Healthcare3 min read

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Helps Lead the NHS to a Sustainable, Cloud-Smart Future

Despite an institutional mandate from NHS Digital, many UK healthcare trusts have slowly migrated to the public cloud. The innovative IT team at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, UK, is helping lead the NHS transition to public cloud by adopting VMware Cloud on AWS.

In the twenty-first century, advances in healthcare are driven as much by information technology innovation as through medical breakthroughs, and the two are no longer siloed domains. As lifesaving advances unfold in the laboratory and operating theater, robots now assist surgeons at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. With futuristic medical scenarios already in our hospitals, it’s surprising that many healthcare providers have been slow to adopt workhorse information technologies like the cloud.

The scenes are familiar from popular medical dramas: busy clinicians checking patient records on tablets as they do their rounds with the latest information at their fingertips. Or radiological images projected on large screens, delivered anywhere, on any device. But these technologies are not science fiction. They’re right here, right now. And they’re made possible by cloud technology.

In addition to these impressive examples, cloud solutions can deliver daily benefits, eliminating inefficiencies, reducing costs, and supporting sustainability goals. But each benefit is inextricably linked to what matters most to healthcare providers—improved patient care.

The National Health Service prioritizes these benefits through its NHS Digital public cloud-first strategy. However, many NHS trusts have been slow to fully embrace cloud technology. Their reluctance often stems from perceptions that cloud solutions aren’t secure enough for medical data, or that adopting new systems is too complex, putting patient care at risk. And their caution is understandable.

One NHS trust—The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust—has eagerly embraced the NHS public strategy. Located in Birmingham, UK, this specialist orthopaedic hospital is challenging popular perceptions of cloud services by transforming patient care, all without risking patient services.

Becoming Cloud-Smart with Subscription and Consumption

When the IT team at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital faced the upcoming renewal of its on-premises data center infrastructure, the team moved quickly to follow the NHS Digital public cloud-first mandate. Like many NHS organizations, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital had worked with VMware for many years, so IT staff were familiar with the technology, and following recommendations from their VMware partners smoothed the transition. For its public cloud solution, the hospital’s IT team adopted VMware Cloud on AWS.

“We’ve had a great experience with VMware, so implementing VMware Cloud on AWS was a natural choice,” says Liam Maiden, IT program manager, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. “Working with VMware Success 360 helps us realize more value and achieve faster outcomes from our investments.”

The hospital acquired VMware Cloud on AWS through VMware Cloud Universal, a subscription and consumption program enabling the hospital to move easily from its on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. Accessing cloud resources via subscription allows the hospital to transform its financial operating model from CapEx to OpEx, prioritizing flexibility over long-term capital investments and high maintenance costs. Now the hospital IT team can scale resources as necessary, keeping costs aligned with real-time needs, and supporting growth with flexibility.

In the first phase of its cloud migration, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital reduced its capital and operating costs by retiring one of its two on-premises data centers. “The cost benefits of cloud tie in with our sustainability initiatives. Not only are we powering fewer hardware and cooling systems, but VMware Cloud on AWS also provides significant energy and carbon savings,” says Maiden. Now the hospital can use space once reserved for the data center for other purposes.

Moving to a Sustainable Future

Sustainability is a top priority for NHS Digital, articulated through its public cloud policy to eliminate or significantly reduce energy expenditure and its carbon footprint. Selecting cloud service providers like AWS—with its commitment to powering its systems with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025—will enable The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to comply with NHS Digital sustainability goals. And VMware estimates that moving to the cloud can help reduce carbon footprints by up to 80 percent by reducing or eliminating idle infrastructure capacity running for DR testing or failover. VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery allows organizations to provision this capacity as required.

“We’re proud to be shaping the nationwide cloud strategy. It’s time to prepare for the future and the next evolution of patient care,” says Maiden. “A cloud-first hospital is innovative, sustainable and agile, empowering clinicians to give the highest levels of patient care.”