How health systems in Latin America are increasing care quality & access with the cloud
By Francisco Sapori, Jr., Health Industry Director, Latin America, Microsoft on February 22, 2016
Filed under Health
I recently visited with several health leaders and Microsoft partners in Colombia, and it was exciting to see how they’re taking advantage of the cloud to improve healthcare. As I’ve written before, the cloud offers health systems in Latin America the opportunity to leapfrog to modern IT solutions that can help them provide better care to more people at lower costs.
While I was in Colombia, I got the chance to meet with Microsoft partner Innana, which provides health institutions with a cloud-based EMR called Health iCloud. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Health iCloud is being used to increase access to high-quality care, especially for citizens in rural regions where healthcare resources are limited.
The cloud-based health information system is connecting health organizations across Colombia so they can share patient information and expertise. For example, a general practitioner in a rural region can consult with a specialist in a big city to provide the best care for a patient. Health iCloud enables health professionals from around the country to share patient histories and lab reports, track appointments and referrals, collaborate on best practices, and cohesively manage a patient’s care. It’s a great example of how health systems can use the cloud to improve care access and quality cost-effectively.
Similarly, the Brazilian health ministry implemented a cloud-based patient record system for citizens in Rio de Janeiro to help improve population health. In 2011, more than 1 million patient records were digitized in a matter of months with a solution from Health Innovation Systems based on Microsoft technologies. The solution, VitaHisCare, provides citizens with access to their own health record anywhere, anytime. It also provides the same access to authorized health professionals. This is especially important in Rio de Janeiro since as much as 75 percent of the population doesn’t have a general practitioner. Instead, citizens often rely on emergency rooms and health clinics for their medical care. With VitaHisCare, patients’ information can follow them wherever they go—to the ER, hospital, clinic, lab, or pharmacy.
What’s more, the cloud-based health record system is being used by community agents to gather the health status of people in areas of Rio de Janeiro where citizens often weren’t receiving healthcare at all. Information about pregnant women, people with chronic conditions, and children’s health, for example, is being used to create targeted outreach programs to make sure those populations are receiving appropriate medical services and information. As a result, care access and public health are improving.
These are just a couple of examples of how health and healthcare in Latin America are getting better with cloud solutions. To achieve the triple aim of increased care quality and access at lower costs means not only digitizing existing information and processes in healthcare, but using modern technologies to enable entirely new ways of doing things. It’s exciting to see how health systems in Latin America are doing just that. Stay tuned as I share more real-world examples of cloud innovation in health in the coming months.