More Healthcare Data Means Growth for Switch

Healthcare applications are increasing in complexity. Health data continues to grow exponentially. To avoid being drowned in this technology deluge, healthcare providers and health IT vendors are turning to 3rd party infrastructure providers for their systems + data needs.

IDC predicted that healthcare data would grow 11,000% from an estimated 153 exabytes of data (153,000,000 terabytes) in 2013 to over 2,314 exabytes in 2020. They also predicted that by 2025 healthcare would be the fastest growing source of data worldwide. The healthcare industry currently generates 30% of the world’s data volume.

Data Center Providers Focusing on Healthcare

With this expected growth, it is no surprise that data center providers are putting more focus on healthcare. Switch, a data center and technology solution provider based out of Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the companies placing a big bet on healthcare.

Healthcare IT Today sat down with Dr. Quinn Pauly, Chief Medical Officer at Switch to talk about the need for better technology infrastructure in healthcare and why the company chose to have a CMO.

Family Physician to Technology CMO

Dr. Pauly was a practicing family physician at Renown Health based in Reno, Nevada when he met Rob Roy, Founder and CEO at Switch. “I had been practicing medicine for 30 years by that point and I was happy to stay in medicine.” said Pauly.

After a few conversations, however, Dr. Pauly was convinced to make a switch (excuse the pun) to a role where he could help improve healthcare in a new way. “The digital footprint of healthcare is only going to get bigger,” Dr. Pauly said of his early discussions with Roy. “It just needs to be better and more efficient, and he wanted me on the team to help it along.”

By pure coincidence, Dr. Pauly had experienced first-hand how improved infrastructure could improve the care delivered by clinicians. During his time at Renown, the organization migrated some of their systems over to the Switch data center. Clinicians noticed an immediate improvement in the reliability and uptime of their EHR.

A Matter of Life and Death

As healthcare becomes more complex, clinicians increasingly rely on electronic systems to help them diagnose, treat, and monitor patients. The availability and integrity of those systems is quite literally a matter of life and death.

To ensure systems run as optimally as possible, hospital IT departments must manage a myriad of hardware platforms and software. They must also protect their systems from security threats and cyberattacks.

According to a report by Check Point, there has been a 45% increase in attacks targeting healthcare organizations globally since the start of November 2020. That is more than double the increase in cyberattacks across all industry sectors in that same time period (22%). The average number of weekly attacks in healthcare soared to 626 per organization in November from 430 in October.

These are bleak statistics, and it is likely to get worse in 2021. This is just one of the many reasons why healthcare organizations (and healthcare vendors) are beginning to work with companies like Switch for their important infrastructure.

Impressive Facility

So what would a facility dedicated to redundancy and security even look like? Dr. Pauly said: “It looks like a fortress from the outside,” with armed guards, high fences and sophisticated entry systems.

Given his description, I had to take Switch up up on an offer for a virtual tour of their Las Vegas facility. It was impressive. I joked in our interview that Dr. Pauly made it sound like the data storage facility from the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation movie – the one where Tom Cruise holds his breath in an underwater turbine in order to break into. I wasn’t far off.

Thick, polished concrete walls protect rooms full of servers. Every door has a keypad and camera. You can almost hear the hum from their proprietary cooling systems.

I was delighted to learn that Switch is strongly committed to sustainability. “We have 100% green energy and we win awards all the time in terms of being in the tech industry and how sustainable we are,” said Dr. Pauly. The Las Vegas facility has a massive solar farm to help power it.

It is clear Switch has made significant investments in their Las Vegas facility…and in the 3 others they have built across the country. With these facilities, coupled with an array of technology services and a physician-turned-tech-CMO, Switch is looking to healthcare as a driver of growth in the years ahead.

Watch the full interview to hear:

  • How Switch keeps massive amounts of healthcare data safe
  • About the largest behind-the-meter solar energy project on the planet
  • How data centers can alleviate technology burden to let clinicians focus on patient care
  • How Dr. Pauly was able to help the entire Switch team during the pandemic

Learn more about Switch:

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About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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