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Operation Smile dreams big with Microsoft Azure – Part 1

Operation Smile dreams big with Microsoft Azure – Part 1

By Chris Bryant | Senior Vice President of Enterprise Applications and Technology, Operation Smile

They say it takes a village. And here at Operation Smile, we couldn’t be more honored to have Microsoft in our village. For many years now, we’ve been using technologies donated by Microsoft to scale our efforts so we can heal more smiles around the world.

We’re now in the process of taking advantage of a hybrid Microsoft Azure solution to scale even further. We’re moving a number of our mission-critical applications, including our EMR system from Vitro Software, to the cloud.

It’s comforting to me to park our critical applications and data in Azure, knowing that Microsoft is at the helm in terms of securing and backing up our data. As a small IT shop on a very tight budget, we don’t have the funds to do it as well as Microsoft—which has spent billions of dollars on its datacenters and provides a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. And because Azure meets a broad set of international and healthcare compliance standards, it will help us protect our patients’ data.

Plus, we’ll be able to increase capacity for IT services faster and easier than doing it in our own internal datacenters. With Microsoft taking care of infrastructure maintenance, our small IT team will be able to focus more on strategic IT initiatives that further Operation Smile’s goal of increasing access to safe surgery for children everywhere.

Since Operation Smile works in countries all over the world, I’m excited about how our Azure hybrid solution will enable us to collect information locally, but save it all to one place, so we can analyze it on a global scale. It will empower us with incredible insight for improving logistical planning as well as clinical and business outcomes.

For example, at our medical mission sites, we sometimes can’t get a dependable wireless signal, so we collect data on a laptop and then when we’re somewhere we have a reliable Internet connection, we’ll be able to sync that data to Azure. That’s going to help us increase efficiency and medical insight. If we’re going back to a mission site, we can instantly pull up the records from the patients we weren’t able to treat the last time we were there. So we’ll be able to more efficiently plan for our return mission and save time when we’re there.

We’ll also be able to analyze global patient data to do surgical outcome evaluations. And by digitizing all of our current and past patient data, we hope to gain insight into the causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, so that ultimately we can not only repair the conditions, but also help to prevent them.

In my next blog, I’ll share more about how our Azure hybrid solution will help us collect data locally with synchronization to the cloud so that it can be secured and consolidated to enable global analytics. So stay tuned.