Platform Engineering vs. DevOps
When a healthcare organization is collaborating with a third-party platform provider such as Artisight, it would communicate most often with the DevOps team. While platform engineers build the infrastructure that the software operates on, DevOps deploys the platform and ensures it runs smoothly.
“DevOps manages our software orchestration infrastructure to ensure smooth deployments,” Campion says. “DevOps handles the server setup and ensures the hospital’s servers have all of the updates required for the platform to function correctly.”
Ringham adds that the DevOps team is responsible for monitoring the system and alerting the platform engineers when fixes are needed. “If a data center overheats and three of our servers go offline, platform engineers can jump on it and shepherd disaster recovery events along.”
How Platform Engineering Can Benefit Healthcare
Cloud-based technologies have helped healthcare providers improve care and expand access to high-quality services. Platform engineers not only ensure these systems operate seamlessly but also build protective measures into the underlying framework.
“The objective of platform engineering is to aid agility and improve delivery outcomes while baking in security, observability and compliance,” Flores says. “The ability to bake in governance such as HIPAA reporting and controls means that developers don’t have to be experts or worry about such topics.”
Another benefit is the ability to more easily use and scale new technologies since engineers can build on an existing platform. “Think of electronic medical record systems like Epic and Cerner. Hospitals don’t have separate EMR systems for the emergency department versus a surgical center; it’s just easier to have one shared database,” Campion explains. “The platform is the same concept, where you have that whole, single infrastructure in place that can be built upon.”
“Let’s say a health system wants to incorporate AI technologies like natural language processing, ambient event detection, vitals monitoring, things like that,” Ringham says. “A platform like Artisight’s can onboard all of those solutions in a unified way.”
He notes that partnering with an established platform can also help reduce costs: “You can go build one of these systems yourself, but can you deploy it successfully across the entirety of your hospital system effectively? Maybe, but you’re going to invest a lot of time and effort in doing that.”