MercyAscot looks to Umbrellar and Microsoft to speed up cancer treatment

MercyAscot looks to Umbrellar and Microsoft to speed up cancer treatment

Microsoft's Azure plus Azure Stack are supporting changes that cut cancer diagnosis times

Dr Lloyd McCann (MercyAscot Hospital)

Dr Lloyd McCann (MercyAscot Hospital)

Auckland's MercyAscot Hospital has reduced some cancer diagnosis times from weeks to less than an hour courtesy of new cloud-based tools.

The private hospital is pioneering value-based service delivery, bringing together surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, and other providers in one room, rather than requiring patients to go to separate appointments.

As a result, the MercyAscot Neck Lump Clinic has reduced the time it takes to complete a preliminary diagnosis and treatment from between eight and 12 weeks to 45 minutes.

For the last couple of years, the hospital has been moving to put data at the centre of patient care, adopting a new electronic medical record and patient administration system built on Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack, tapping Azure specialist Umbrellar and its partner Aceso to help enhance delivery and improve patient outcomes while at also reducing costs.

In the case of aggressive cancers, such streamlined capabilities can mean the difference between life and death. The Neck Lump Clinic provides one example of how this works.

Previously MercyAscot employed multiple on-premises patient medical record and administration systems. Umbrellar helped the hospital embark on digital transformation by moving to a cloud infrastructure based on HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack.

“Standing up an infrastructure onsite wasn’t financially sustainable given the scale to which we’d like to grow," said Dr Lloyd McCann, chief executive officer of Mercy Radiology and Clinics and head of digital health. "Using Azure, the cloud delivers significant cost savings.

“Keeping all our data in New Zealand on Azure Stack reduces latency and improves performance, so clinicians and patients don’t have a poor digital experience. At the same time, we benefit from Azure cybersecurity, uptime, and reliability."

Running on Azure Stack, MercyAscot’s new Intersystems patient medical record and administrative solution is delivering a single readily accessible source of the truth for patient data.

“Through interfaces based on the Umbrellar and Azure Stack infrastructures, clinicians will have easy access to all information, even scans and pathology results that reside in separate systems, in one seamless experience to greatly enhance decision making," McCann said.

MercyAscot is extending its value-based model beyond the clinic to also support its hospital, clinic, and radiology operations.

After consolidating patient health and administrative information, the organisation will employ advanced Azure capabilities such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to further improve patient care.

“For example, in Mercy Radiology, we plan to use AI to augment radiologists’ workflows through actions such as lesion identification and tracking,” said McCann. “We’re also leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics to enhance our operational decision making."

Patients will also be able to access their health records, helping them to manage their health more effectively.

“By consuming services using an opex model, we gain more certainty around our costs and the service level we’ll receive," McCann added. "Both that, and our ability to close information gaps by consolidating in Azure Stack, are huge efficiency drivers."

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