Gary Birks, EVP Europe, told the UK and Ireland Customer Conference 2022, that Orion Health has “built a dynamic relationship” with AWS, before Kira Levy, UK public sector head of healthcare at the cloud provider stood up to outline some of the trends that it is seeing in healthcare and how it is helping to address data challenges.

She started with integrated care systems and said AWS is seeing ICSs looking to integrate technology systems across their regions. As they do that, she suggested, they need to focus on “reducing something that used to drive me mad as a clinician” which is “having to do lots and lots of clicks just to do the job.”

Also, she said, AWS is hearing that ICSs want to integrate their data – “not just clinical data, but demographic data, and other sources of data”. And to do that, she argued, it is important to think about data architecture; so researchers don’t need t collect new datasets every time they want to run a new project. And finally, she said ICSs are showing a welcome commitment to collaboration and to putting the patient at the centre of their thinking.

To deliver on all this, she said ICSs need to create an ecosystem to support population health management, in which systems are connected, data is captured for research and analysis, and then fed into clinical systems that streamline care. But, at the moment, there are challenges. Healthcare wants real time data, but it may have to be “real-time-ish.” Security and information governance remain significant concerns. Algorithms need to be open and easy to explain. Clinicians need to know what it means for them; “we need to be supporting that next-best action.” Patients need to be onboard.

Kira outlined some of the design challenges that AWS is applying to these challenges; having good foundations, a secure, scaleable architecture, that isn’t limited to particular use cases, and that simplifies the experience for clinicians are all key. Having said that, she said there are some great population health use cases coming through.

For example, she talked about omada, a California start-up that is using data to create apps that help clinicians make “that next best action” in a range of areas, such as identifying and supporting patients with diabetes, and about MetroPlus, which used data during the Covid-19 outbreak to create a chatbot to support patients in New York. Overall, she said, similar themes are coming out of ICSs, and from other healthcare systems around the world: and data can be used to address them, as long as the right principles are followed.