The use of MRIs, CT scans and other medical imaging exams are valuable tools contributes to quicker diagnosis and shorter hospital stays. While the detailed images are one aspect of this improvement in better patient outcomes, the other is that physicians can work together to address the clinical issues as a team. But this drive for collaboration is often hampered by the fact that today’s images are so detailed rich, the data set sizes are becoming to large to transport in typical electronic methodologies. However, as was demonstrated at HIMSS 2018 newer technologies, such as GPU acceleration, streaming algorithms and faster storage are making it easier for clinicians to share and collaborate to create better patient outcomes.
“Moving images, especially large ones that a healthcare provider would need consultation from research facility has multiple hurdles and can be a struggle,” said Tony Turner, Strategic Partner Manager at NetApp. “It becomes more complicated when multiple clinicians are trying to collaborate, because the resolution quality might be affected or the time to transport electronically is not realistic. That creates a situations in which healthcare professionals cannot collaborate in real time delaying the process.
According to Turner, we are leveraging tools from other industries, like the oil and gas industry to solve healthcare issues like sharing large imaging data sets. The 3D FlexPod solution they leveraged is from NetApp, Cisco and NVIDIA and provides an incredible amount of flexibility with graphic acceleration and computation that will drive advanced machine learning and AI in healthcare.
“NetApp 3DFlexPod allowed engineers to run remote sessions, accelerating the computations for the graphics so images up to 12K in resolution could be shared without waiting for them to load, or finding they are pixelated or have degraded quality,” Turner explained. “With 20 engineers making changes and collaborating on a project remotely, the sharing and transporting of large, detailed files is very inefficient and adds unneeded costs and time to the project. With 3D FlexPod, they had a new way to securely access and collaborate on large datasets from anywhere in the world, creating efficiencies and saving money.”
A second value from using datacenter based GPUs beyond security is the ability to start using Machine and Deep Learning to support better visualization and understanding of the images. An example of this was showcased by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang at 2018 GTC with CLARA.
Turner continued, “The use of these technologies in healthcare is still in its infancy, but there is a huge need for it and many possibilities,” he concluded. “A main goal is to eliminate the barriers of sharing large data sets and also reducing the cost and number of physical, expensive, high-resolution workstations. Doing more with less and creating efficiencies is part of everything we are focused on for healthcare.”
According to Joseph Hobbs, CHCIO, Sr. Manager of the NetApp Epic Alliance, 3D FlexPod and other technologies that foster secure and easy collaboration were among the topics he heard about from customers at the 2018 HIMSS conference.
“Attendees’ interests ranged from cloud offerings to 3D FlexPod and hyper-converged infrastructure,” Hobbs shared. “The biggest difference from last year to this year is that most organizations have moved into strategic planning. Last year, they were asking the questions and building their knowledge. Now they have working strategies, which might still be in the introductory stage or in the data governance arenas, but the questions were more specific to how will these technologies – cloud, HCI and others – work best within the requirements of an organization?”
To help customers create a solid healthcare strategy, Hobbs said that NetApp is helping them move away from the current world of siloed technologies to one of quality of service – in all areas.
“At NetApp we see ourselves as HCI 2.0, because what most companies say is ‘future’ technology, we are doing today,” Hobbs said. “Our ONTAP solution eliminates silos and forklift upgrades, and ensures QoS. Ours is the only solution in the market that provides the ability to manage the entire enterprise, especially in healthcare.”
“It isn’t just about managing,” Hobbs continued. “It’s about the long-term supportability of these environments and how you are able to provide extreme cost effectiveness with non-disruptive operations in a secure, hybrid cloud environment.”
Click here to learn how one “Most Wired” healthcare system is putting data to work to reduce readmissions – and cost of care – for improved patient outcomes.