates a network of more than 70 hospitals, clinics, and surgical centres across Australia. With healthcare service demand expected to rise gradually each year, the amount of data they hold is also projected to increase. 

However, its patient and administrative data are held in separate on-premise locations, “making analysis and insights extraction a time-intensive and cumbersome process,” according to Dr Rachna Gandhi, chief digital and data officer of Ramsay Health Care.

For this reason, Ramsay is building a centralised data hub, powered by Google Cloud, that will provide a single source of truth for all its data. This will allow the group to operationalise data, improve connectivity, and unlock new insights to support clinical decision-making.

Aside from having better access to data and “significantly” improving data management, its partnership with Google Cloud will allow the organisation to use AI and ML tools, which have a “crucial role” in streamlining operational and clinical workflows, Dr Gandhi said. 

“For example, AI can reduce the administrative burden on clinicians and nurses, releasing further capacity to care for patients. AI will help doctors identify patients at risk of illness and our clinicians will also be able to use AI-powered tools to extract insights and enhance clinical decision-making by identifying patterns and trends that may not be obvious,” she explained further. 

Ramsay Health Care is also looking to use AI to optimise clinical coding to improve accuracy, reducing the burden on medical coders. It will also explore the use of AI in forecasting demand to ensure medications will not go to waste and to enable a more systematic allocation of procedures for optimising theatre and staff utilisation. 

With Google Cloud, Ramsay is scaling its adoption of AI “without the need for purchasing additional hardware and devoting manpower towards building new systems.”

THE LARGER TREND 

Google Cloud has been actively supporting the digital transformations of health systems around Asia-Pacific. Early this year, it started working with Synapxe – formerly the Integrated Health Information Systems, in Singapore to scale the access to API gateway for developers to create new applications and capabilities for the healthcare system. 

Through Amwell, Google Cloud has recently powered the virtual and remote care capabilities of Manipal Hospitals in India. The healthcare group is also adopting its conversational AI tools to enhance patient interactions.

Google Cloud has also helped process about 14,000 genomes – touted as the largest genome data set in Australia to date – with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney to drive the early diagnosis of rare genetic disorders.

Meanwhile, Ramsay is trying out this month a cloud-based platform that will provide patients and specialists with a single entry into its digital ecosystem. It will feature a pre-admission dashboard, digital consent capabilities, and payment systems.

ON THE RECORD

“We are on a significant journey to transform into a digitally enabled, data-informed integrated healthcare provider. As part of this transformation, we are excited to work with Google Cloud to unlock the maximum potential of data and AI and revolutionise the healthcare industry. We are committed to offering gold-standard clinical care while maintaining a responsible approach to data governance and privacy, and ensuring our customers retain control over their data,” Dr Gandhi said about their partnership with Google Cloud.

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