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Virtustream 2022 Predictions: Growing Trend in Healthcare M&A Deals Will Increase Drive for Application Unification in the Cloud

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Growing Trend in Healthcare M&A Deals Will Increase Drive for Application Unification in the Cloud

By Tim Calahan, Virtustream

Like most industries affected by major digital challenges over the past few years, healthcare providers, in particular, found it necessary to accelerate their cloud journeys and IT modernization plans. In the midst of the world's response to the pandemic, another trend with significant IT repercussions rose to prevalence in the healthcare industry as well - mergers and acquisitions.

The Growing Trend of Mergers and Acquisitions in Healthcare

As healthcare organizations make moves to be more efficient and, most importantly, to enhance and expand patient care services for their growing communities, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) present the potential for much faster progress toward these goals. Bloomberg Law reports that the rate of healthcare M&A deals in the US is on pace to set a record in 2021, with the potential total number of deals exceeding 3,000. An October report from CB Insights agrees, noting that the results in 2021 so far saw more than 100 new healthcare mergers or acquisitions than in all of 2020.

Delivering uninterrupted service and excellent patient care requires constant, quick and reliable access to up-to-date patient records and data, which can often be dispersed among a number of different IT environments. With the industry's steady stream of M&A activity, this disbursement of patient information is problematic. Therein lies the challenge - managing, accessing and exchanging patient information within hospital systems and affiliated facilities becomes even more complex, while centralized and consolidated delivery is the goal. In fact, in a recent industry perspective note, McKinsey suggests that healthcare organizations should embrace transformative integrations to enhance core performance and build new capabilities. In the same study, McKinsey suggests organizations ensure a focus on protecting patient care and member experience while transforming IT and highlights the need to establish a robust integration and transformation infrastructure. To this point, I propose that Cloud infrastructure allows transforming organizations easier access to digital assets that are not tied to physical data centers (which is often the case for merging entities), allowing the merging entities to embrace transformation integrations without worrying about physical locations of legacy IT assets.

The embrace of cloud can provide a foundational IT baseline that merging organizations can leverage to alleviate the challenges of disparate data silos that may exist in legacy datacenters. Supporting this point, another recent McKinsey article highlights that cloud capabilities have the potential to generate up to $170 billion in new value for healthcare organizations by the year 2030, through the enablement of greater innovation driven by the ongoing expansion of IT modernization and digitization of business operations and processes.  

Prediction: Digital Transformation Plans for Healthcare Providers Will Evolve in 2022 to Include the Unification of Mission-Critical Applications in the Cloud

To address the issue of dispersed applications and platforms across various IT environments or multicloud deployments, I predict that healthcare providers will expand the focus of their current cloud migration game plans to include the unification of their mission-critical platforms in the cloud, such as Electronic Health Record (EHR) applications, which can involve multiple instances of the application from the same vendor or from competing vendors like Epic and Cerner.

This comprehensive approach to address the technology impact of mergers will benefit providers with more streamlined operations and reduced operational costs that, ultimately, help improve the overall quality of patient care. A great example of this strategy can be seen in the work led by the highly regarded Dr. Zafar Chaudry, SVP and Chief Digital & Information Officer at Seattle Children's. You can see how they partnered with Virtustream to unify their EHR platform in the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud quickly and seamlessly.

Path to Improved Patient Care Requires the Right IT Strategy

Having a unified platform in the cloud for mission-critical healthcare workloads can be a game changer for IT organizations. Establishing a unified approach can help IT leaders achieve improved optimization and performance, faster and more complete insights into patient status and needs, provide more accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations, and ultimately drive more streamlined operations which can help reduce costs and improve patient care. A strong strategy to unify platforms can also lead to accelerated digital transformation, more agile cloud adoption and expansion, and enhanced security and resiliency.

Whether an organization's disparate systems and applications are legacy issues or are newer issues brought on by an M&A deal, the strategy to unify the most critical workloads typically benefits both the IT environment as well as the business of the healthcare organization overall. With the help of a trusted cloud services provider managing the migration and unification of applications in the cloud, the internal IT team can focus on more patient-centric priorities.

Digital transformation initiatives in the healthcare industry will enable more precise IT control, which can support more precise patient care in the future. In the end, speedier, simpler and more secure access to accurate patient information and records will result in improved patient care and better outcomes overall. Now that's a prediction for 2022 that we should all add to our wish list.



Tim Calahan 

Dr. Tim Calahan is the director of Product Strategy & Management for Virtustream's Healthcare Cloud. Throughout his career he has demonstrated a passion for bringing new products, solutions and teams to support new business initiatives on a global scale. Dr. Calahan has spent the majority of his career in consulting, product development, and sales; providing innovative products and solutions in a variety of industries with a focus on healthcare and financial services.

Published Monday, January 10, 2022 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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