Seeing the forest for the trees, and the horizon for the Cloud

The Cloud is a central connection point for creating a seamless user experience, but health IT needs to think bigger and focus on the air-cover it provides.
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Why the Cloud Matters in Health IT

If you started writing an email on your phone and weren’t able to finish it from your laptop when you got to work, you would be frustrated and rightfully so. It has become a modern-day requirement that we are able to access content in the same easy way, across all devices, from desktop computers and laptops to phones, tablets, and even wearables.

For the healthcare industry, where time and quality is always of the essence, this is particularly important. Clinicians want and need a seamless dictation experience, regardless of location or device. So when a physician is in the hospital, she can find a computer cart or dictation station to record her patient’s story, when she is in the clinic, she can use her tablet or smart phone to enter her notes, or if she is using her home-office computer, she can log into the VPN to dictate from there, too.  If you talk with clinicians, they’ll discuss workflow, patient care, accuracy of information— they could care less about the technology, app or widget that will give it to them.

I work for a company that has been leveraging the Cloud for years.  In fact, we often take it for granted, because it’s fundamental to our core design. Billions of users hit our Cloud every day as we power mobile documentation for some of the biggest companies and EHRs.  So when someone mentions the Cloud as “the answer,” I roll my eyes because I know it is just one small piece of the heterogeneous infrastructure and deployment scenario that we operate in to deliver the workflow and experience our clients require.

For me and my team, Cloud is a given.  What we need to is stay focused on is the experience and the technologies required to deliver that experience.  The Cloud is merely one of those technologies.  So we pay attention to the more than 350,000 clinicians who rely on our front-end clinical voice recognition solutions, and the 150,000 people who depend on PowerMics to make sure the system hears every word properly, despite packed EDs or crying babies. Not to mention the 500,000 clinicians using Nuance healthcare solutions to ensure they can capture, translate, and share their patients’ stories with the right people where and when they need it.  They have my attention, they have my ear.  It’s their experience that matters most to me.

The Cloud enables

While the Cloud is the central connection point that enables a seamless user experience, what makes it truly valuable is its ability to provide the air-cover needed to accommodate diverse technology offerings that ensure clinicians have access to patient information immediately. It is not enough to simply have a cloud-based product and force everyone to use it regardless of whether or not it fits smoothly within their daily workflows and IT infrastructure requirements.  It is about individual preferences: what an orthopaedic surgeon needs may not help an internist or hospitalist enough.  Good technology adapts to the person using it, fits his lifestyle—not the other way around.  And the difference is profoundly noticeable.

Mobile adoption will continue to rise and shoe-horning cloud-based products will not fix the frustrations of clinical teams. We design our technologies to fit the way our clients use them.  By working alongside them, we have learned they want top-notch clinical language understanding technology that offers a consistent, integrated experience that fits within their current IT infrastructure. This is why EHR vendors big and small, and hospitals of all sizes, from 200-bed sites to the Veteran’s Administration, partner with us, the leader in Cloud solutions. Not because of the Cloud, but because of what it can do for them and the convenience and protection it brings to their clinicians and patients. We provide them with distributed environments, an impressive mobile portfolio, and zero-weight clients. And physicians know they can trust us.  They rely on our constantly updated clinical ontologies, and they know their dictations are securely hitting the Cloud through a 256-bit encryption—regardless of what device they are using.

We treat our relationship with our partners and clients with the utmost gravity. We understand that patients entrust their physicians with their lives and, in turn, clinicians expect and trust us to be there when they need us. And we are.  We will continue to focus our efforts on perfecting the experience of front-end speech recognition, and as more capabilities are required, addressing them in the most intuitive ways possible.  Our mission is to remove barriers and always keep that big picture in mind, so physicians can spend their attention on the details of their patients’ conditions and providing the best care possible.  That’s why I focus my team on the horizon, not on the Cloud.

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Joe Petro

About Joe Petro

Joe Petro is the senior vice president of engineering for the Healthcare division where he leads a large global team on research and development of the entire Nuance Healthcare product portfolio, and collaborates with clients to bring solutions to market. Prior to Nuance, Joe was the senior vice president of product development at Eclipsys Corporation, a major player in the electronic health record (EHR) and clinical provider order entry (CPOE) space. While at Eclipsys, Joe served on the executive staff where he was responsible for the development of more than 30 products from ADT, Departmental, Inpatient, Ancillaries, Patient Financial Management and Outpatient solutions. He earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of New Hampshire, graduating both with Summa Cum Laude accolades.