Healthcare data and analytics enabled by the cloud

To listen to all PwC Next in Health podcasts, click here. Subscribe and listen to all episodes at your convenience via any device at Apple PodcastsSpotify and Stitcher.

All Next in Health podcasts


Tune into this episode of PwC's Next in Health to hear PwC Health Research Institute's Trine Tsouderos, and Strategy& Principal, Igor Belokrinitsky, in discussion with Health Industries Principal, Abbas Mooraj, on how cloud enables healthcare organizations to harness data and analytics, including:

  • Current cloud-based investments for providers
  • Future of the healthcare system’s cloud journey
  • Enterprise cloud computing’s return on investment
  • Leveraging cloud technologies to adopt a more patient-centric healthcare system

Topics: cloud computing, cloud technologies, healthcare, data and analytics

Episode transcript

Find episode transcript below.

Trine Tsouderos (00:04)
Welcome to HRI's Next in Health podcast. I'm Trine Tsouderos and I lead PwC's Health Research Institute.

Igor Belokrinitsky (00:11):
And I'm Igor Belokrinitsky. I'm a principal with Strategy&, the strategy arm of PwC.

Trine Tsouderos (00:17):
Igor and I are here with Abbas Mooraj. One of our firm's experts on how cloud enables organizations to harness data and analytics. Welcome Abbas.

Abbas Mooraj (00:27):
Thanks so much for having me Trina and Igor.

Trine Tsouderos (00:29):
Our pleasure, our pleasure. So we know that providers are already thinking about and investing in technology to improve the clinician and consumer experience. HRI has done surveys and research in this for many years. Recently in September of last year, we surveyed provider executives and 56% said that their organizations are significantly investing in robotics, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. 71% told us they are automating administrative functions. 54% said they're automating care delivery. And 70% said they're investing in data analytics. So this seems like sort of a universal endeavor in our healthcare providers.

Trine Tsouderos (01:13):
So I'm wondering what are the most common cloud-based investments that we're seeing providers make and how far along do you think they're on their cloud journey?

Abbas Mooraj (01:23):
Thank you. That's a great question. I think that when the pandemic hit in February and March of last year, a number of large providers and health systems were a little unprepared in the analytics journey. I feel that once the rates started to go down, a number of them have invested in digital transformation and analytics transformation to get those real time insights that they desperately need in times of stress, such as how many ICU beds do I have at any given point in time, or how many PPEs do I have? How many ventilators do I have? All of these questions have raised to the point of it with the CIO, where they need to know this in order to have that sort of operational transformation that they need.

Abbas Mooraj (02:12):
In terms of cloud and transformation, we're still in the second inning here. We have seen some very large partnerships though in the last six months to a year. Very recently, a couple of weeks ago, a large for-profit in the Southeast had a large partnership announcement with a cloud service provider. And we're going to see more of them. We're going to see more of them as these organizations transform and think through sort of their digital journey and cloud journeys.

Igor Belokrinitsky (02:36):
Abbas. This is really fascinating. Would you take us into those rooms where these discussions are happening between the technology leader of a health system and their CEO who's thinking about their strategy and maybe the CFO with their financial calculator trying to run the numbers? As they're planning out these cloud journeys, what are those gonna look like?

Abbas Mooraj (02:59):
Right. Right. So, as I've mentioned before, this is a journey and some organizations may never move a hundred percent to the cloud.

Abbas Mooraj (03:07):
They may be sort of a hybrid cloud instance where you have some things on premise and some things in the cloud, but large EMCs and health systems are looking at their legacy debt. And then thinking through what's the ROI for shutting down data centers, moving all that storage and computer and networking to the cloud. Personally, I've found most health systems have started very cautiously adopting, for example, productivity tools in the cloud, looking at SAS based ERP, CRMs, and even help desk tools. I think that's sort of the first wave that's happening now, but some leading organizations are looking directly at data and analytics and how to have a cloud-based enterprise data platform, a single source of truth in the native public cloud. Think about their data volumes. Data volumes at the large health systems are sometimes doubling every six to nine months. Velocity is increasing from looking at batch data, near real-time data, or even now real-time data.

Abbas Mooraj (04:05):
So velocity is increasing. And then of course the variety more and more data sources are added every single day. It's not just your EHR data or lab data or pharmacy data. It's your claims data. It's the social determinants. It's your outside data. If you want to look at consumer analytics, third-party data, all of that coming together with your operational and financial data to actually have a single source of truth that you can democratize, analyze, and then gain insights from and drive change.

Trine Tsouderos (04:35):
So I see the benefit of having everything, all your data centralized and standardized, the single source of truth. All this data, like you said, coming in doubling. It makes sense, but it's a big endeavor to make this move. So how would you describe the return on investment for providers and what would drive them to do this? What is the decision making? Like what is the ROI?

Abbas Mooraj (04:59):
That's a great question. When I speak to executives at the forefront of their mind is what will this cloud enterprise data platform provide for me? And they're already thinking about how it could be the foundation to a digital health transformation creating sort of the next digital front door for the organization as health systems, consumerize. It's also part of their growth strategy. If they want to enable an integrated delivery network or a CIN or part of their acquisition strategy, it is easier to rationalize systems, et cetera, and move them to the public cloud. But the hidden reason really is also developing and retaining talent. Your talent right now, your employees, they want to learn cloud. They want to learn the newest technologies and develop those skills. They utilize this as sort of a re-skilling and up-skilling clan as well. In terms of ROI, a few factors come in here. The Biden administration is continuing the push on the value based care, and it's part of the CA driving to more risk sharing models.

Abbas Mooraj (06:01):
So there's absolutely upside here in terms of leveraging the data, understanding the data, democratizing it, and then using the insights to drive the change in patient behavior, change in provider behavior. For example, if you can prevent a type two diabetic from potentially having an ER visit that's cost savings right there. So I would put it into a few buckets. There's direct revenue gains. There's attributable revenue gains, an example would be the increased Medicaid payment or network referrals, et cetera. There's cost savings with gaps in care. And then there's more the tangible life save because there's nothing more important in our industry that's saving lives. And for example, sepsis is a great story from a large health system in the Southeast, where they used data analytics to actually drive sepsis prevention and save thousands of lives. So that's just an incredible story.

Igor Belokrinitsky (06:51):
Abbas, I wanna come back to something you mentioned earlier in the conversation, this notion that we can go outside of the four walls of the health facility and get closer to the consumers and understand better what they're going through and get that information into the cloud. And that would give us additional capabilities. So could you talk a little bit about this notion of getting more consumer data?

Abbas Mooraj (07:06):
Getting real-time data? That's the next frontier for us in terms of data and analytics and healthcare. So think about any biomedical device that you have a CGM machine, a C-PAP machine, a ventilator. We are at a point now in terms of enabling technology, that we can stream data right off the device and not just get the data, but run analytics on the stream itself and send intelligence back to the point of care, not just some data warehouse, but actually back to the point of care. You can actually use machine learning and AI right on the stream and send that intelligence back. I think that's extremely powerful. I also think streaming from the ICU and the CCU in the sense of getting that data, understanding it in real time versus overnight, I think is incredibly useful.

Abbas Mooraj (08:01):
And then of course wearables, whether you have any kind of wearable that you have across the major providers that would tell you real-time data on your health and your sleep, et cetera, all of this could enable digital virtual trials and other areas where we've never really had a precedent before. Patient acquisition for a clinical trial just got a lot easier.

Igor Belokrinitsky (08:21):
Very cool. Abbas, you mentioned a number of different groundbreaking technologies on the podcast today. One question that we ask to all of our guests is as you look to the future, what is one process technology or innovation that we already know about today that would have in your view, the greatest impact on the health systems of tomorrow?

Abbas Mooraj (08:45):
I'm looking forward to a future where we can have a total learning and adaptive healthcare system that is patient centric and consumer driven, but it's enabled by technology and the insights from our data.

Abbas Mooraj (08:57):
Can we remind a Type 2 diabetic to take their insulin after buying two pints of ice cream at the store? How can we help our rising risk or emerging risk patients remember, but also, can we identify that risk before their annual visit at the PCP? We've got to get to that point where we have a true healthcare system versus a sick care system. And that's what I care about in the future.

Trine Tsouderos (09:21):
It's amazing to think that this is not just a distant future, but it's something that is sort of coming to life right now. And that cloud is part of that. So thank you so much Abbas for joining us today and sharing your thoughts on cloud enabled data analytics. It was fascinating.

Abbas Mooraj (09:35):
Thanks, Igor and Trine. Thank you for having me today.

Igor Belokrinitsky (09:38):
For more on these topics and other health industry insights, driven by policy, innovation, and care delivery changes please visit our website at Until next time, this has been Next in Health.

Announcer (09:57):
This podcast is brought to you by PwC. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm or one of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details. This podcast is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.


Contact us

Jennifer Colapietro

Jennifer Colapietro

Cloud & Digital Leader, PwC US

Igor Belokrinitsky

Igor Belokrinitsky

Principal, PwC US

Follow us