Composable Infrastructure: Redefining the Clinical Experience from the Edge to the Cloud

BrandPost By Lynne Dunbrack
Feb 27, 2020
IT Leadership

Advances in medical technology and the proliferation of the Internet of medical things (IoMT) and mobile devices will require more intelligent compute capabilities at the edge.

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How Will Composable Infrastructure Enable Edge-to-Cloud Computing?

The sheer volume of data generated by the Internet of medical things (IoMT) and mobile devices in today’s healthcare organizations is overwhelming the traditional datacenter. Devices send an enormous backhaul of data to be processed and stored on a central network server located in a datacenter, which may be located on premises or in the cloud. Healthcare organizations are seeing two primary issues with this approach:

  • Latency. Data may have to travel thousands of miles between the devices and the datacenter, resulting in latency. Even though this latency may only be measured in microseconds, the cumulative effect is the degradation of network and application performance.
  • Bandwidth. High volumes of data traversing back and forth between the edge devices and centralized datacenters creates bandwidth issues, resulting in similar suboptimal application and network performance.

Forward-thinking enterprises are leveraging composable infrastructure to deploy edge-to-cloud computing to improve the clinical experience. Composable infrastructure disaggregates compute, storage, and network resources, enabling dynamic scaling to meet service level agreements and workload requirements. In this scenario, data is collected and aggregated from edge devices and processed locally, before select, relevant data is sent to the centralized datacenters. This approach is often referred to as “edge-to-cloud” computing.

In addition to reducing latency and optimizing bandwidth, edge-to-cloud computing provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced data processing costs. Data is processed locally, reducing the distance data must travel and the amount of data that needs to be processed in a centralized, but distant datacenter.
  • Faster processing and data storage access. Greater network throughput results in improved access to patient data, which is especially critical to enable clinician decision-making at the point of care.
  • Improved real-time app performance. The reduction in latency and bandwidth issues enables healthcare organizations to deploy more real-time apps that need to communicate with and respond to the IoMT.

Opportunities to Improve Patient and Clinician Experiences

If you have ever been to a hospital as a patient, it can be a frustrating experience. It’s extremely difficult to navigate the health system in terms of insurance. You may wonder if your procedure is covered, or even if your surgeon accepts your insurance plan? It’s also difficult to find your way across the medical campus to your appointment. Clinicians are also vexed by not knowing if the next patient has arrived and is in the exam room ready to be seen. 

Now, imagine a smart connected hospital that provides patients and clinicians information on what to do or expect next based on insights gleaned from applications, mobile devices, and sensors. For example, prior to scheduling an appointment online, an intelligent application will confirm the practice will accept the patient’s insurance and the visit will be covered. The day of the appointment, a patient checks in at a centralized registration point, either in person or via a mobile application. The mobile application generates a map that guides the patient to the physician’s medical suite, with wayfinding signs along the way providing additional directions. Once the patient arrives, the unit secretary checks in the patient as arrived, and a medical assistant directs the patient to an exam room. After the medical assistant has collected vital signs, clinical staff are alerted electronically that the patient is ready to be seen. During the patient visit, recommended diagnostic tests or follow-up visits can be scheduled ensuring the patients adheres to the care plan, while also mitigating the risk of referral leakage to competing institutions. Upon check-out, the patient is advised on how much is owed out-of-pocket and is given the option to pay by credit card or check.

Providing patients more information about what to expect about their visit, including its cost, demystifies what has historically been an opaque process when it comes to seeking healthcare. Reducing delays along the way helps to improve the experience for clinicians and patients alike. A smoother, more predictable flow of patients also means additional patients can be seen by the practice, which has revenue and patient satisfaction implications.

Especially for patients who are admitted to the hospital, not knowing what to expect is a source of not only frustration, but also worry. To meet patient needs more effectively, healthcare organizations are turning to infotainment systems that offer some of the same key features of the patient portal for electronic health records. From this type of application, patients can do the following:

  • View a real-time schedule of planned procedures and diagnostic services, care team profiles, lab results, and daily vitals taken with connected medical devices and bedside telemetry
  • Make requests ranging from asking for another pillow and ordering dinner to notifying nurses that they are in pain
  • Review patient education materials and discharge planning instructions
  • Send messages to their care team
  • Watch entertainment channels

Edge-to-Cloud Computing

Edge-to-cloud computing does not replace cloud computing; it complements cloud. IoMT sensors and mobile devices can communicate and respond to events in real time or near-real time because more processing is happening at the edge. Composable infrastructure enables increasingly more intelligent applications that are self-integrating through dynamic allocation of resources. Vast volumes of data are stored in dynamic cloud environments that can scale up or down as needed to enable artificial intelligence that provides both clinicians and patients recommendations for the next best action to take. Ultimately, edge-to-cloud will redefine the clinical and patient experience.

To learn more, read the IDC Technology Spotlight, Composable Infrastructure: Taking Software-Defined Infrastructure to the Next Level.

Message from the Sponsors

Together, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel enable customers to accelerate business outcomes by driving new business models, creating new customer and employee experiences, and increasing operational efficiency today and into the future. To learn more about HPE and Intel, please visit and


About Lynne Dunbrack 

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lynne dunbrack
Lynne Dunbrack is Group Vice President for Public Sector, which includes IDC Government Insights and IDC Health Insights. She manages a group of analysts who provide research-based advisory and consulting services for payers, providers, accountable care organizations, IT service providers, and the IT suppliers that serve those markets. Lynne also leads the IDC Health Insights’ Connected Health IT Strategies program. Specific areas of Lynne’s in-depth coverage include mobile, constituency engagement, interoperability, digital transformation, privacy, and security. Technology coverage areas include clinical mobility (physician facing) and mobile health (consumer facing), end-to-end remote patient health monitoring for health, wellness and chronic conditions, Internet of Things (IoT), telemedicine and virtual care, and digital therapeutics.