As you fly over the translucent concrete skyscrapers of a domed city in a carbon nanotube plane flown by a pilot wearing a trans-cranial, neural sensing headset, you may begin to contemplate the wonders of emerging technologies—and the competitive advantages they can provide.   

As an empowering force behind emerging technologies, the public cloud has gone from what was once just a technical capability to emerge as a strategic priority.

Today, numerous players across the healthcare spectrum are pushing past the computing equivalent of the sound barrier to create stronger, faster tech in the cloud.

Here’s what technologies are flying high right now and how they can benefit healthcare organizations like yours. 

Tearing the Lid Off of Container Technology in Healthcare 

Designed to let software-on-the-move operate from one environment to the next, container technology is the whole runtime environment in a single package. Many see it as the next evolution of cloud management as we move from physical servers to more virtualized ones. In fact, according to Garner, about 50% of enterprise workloads will run on containers by 2020, compared to 20% last year. 

But why the sudden acceleration in adoption? First, there’s the budgetary benefit. Many organizations are using containers to better employ existing resources and to drive much greater horizontal scaling. For example, insurance providers see much larger traffic and data around open enrollment periods. While cloud economics can burst out to accommodate the higher traffic, containers allow it to burst out even more efficiently. There’s also a development benefit. As developers create new features and services, containers allow them to do it in one place.  

Kubernetes: the Maestro of Container Technology 

Building on the success of containers is Kubernetes, an open source platform that gives system administrators much more control over their container environment and automates many processes. Not only does Kubernetes offer more standardization for managing containers, it has also become the forefront of orchestration—making it much easier to get started. Organizations embracing Kubernetes environments find that it’s much simpler to add entirely new applications and scale new services—resulting in improved time to market. 

In addition, by strengthening and standardizing security controls, Kubernetes enforces security policies across all applications. Not only does that remove policy conflicts, it also eliminates a lot of the compliance and security requirement concerns from the development teams, letting them focus on their work in a more risk-free environment. 

Making natural language processing second nature 

Software developers are locked in a primordial challenge. The process of bringing order to chaos began at the dawn of creation and has never ceased. Natural language processing (NLP) is the continuing echo of that effort—extracting relevant medical information from the data disarray. Some good examples: 

  • Optimizing the patient matching process for clinical trials. By speeding through identifiers in previously difficult-to-decipher information (patient forms, doctor’s notes, test results, etc.), NLP can create larger data sets to make it easier to find the right trial candidates. Previously, the alternative would be manually rummaging through tens of thousands of medical records.  
  • Improving the call center experience. Insurance providers take thousands of calls daily. From the caller’s perspective, it may not always be an optimal experience. NLP can help by processing the call live, evaluating customer sentiment, and determining if the operator needs to improve the call tree setup. If customer frustration is detected, the conversation can be flagged for a different approach or a more suitable handler.  

Distributed Tracing: Putting An Eye On PHI  

It’s impossible to secure data if you don’t know where it is. But how do you avoid the third rail of security and compliance if your healthcare organization does not have a 100% accurate and up-to-date PHI inventory? Distributed tracing tools can help. They can provide additional visibility by detecting, tracking, and locating PHI within the microservice architecture—helping to close that gap. With a more accurate inventory, you’ll know which services are processing PHI, and you can take additional steps to secure them. That better inventory awareness mitigates a potential security incident by going back and verifying exactly which patients were potentially impacted by it. By narrowing the scope, you don’t have to—for example—reach out to a million patients whose records were breached, but only the 500 patients who were potentially impacted. That’s a much less expensive issue. 

Every once in a while, a technology is hatched out of the creative ether that takes the world by storm. Kubernetes is reshaping the future of app development and management, creating a thriving ecosystem. The evolving faculty that machines have to interpret our speech and documented thoughts, opens new possibilities for the interactions between computers and people. When it comes to these emerging technologies, education is the key to approaching the future fearlessly. An experienced, healthcare-exclusive cloud services provider can supply a jumping-off point into studying this neo-tech and exactly how it can be applied to different healthcare verticals. That partnership will lead you into a discovery process that builds expertise in your team and creates a more independent ability to innovate in the cloud while remaining secure and complaint. Life is all about what’s next and fostering a culture of inquiry will help your organization embrace all that the cloud has to offer and broaden the scope of what technology can do to improve the lives of patients.