Tufts Medicine this week announced that it has succeeded in deploying its digital health ecosystem in the cloud, moving more than 40 disparate applications and its Epic electronic health record to an Amazon Web Services-hosted environment.

Touted as the first health system to accomplish a cloud migration of that size and scope, Boston-based Tufts Medicine – known until recently as Wellforce – isn’t quite done: It plans to move as many as 300 more apps during this project.

The goal, according to the $2 billion health system, is to save between $2 million and $5 million each year, and eventually decrease the time spent on some clinical workflows from months to just hours.

With AWS, Tufts was able to move more than 3 million health accounts into Epic EHR in “record time,” according to the announcement. Doing so using on-premise servers would have taken the better part of a year; in the cloud, that task was accomplished in 71 hours.

This cloud-based digital health ecosystem is also boosting provider and patient experience in other ways. Patients can interact with Amazon Lex-powered chatbots, and Amazon Connect is enabling Tufts’ telehealth and virtual care programs.

Going forward, the health system’s top IT leader sees advancements for interoperability and cybersecurity – and faster analytics insights through the use of edge computing.

“By undertaking the process of migrating more than 300 applications to AWS, we are providing a personalized, connected care experience for our patients, as well as a data-driven, modern clinical environment,” said Dr. Shafiq Rab, chief digital officer and chief information officer at Tufts Medicine. “This digital healthcare ecosystem will support a more efficient, equitable and insightful healthcare industry and deliver high-value patient outcomes.”

The Massachusetts health system first announced this initiative in July 2021, noting that some 800 IT staff and clinicians across Tufts would be integral to the “build, preparation and coding of the system.”

In an AWS blog post, executives said they’d hoped to be operational on the cloud platform by spring 2022 – making for the “largest organization to run the entirety of [its] Epic infrastructure on the cloud.”

Not long after that announcement, as part of Healthcare IT News’ “CIO Spotlight” video series, Dr. Rab spoke about the tactical challenges and strategic opportunities of making such a monumental migration.

“This cloud architecture allows us to complete highly complex digital tasks quickly and smoothly,” Jeremy Marut, Tufts Medicine’s chief of digital modernization, said in a statement. “We expect continuous connectivity with our use of AWS and have unmatched insight into our digital infrastructure, which allows us to maintain operations securely and without interruption.”

“Care providers are using digital platforms to gain insights from patient data to provide a more personalized experience, and patients are increasingly more interested in accessing telehealth services and other digital care options,” added Kim Majerus, VP of U.S. education, state and local government at AWS. “Tufts Medicine is at the forefront of evaluating new expectations of the healthcare community and is building an environment for frictionless patient care.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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