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Government Cloud, Healthcare IT

Private cloud to cut costs for Singapore’s public health

Singapore public health institutions will soon benefit from two consolidated and virtualised data centres that will cut costs substantially, said Francis Fan, Group Director, Technology Management, Integrated Health Information System (IHiS), Singapore.

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The Consolidated Healthcare Cloud or ‘H-Cloud’ will host all mission critical systems for all public hospitals, specialty centres and polyclinics under IHiS, and will better support over 30,000 healthcare users.

Singapore public health organisations face similar challenges to other industries. “We work in an environment where there is rapidly rising costs, need for evidence-based decision making, complex administrative process, increasing consumerism and demand for better customer experience, highly variable clinical quality, and patient safety and confidentiality issues.”

These challenges have driven IHiS to innovate and find new ways of managing health IT. “We have to move from buying IT components to buying IT services, which started our transformation into the cloud,” Fan commented.

The journey IHiS mapped out includes consolidation, virtualisation and automation. Fan added that the ultimate goal is all about efficiency.

“Previously, every hospital has its own data centre, network and infrastructure. This is highly inefficient and costly. So we want to consolidate, virtualise and migrate all data into H-Cloud, where there is high availability, flexibility to scale, ability to provide service on demand, and ease of monitoring, managing and upgrading,” said Fan.

With H-Cloud, IHiS will introduce a pricing model that is based on how much each organisation uses. Fan emphasised that this leasing model will give hospitals the agility they need compared to the traditional model where they own the infrastructure.

Besides agility, H-Cloud brings about more cost-effective operating expenditure, predictable budgeting, consistent service level agreements, and proper disaster recovery.

“Infrastructure and application availability will increase from 99.5 to 99.9. Provisioning of computing resources will take one to two days, compared to six to eight weeks in the past. More importantly, consolidation and virtualisation will optimise usage from 15 to 20 per cent to approximately 80 per cent,” Fan added to the list of benefits.

“We have called the ‘Request for Proposal’, once the award is done, implementation will take six to nine months to build the two data centres, then we can move into the cloud,” concluded Fan.

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