How would healthcare  modernization on cloud contribute towards a more secure HIPAA and GDPR compliant environment? We put this question to  Jignesh Suthar, Senior Partner Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, in the recent SourceFuse “Talking Out Cloud” leadership chat series. Together, we talked about healthcare cloud solutions,  cloud modernization, and how healthcare solutions in AWS relate to enhanced security and  compliance on the cloud.

#1 We often hear from customers that they are locked into Microsoft licenses and see no way out – how does AWS address the challenge?

Many traditional commercial software vendors, like Oracle or Microsoft, have built their businesses around license agreements, and customers want to escape from a world of high lock-in and punitive licensing terms. Based on our experience, these license fees typically add 20 – 50% higher costs compared to equivalent open-source solutions offered on AWS.

At AWS we are customer ‘obsessed’ and lead with innovation rather than playing the licensing ‘game’ – with cloud modernization we avoid locking customers into long-term licensing contracts. This also helps our team to constantly innovate healthcare cloud solutions and offer digital transformation services at a lower cost. We strongly believe that if you offer good services and technology at a lower cost, our customers will stay with us for a long time.

For example, AWS invested in building a graviton processor running .NET6 applications offering up to 40% price performance. We also offer proven open-source solutions which customers can use  without paying for licensing. For instance, Amazon Aurora offers you performance and availability of a commercial grade database at only one tenth of the cost. Our customers can take advantage of these innovations and move away from ‘old guard’ vendors or technology.

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#2 In conversation with a customer new to the cloud, how would you define the term modernization as opposed to migration?

We get to hear different definitions of  migration and modernization depending upon the different personas we talk to. In general, migrating workloads from an on-premise datacenter to the cloud using ‘lift and shift’, say, is commonly referred to as migration. It’s quick and cheaper because it does not require any code changes or any major change in architecture. But at the same time, it does not help customers take advantage of the cloud elasticity or any of the latest AWS Cloud technology innovations.

Modernization, on the other hand, may take more time and cost a bit more BUT it helps customers to take full advantage of our available cloud tech. I describe modernization as the process of transforming existing applications and infrastructure to higher value open-source or cloud-native services. The main reason customers need to modernize is that it unlocks new business capabilities, helps accelerate their innovation cycle, and helps to reduce technical debt. Most importantly, modernization helps to reduce the total cost of ownership because customers are freed from having to pay the licensing costs for commercial products. Ultimately, modernization efforts pay for themselves.

A few years ago, when I was working as a consultant, I had a really tough time convincing my customers to go for refactoring and modernization. In those days, there was no clear guidance available about which modernization path customers should select for their workloads. In addition, there were very few tools available to accelerate the overall modernization efforts. Today, if you look at AWS Cloud, things have changed a lot. Nowadays, customers are more educated, they have a clear idea of the various modernization paths available on AWS Cloud, whether that’s containerized or serverless applications, or modernizing their  legacy databases  to a  custom-built application.

If you look at the AWS innovation cycle, initially we focussed more on building foundational capabilities by offering various EC2 instances, building managed services around relational databases, or directory services, etc. Later, we started focusing more on building tools and technology which help customers map their existing workloads to different modernization pathways and  accelerate modernization efforts.

What we are now seeing is more and more customers going directly towards modernization and the line between migration and modernization is definitely becoming more blurred.

#3 How would modernization contribute towards a more secure HIPAA and GDPR compliant environment?

Cost optimization  is one of the major driving factors when it comes to migrating and modernizing workloads on AWS. The second major driving factor is  security – protecting information, data and systems while maintaining integrity and  regulatory compliance. HIPAA and GDPR regulations impose very high standards when it comes to protecting customer data which puts lots of pressure on customers to keep workloads compliant.

As you know, healthcare and life sciences (HCLS) enterprises are already under pressure to innovate and stay relevant in the industry, and that’s where I believe modernization again comes into play. The ability to utilize AWS Cloud tools and digital transformation services which have been validated by third parties for more than 1000 compliance requirements, provides unmatched reliability, security, and data privacy.

Our customers can make the most of purpose built HCLS solutions offered by AWS to enhance patient care, decrease cost, and improve operational and clinical efficiency. AWS also offers a trusted Advanced Consulting Partner Network with  AWS Healthcare Competency in recognition of technical and industry expertise – partners like  SourceFuse.

By modernizing with AWS experts, healthcare and life science enterprises can offload lots of responsibilities to keep their workloads HIPAA and GDPR compliant, and in doing so can use more bandwidth to innovate and focus on their core business functions.

#4 How does the combination of AWS Healthcare and AWS Microsoft Workloads Competencies provide the most value for healthcare organizations?

That combination is a very unique and special achievement and I want to congratulate SourceFuse for achieving it! What the AWS Competency Program sets out to do is to validate and promote AWS Partners with demonstrated AWS technical expertise and proven customer success.

I strongly believe knowing the technology is one thing, but applying it to solve customer challenges is another. To apply relevant technology effectively, it’s very important that Consulting Partners, software professionals, or architects should have strong domain knowledge and understanding of our customers’ business. The AWS Healthcare Competency showcases a Partner’s expertise and proven track record of supporting HCLS customers.

When you factor in  AWS Microsoft Workloads Competency, it speaks for itself that SourceFuse also has the experience of modernization-led migration of Microsoft workloads on AWS. That’s the reason I think of SourceFuse not just as a Consulting Partner but also as a solution provider in the true sense, fully engaging with customers helping them convert their vision into an end-to-end product or solution.

#5 What does the future hold for modernization in healthcare?

I think bringing healthcare workloads to AWS, and modernizing them using AWS native services, containers, and going serverless, is just the tip of the iceberg. Customers are becoming more aware that when they start leveraging other services to add new functionality or new features, the real value of modernization is realized, like using machine learning, IoT, or advanced data analytics.

For example, SourceFuse helped  Telescope Health  to build a telehealth platform so that they could offer virtual health services to their patients. And in another example, SourceFuse helped one of its customers turn medical prescription data into business intelligence  by incorporating AWS Comprehend.

The recent pandemic has accelerated the demand for digitally enhanced healthcare delivery. We see AWS Consulting Partners and solution providers like SourceFuse, with the healthcare competency and a proven track record in the healthcare domain, will play a pivotal role in taking full advantage of AWS Cloud capabilities by using modernization to help our customers meet that demand.

Ready to start your healthcare enterprise cloud journey and modernize with AWS experts?